December 12, 2017
While summer is the hottest time of year, in Florida you will likely need to run your AC even during the winter months to get some relief from the heat and humidity. Air conditioning keeps you cool, helps you to avoid heat stroke, and overall create a more comfortable environment to complete your daily tasks. The cost of heating and cooling is something that is a concern because the average household spent almost 50 percent of their energy bill on cooling costs during the summer months in 2009. It’s beneficial to understand how much your air conditioner energy use will affect your electric bill.
The size of your air conditioner is the primary factor to consider when calculating your electric costs. Air conditioners are sold in small, medium, large, and extra-large rooms. British Thermal Units (BTUs) are how air conditioners are measured and based on how much square footage they’re designed to cool effectively. A small air unit designed to cool up to 150 square feet is 5,000-6,000 BTUs, while a larger one made to cool 450 square feet averages 10,000 BTU. They can be purchased in BTUs up to 24,000 for rooms up to 1,560 square feet. A larger unit is ideal if you have an open floor plan that allows the air to circulate between rooms.
The size of the room isn’t the only thing you need to consider. Factors such as excessive sunlight, rooms that hold more people, and the kitchen benefit from having a unit with a larger BTU. The outside temperature is something else to keep in mind because it will take more energy and runtime to drop the inside temperature to a comfortable level. Well-insulated rooms cool easier and require less electricity, while a room with poor insulation is going to increase your bill a bit more. Check the energy efficiency rating for each unit. The majority of units comply with Energy Star standards to conserve on usage. They use up to 14 percent less energy than the government requirements to qualify for the rating, and in some cases qualify for a tax credit.
Keep your costs lower by taking additional steps to reduce consumption. Ensure that your unit is adequately rated to cool the room you’re installing it in. A 5,000 BTU air conditioner will not cool a room that is 1,000 square feet. It will need to work at maximum capacity and still be ineffective at cooling down the room temperature. Most units are programmable and allow you to set the temperature while you’re in bed or at work to cut costs. Draw the blinds during the day to keep the sun out and open windows at night to let cool breezes in, instead of running your air conditioner all night long while you’re sleeping. You can even set them to turn on shortly before you get home to cool the house down before you get in the door.
A small 6,500 BTU air conditioner will use about 144 kWh running for six hours a day, while a larger 12,000 BTU unit running for six hours every day will use about 270 kWh per month. These are estimates and the settings on your unit and the other factors that impact usage will impact your average consumption. If you’re home all day or need to run your air conditioner at night to be comfortable, your air conditioner energy use will be higher. It’s going to fluctuate from month to month depending on how the price for each kWh is on your bill.
Your electric costs also depend on where in the country you live in. Some states have lower rates than others, and they fluctuate from month to month making it difficult to estimate exactly how much running your air conditioner will cost you from one month to the next. Utilize these tips to cool your house down while keeping your costs low.