How Much Does it Cost to Run an Air Conditioner?


This is your complete guide to figuring out how much AC costs per month. In the summer months, the heat can cause most of us to turn to the air conditioner for comfort. Many consumers wonder about the costs of an air conditioner and how much it might affect their budget. In this guide we are going to cover the cost to run AC for the month and how to calculate your AC costs.

Most people don’t know that their central air conditioner could be costing them anywhere between $30 -$700 per month! However, that number could be more or less depending on the size of your unit and how frequently you use it. So, if you want to learn how to calculate the costs of your air conditioner per month, keep reading!

Here at The Energy Professor, we want to give you the information you need to not only save money on your energy bill, but to also become more energy efficient. We hope find this post helpful! And makes it easier for you to know more about appliance energy usage. Be sure to also check out our one of a kind energy savings calculator!

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How Much Does it Cost to Run an Air Conditioner 2023?


To understand the costs of operating your air conditioner, there are several factors that you’ll need to understand first. The wattage of your unit, hours of usage and the cost of the electricity in your area. To compare how vastly different the costs of running an air conditioner can be, let’s look at the average costs for running an AC unit.

Central air conditioning can cost anywhere between $1,000 – $4,000 per year in electricity costs per year depending on the size of the unit, the size of the space you’re cooling and how often you’re using it. Smaller, less efficient window air conditioning units can cost between $250 and $750 per year per unit. If you want to find out specifically how much your AC is costing you per month, there is a simple formula you can use to calculate your costs.

Formula to estimate the costs of your air conditioner:

Cost = (Daily operating hours × Wattage ÷ 1000) × Cost per kilowatt-hour

Let’s break down the formula:

  1. Daily operating hours: Determine how many hours per day your air conditioner runs on average. For example, let’s say it operates for 8 hours a day.
  2. Wattage: Check the air conditioner’s specifications or user manual for the wattage rating.
  3. Cost per kilowatt-hour: Find out the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity in your area. This information can be found on your electricity bill.

How much does air conditioning cost per month?

On average, running an air conditioner with around 1800 watts of energy consumption will cost you around $60 per month. Air conditioning costs can range from $50 to $200 or more per month during the peak cooling season. This estimation considers factors like the size of the home, the energy efficiency of the unit, and the climate conditions.

For example, if your air conditioner consumes 1800 watts, operates for 8 hours per day, and the electricity rate is $0.14 per kilowatt-hour, the calculation would be as follows:

Monthly cost = (Wattage / 1000) × Daily operating hours × Cost per kilowatt-hour × Number of days in a month
= (1800 / 1000) × 8 × $0.14 × 30
= $60.48 per month
≈ $60 per month

How much does AC cost per hour?

On average, running an air conditioner with a power consumption of around 1800 watts can cost approximately $0.25 per hour. This estimation provides a general idea of the operating cost you can expect. However, it’s important to note that the actual cost can vary based on factors such as the energy efficiency of the unit, local electricity rates, and usage patterns.

For instance, if your air conditioner consumes 1800 watts and the electricity rate is $0.14 per kilowatt-hour, the calculation would be as follows:

Cost per hour = (Wattage / 1000) × Cost per kilowatt-hour
= (1800 / 1000) × $0.14
= $0.252 per hour
≈ $0.25 per hour

Related post: How Much Electricity Does a Dishwasher Use 2023?

How Much Does it Cost To Run AC All Day?

If you’re running the average 24 hour AC unit with 1800 watts of energy consumption, you’ll be spending around $6 per day! Running your AC unit continuously for 24 hours can result in high energy consumption costs, as you can see how $6 a day can add up!

Let’s assume the air conditioner operates for 24 hours a day and the electricity rate is $0.14 per kilowatt-hour. Here’s how you can calculate the average cost:

  1. Calculate the daily energy consumption: Multiply the wattage by the number of hours the air conditioner runs in a day. Daily energy consumption = Wattage × Operating hours = 1800 watts × 24 hours = 43,200 watt-hours (or 43.2 kilowatt-hours)
  2. Calculate the daily cost: Multiply the daily energy consumption by the cost per kilowatt-hour. Daily cost = Daily energy consumption × Cost per kilowatt-hour = 43.2 kilowatt-hours × $0.14/kWh = $6.05 per day

How much does it cost to run a portable AC per month?

