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Air Conditioning Running Costs Explained - Tips To Save

Last Updated Jun 6, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider


How much does air conditioning cost to run? In some cases, air conditioning can be expensive to run, but it doesn't have to be so expensive. Let's take a look at air conditioning costs and how to save on air conditioning running costs. It's a home improvement worth looking into because saving money on air conditioning puts more money in your pocket.

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According to many sources, air conditioning can account for up to 40 percent of your electricity usage. There are ways to reduce this cost and it's worth knowing how to save on air conditioning costs because you don't want to be hit by high air conditioning costs.

  1. How much does air conditioning cost to run?
  2. How much does reverse cycle air conditioning cost to run?
  3. How much does a split system cost to run?
  4. How to save on air conditioning costs

How much does air conditioning cost to run?

The cost of the system will depend on the hours you use it and it may also depend on your location because electricity prices are higher in some areas.

For cooling purposes, some costs for air conditioning on average per hour at 24 degrees are:

  • 12 cents per hour for a 2.5kW system
  • 19 cents per hour for a 3.5kW system
  • 30 cents per hour for a 5.0kW system
  • 49 cents per hour for an 8.0kW system

If you run an air conditioning system at a cooler temperature, the costs will be higher. At 21 degrees, you might pay:

  • 16 cents per hour for a 2.5kW system
  • 26 cents per hour for a 3.5kW system
  • 40 cents per hour for a 5.0kW system
  • 66 cents per hour for an 8.0kW system

These are average costs and in some areas you may pay more or less for air conditioning.

How much does reverse cycle air conditioning cost to run?

Reverse cycle air conditioning can heat or cool a room. The average costs for cooling may be:

  • 35 cents per hour for a small room
  • 36 to 70 cents per hour for a medium sized room (36m2)
  • 70 to 95 cents per hour for a larger room (50m2 or more)

Heating costs can be between 13 and 36 cents per hour depending on the size of the system. If you have a whole house system, it can cost $1.45 to $2.12 per hour to heat the entire home.

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Depending on how many hours you use a system, yearly costs may be:

  • At 2 hours a day, cooling costs can be $108 and heating costs $45
  • At 4 hours a day, cooling costs can be $216 and heating costs $90
  • At 8 hours a day, cooling costs can be $432 and heating costs $180

In other words, the longer you run a reverse cycle system will add to the cost. 4 hours a day costs double the cost of 2 hours a day and 8 hours a day costs double the cost of 4 hours a day.

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How much does a split system cost to run?

Split systems are often designed for one room only, but some are ducted and will consume more energy. A ducted system for an entire house can cost up to $2.45 to $3.45 per hour to run.

  • $40.11 per year for a 2.5kW system
  • $67.08 per year for a 3.5kW system
  • $104.43 per year for a 5.0kW system

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Split systems are designed for the size of a room. If you have a 2.5kW system in a room that is too large for the system, it will cost more to run because the system will be working harder.

How to save on air conditioning costs

Air conditioning can become very expensive if you use it for up to 8 hours a day, which is common in many households. It doesn't have to be so expensive, though. There are many things you can do to reduce air conditioning costs:

  • Don't let sunlight enter a room
  • Insulate the home
  • Choose a higher cooling temperature and a lower heating temperature
  • Choose an inverter system
  • Choose the right sized system
  • Use fans when you don't need air conditioning
  • Use a zoned ducted system

In summer, when sunlight enters a room, it heats the room. Awnings, heavy curtains or honeycomb blinds will reduce the amount of heat that enters a room and reduce cooling costs. Home insulation is a must because both heat and cold air can dissipate in an uninsulated home making both cooling and heating costs go higher.

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For every degree you adjust your thermostat up for cooling, you can save up to 10 percent on cooling costs. The same is true for heating costs. Try to set the thermostat for a comfortable temperature and save money on air conditioning. A house doesn't have to be frosty cold and a comfortable temperature will be enough to keep the family happy.

If you're buying a new air conditioner or want to replace your existing air conditioner, look into inverter systems. The are available for both ducted and split systems and can save up to 40 percent on energy costs. Make sure you get the right size system for a room or house because the size of the system should match the cubic metres that need cooling or heating. If a system is too small, it has to work harder and will use more energy.

You don't always have to use air conditioning. Fans cost 3 to 5 cents per hour to use and can keep you cool on most days. Either portable or ceiling fans can keep you cool and will slash your energy bills over the summer months.

If you're buying a ducted system, look for zoned systems. They are designed to allow you to close the system in rooms you are not using. Why cool a room you are not using when you can save on energy costs by closing the ducted system in a room you are not using. This can include bedrooms during the day and if you do want to relax in a bedroom, opening the system can cool the bedroom quickly.

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Air conditioning doesn't have to be expensive. Use the tips above and slash your air con running costs. Fans are inexpensive and cheap to run. Insulation will pay for itself in reduced cooling and heating costs. Heavy curtains or honeycomb blinds will keep heat and cold out of the house and reduce cooling and heating costs. Look into inverter systems. They may cost more, but will save up to 40 percent on cooling costs and the extra money spent will be saved over time. Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature and save up to 10 percent per degree. And don't skimp on buying the right sized system for your room or home. A 2.5kW system may cost less, but if it's not the right size for the space, it will cost extra.

Every step you take towards having a more efficient home and air conditioner will save money in the long run and you won't face high cooling costs in the summer months. Even if you choose a few of the tips above, you will save on energy costs. If you use all of them, you will slash your cooling and heating bills and have a comfortable home during the hot summer months and the cold winter months and won't have to pay a high price for cooling and heating.

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