Happens every year: Summer weather beginsThe air conditioner starts working Electricity bill Shoots. for you Air conditioner It can add a little to your home Energy use.

How much energy your air conditioner uses depends a lot on the climate in your area, but factors like the type and age of your air conditioner, Energy efficiency in your home Your preferred temperature can affect your electricity bill during the hot summer months.

There are a few different ways to find out — or at least estimate — how much energy your air conditioner is using. You can also make changes ranging from small modifications to large-scale projects to reduce your air conditioner usage, keep your home comfortable and lower your high energy bills.

How much electricity does a typical air conditioner use?

Air conditioning makes up a large portion of annual energy use in American homes. According to the US Energy Information Administration According to the data, air conditioning accounted for 19% of energy use in American homes in 2020 — that amounts to 254 billion kilowatt-hours. The EIA also found that around 2022 90% of American households use air conditionersTwo-thirds of families use a central air conditioning unit such as a compressor or… Heat pump.

A typical central air conditioning unit uses between 3,000 and 3,500 watts Window units Ranging from approximately 1000 to 1500 watts. It’s important to note that because air conditioner performance can be affected by many variables, your air conditioner’s energy use and cost to operate can vary greatly.

“It depends on the size of the house, the wattage and the thermal modules,” said Eric Goranson, a Seattle-based designer and home renovation expert who is hosting. Around the house, a nationally syndicated podcast and radio show. “But the average monthly cost for most people is between $70 and $144 per month in the summer.”

The type of cooling system in your home can also affect energy use, but not as much as you might think. Central HVAC systems with heat pumps use a similar amount of energy as a traditional air conditioner, Goransson said. The energy and cost savings of a heat pump are generally more important with winter heating.

According to the US Environmental Protection AgencyThe central air conditioning unit in a typical American home consumes 2,500 kilowatt-hours of energy each year. At an average cost of $0.175 per kilowatt-hour of electricity in May 2024, according to US Bureau of Labor StatisticsRunning an air conditioner adds an average of $437.50 to Americans’ utility bills each year.

How to determine how much energy my air conditioner is using

If you want to determine how much energy your air conditioner is using, there are several ways you can do so. The first is to gather some basic information about your home, appliances, and Calculate the pitch number yourself.

Your electric company may also provide you with some information about your energy use, either on your monthly bill or on its website. In addition to the change in usage over time, you may be able to see details of different types of appliances or systems in your home and how much energy they use for each pay period.

However, Goransson points out that your utility usage breakdown may not just be based on specific data from your home but from other customers’ home monitoring systems in your area and past usage in your home. To get personal and real-time usage data, it is suggested to install a Home energy monitoring. Devices manufactured by brands such as sense, Energy wiser Curb can provide you with real-time information about which appliances and electrical appliances add the most bang for your buck.

“I have a product called Sense that plugs into the electrical panel and monitors that system,” he said. “It uses AI technology to recognize, for example, an air conditioning unit from a curling iron. Then you can look at the app and see exactly what’s going on with your energy use.”

What affects the energy use of an air conditioner?

When it comes to individual air conditioning units, energy use ranges widely. The size, age, type of unit, outside temperature, and desired temperature in the home, among other factors, will affect how much energy your air conditioner uses to cool your space.

Keeping your AC unit in good condition makes a big difference, too. Clean or replace filtersCleaning coils, straightening fins and unclogging ducts can improve your air conditioner’s airflow, energy efficiency and overall performance. It’s a good idea to get your HVAC system serviced annually to perform necessary maintenance and prevent small issues from turning into larger performance issues in the future.

group The temperature on your thermostat It will also determine how hard the unit is working to cool your space. Since an air conditioner can only cool your home 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below the temperature outside, running your air conditioner at a much lower temperature in hopes of cooling the space faster can actually waste energy and cost you more.

How to reduce your air conditioning costs

One of the best ways to reduce air conditioner use is to cool your home naturally when possible. If you are in an area where summer means cool mornings and hot days, you can open the windows in the morning to lower the temperature inside. When the temperature starts to rise, close the windows, close the curtains, and turn on the air conditioning — you won’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.

Another thing is to protect your home during the hotter times of the day with shade – whether by planting trees, installing awnings, or closing blinds or blinds. Even basic window coverings can help insulate your home from the sun’s heat, however Energy efficient window treatments Such as window films and cellular shades can have a greater impact. Look for items rated by the Attachment Energy Rating Council, or AERC.

Another way is to raise your thermostat’s set point for optimal efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends adjusting your thermostat Between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit During the day in the summer to keep your space cool and reduce humidity while allowing your air conditioner to work more efficiently. The recommended temperature at night is 82 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit when away from home.

Keeping your air conditioner clean and maintained will save you money in the long run.

“You really need to keep up with maintenance,” Göransson said. “Having someone come in once a year and maintain and clean your unit makes a big difference. Your outdoor compressor unit can get filled with dirt and dust in the coils, causing it to lose that efficiency. And then it’s more expensive to cool your home, because it has to work harder Larger.”

But if your system continues to work for years – at most The lifespan of air conditioners is 15 to 20 years – Maybe it’s time to think about an upgrade. Whether you’re considering installing a new air conditioner or getting a heat pump, a new, more efficient system may be worth the investment. Inflation reduction law Tax incentives It can also help offset the cost.

“If you have a 20-year-old system, it’s probably a single-stage system. When it starts up, it’s 100 percent, which is kind of how window air conditioners work,” Goranson said. “Newer, more efficient models have variable-speed compressors, which means they can run at lower speeds to adjust the temperature and not use all that energy.”

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