The average monthly costs for a portable air conditioning unit is around $40 a month if you’re running your unit for 8 hours a day. With that being said, there are portable AC units that have a range of 450 – 1800 watts, which will affect your costs significantly. An 1800 watt portable AC unit can cost up to $65 a month if you’re running it for 8 hours a day.

Is it cheaper to run central air or window units?

If you’re looking at costs alone, using one portable air conditioner will cost less than running your central air conditioning. Central air conditioning systems are generally more energy-efficient compared to individual window units. They are designed to cool an entire house evenly and efficiently, which can result in lower overall energy consumption. You might need several portable units to cool your entire household, which will end up costing you more in the long run.

Related post: How Much Does it Cost to Run a Space Heater?

What Factors Affect the Costs of Running An Air Conditioner?

If you’re looking for ways to cut costs on your electricity bill, there are several factors you can consider while using your air conditioner. Simple things like the energy-efficiency rating or your usage patterns can significantly add to how much you’re paying per month for your air conditioner.

  1. Energy Efficiency: The energy efficiency of the air conditioner plays a significant role in determining its operating costs. Higher-rated models with better energy efficiency can consume less electricity to achieve the same level of cooling, resulting in lower energy bills.
  2. Cooling Load: The size and cooling capacity of the air conditioner should match the cooling load of the space it is intended to cool. Oversized units can lead to short cycling and inefficient operation, while undersized units may struggle to cool the space effectively.
  3. Usage Patterns: The frequency and duration of air conditioner usage impact the costs. Running the air conditioner for longer periods or consistently throughout the day will result in higher energy consumption and increased costs.
  4. Insulation and Home Efficiency: The level of insulation in your home and its overall energy efficiency can impact the efficiency of the air conditioner. Well-insulated homes with good sealing can reduce heat gain and loss, allowing the air conditioner to operate more efficiently and reducing energy costs.
  5. Maintenance and Filter Cleaning: Regular maintenance, including cleaning or replacing air filters, is essential to ensure optimal performance. Clogged or dirty filters can restrict airflow and force the air conditioner to work harder, increasing energy consumption.
  6. Electricity Rates: The cost of electricity in your area influences the overall cost of running the air conditioner. Higher electricity rates result in higher operating costs, while lower rates can reduce expenses.

Related post: Does a Ceiling Fan Use a Lot of Electricity?

Cost of Running Air Conditioner FAQ

Q: How much does air conditioner cost per month?

On average, air conditioning costs can range from $50 to $200 or more per month during the peak cooling season. This estimation considers factors like the size of the home, the energy efficiency of the unit, and the climate conditions. Portable air conditioners can cost $40 – $60 per month, depending on how often you’re running it. Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of central air conditioning versus window units depend on specific cooling needs, the size of the space, and usage patterns.

Q: Is air conditioning expensive to run?

A: Air conditioning can be one of the biggest contributions to electricity costs, which should be noted in those hotter months. Air conditioning could cost you up to $200 a month if you’re not cautious about how much you’re running and how efficient your unit is!

Do you Need Cheaper Electricity?

If you’ve taken the time to understand the information on your bill and discovered you’re paying more than you’d like for your electricity, have you looked around for a cheaper deal? The Energy Professor has a wealth of information on ways to save on your utilities, including details of top deals that could significantly reduce your monthly or quarterly electricity bills.

We hope you found this article helpful! If you are looking for ways to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability in your home be sure to take a look at all of the latest renewable energy options in your area. The Energy Professor helps residential and small business owners find qualified energy suppliers in New YorkNew JerseyPennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts

Nik Chapman

Nik Chapman is the Chief Editor of The Energy Professor with lifelong passion for studying and exploring the natural environment. Nik has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and Biology and has specialized in work with Green Energy, Renewable Energy and Environmental Justice. Nik has worked directly with small communities and nonprofits to help make environmental education more accessible for everyone. Nik currently lives in Washington State and enjoys tide pooling on the Oregon Coast and taking hikes to local waterfalls!