Air Conditioner Energy Use and Costs Explained – Canstar Blue

What is the electricity consumption of your air conditioner? Also, how much will it cost really cost to run your air conditioner? Spoiler: It’s less than you think.

A recent Canstar Blue survey found that many Australian households have reduced the use of their air conditioning to save money on their electricity bills. Our research found that nearly two in five respondents (38%) suspect that air conditioning is the biggest contributor to electricity bills, so it’s no surprise that a similar number of people (33%) said that energy efficiency was their main deciding factor. when choosing an air conditioner.

You can research an air conditioner’s wattage and calculate your unit’s annual running costs on the South Australian Government website, but in the meantime here’s our breakdown of electricity cost stats, whether you’re using your air conditioning for heating or cooling. . We have assumed an electricity usage load of 35c/kWh for these calculations.

How much does it cost to run an air conditioner for cooling?

The average reverse cycle air conditioner costs around $0.25 to $0.35 per hour to run for cooling purposes, depending on the size of the room. An average sized room of 36 m² would cost between $0.36 and $0.70 per hour. In large areas (50m²), it will cost you between $0.70 and $0.95 per hour.

A portable refrigeration unit costs about the same, $0.45 to $0.55 per hour.

The real winners in cost – but perhaps not cooling capacity – are ceiling fans and portable fans, at just $0.02-$0.05 per hour depending on fan speed. Portable evaporative devices come in second, costing about $0.06 to $0.07 per hour for electricity, plus less than $0.02 per hour for water used by the device to cool the device. ‘air.

A whole house ducted reverse cycle air conditioning system is again the biggest money sink, at $2.45-$3.45 per hour to run. That’s a lot more expensive than using the system for heating, but if you want every square inch of your home or office to be freezing, well…

Cooling costs (reverse cycle, split-system air conditioner)

The table below shows how much you could pay for air conditioning over a year. Below the prices are assumptions for air conditioning use, which take into account the energy efficiency of an appliance depending on the climate zone in which you live. For example, you’ll find that a household in Brisbane will use a lot more than one in Melbourne, since the system has to work harder to balance the hot outside temperature.

Cut Brisbane sydney Adelaide Perth melbourne Hobart Canberra
2–2.5kW $112.93
(511 kWh)
$46.08 (180kWh) $62.28 (180kWh) $51.84 (180kWh) $28.55 (117kWh) $34.40 (117kWh) $26.44 (117kWh)
2.5 to 5kW $181.00 (819kWh) $72.19 (282kWh) $97.57 (282kWh) $81.22 (282kWh) $43.92 (180kWh) $52.92 (180kWh) $40.68 (180kWh)
4–6kW $283.76 (1,284 kWh) $112.13 (438kWh) $151.55 (438kWh) $126.14 (438kWh) $68.08 (279kWh) $82.03 (279kWh) $63.05 (279kWh)

Source: www.canstarblue.com.au – 17/09/2020. Average energy consumption figures based on reverse cycle, ductless and single system air conditioners listed in the Commonwealth of Australia’s E3 program registration database. Capacity based on nominal cooling capacity at 35°C. Usage cost estimates based on average electricity usage costs – 25.6 c/kWh in Sydney, 24.4 c/kWh in Melbourne, 22.1 c/kWh in Brisbane, 34.6 c /kWh in Adelaide, 29.4 c/kWh in Hobart and 22.6 c/kWh in Canberra. Average usage costs are based on available tariffs for an annual usage of 4,200 kWh. ^ Climate zones based on new zone energy rating label for air conditioner models imported or supplied after April 1, 2020.

How much does it cost to run an air conditioner for heating?

It usually costs between $0.13 and $0.36 per hour to use a reverse cycle air conditioner to heat a room.

A radiant electric heater costs about the same at $0.36 per hour, as does an electric panel heater at $0.43, but neither of these will heat such a large area. A gas heater costs more at $0.43 – $0.51 per hour.

A whole house ducted reverse cycle AC system costs the most, between $1.45 and $2.12 per hour, so make sure you really need it before you hit that button!

Heating costs (reverse cycle, split-system air conditioner)

The table below reveals the annual costs of using your air conditioning to heat rather than cool. The usage figures under the costs reflect the heating demand in each state, as well as the energy efficiency of an appliance according to the climate zone. In this scenario, a home in Melbourne uses much more air conditioning than a home in Brisbane because it is much colder there all year round.

Cut Brisbane sydney Adelaide Perth melbourne Hobart Canberra
2–2.5kW $11.93
(54kWh)
$87.04
(340kWh)
$117.64
(340kWh)
$97.92
(340kWh)
$213.50
(875kWh)
$257.25
(875kWh)
$197.75
(875kWh)
2.5 to 5kW $14.81
(67kWh)
$110.08
(430kWh)
$148.78
(430kWh)
$123.84
(430kWh)
$279.87
(1,147 kWh)
$337.22
(1,147 kWh)
$259.22
(1,147 kWh)
4–6kW $21.66
(98kWh)
$168.45
(658kWh)
$227.67
(658kWh)
$189.50
(658kWh)
$437.98
(1,795 kWh)
$527.73
(1,795 kWh)
$405.67
(1,795 kWh)

Source: www.canstarblue.com.au – 17/09/2020. Average energy consumption figures based on reverse cycle, ductless and single system air conditioners listed in the Commonwealth of Australia’s E3 program registration database. Power based on rated heat output at 7°C. Usage cost estimates based on average electricity usage costs – 25.6 c/kWh in Sydney, 24.4 c/kWh in Melbourne, 22.1 c/kWh in Brisbane, 34.6 c /kWh in Adelaide, 29.4 c/kWh in Hobart and 22.6 c/kWh in Canberra. Average usage costs are based on available tariffs for an annual usage of 4,200 kWh. ^ Climate zones based on new zone energy rating label for air conditioner models imported or supplied after April 1, 2020.

Ducted Air Conditioner Running Costs

Ducted air conditioning is the undisputed king of cooling, but it comes at a cost. Not only are ducted air conditioning systems more expensive to install, but as the chart below illustrates, they aren’t cheap either.

Hours per day Summer cooling costs Heating costs in winter
2 $540 $324
4 $1,080 $648
6 $1,620 $972
8 $2,160 $1,296
12 $3,240 $1,944
24 $6,480 $3,888

*Calculations assume cooling costs of $3/hour and heating costs of $1.80/hour, based on an electricity consumption rate of 35 c/kWh. Calculations assume reported usage per day for 90 days.

Air Conditioner Energy Costs Infographic

What does it cost Continued work than an air conditioner?

  • kitchen appliances are a silent killer. The ovens cost between $0.63 and $1.33 per hour to operate. Stove costs $0.42 – $0.84 per hour per element used. Gas stoves, ovens and grills cost a little less than electric, at $0.48 per hour. Even the modest microwave costs between $0.28 and $0.53.
  • Cleaning devices are more expensive to run than your air conditioner, with irons and vacuum cleaners both costing $0.41 to $0.82 per hour to run.
  • clothes dryer costs much more to run than your air conditioner, starting at $0.50 and typically costing up to $3.14 per hour to run.
  • Lighting your house is very expensive. Although using a single bulb can cost as little as $0.01 per hour for an energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp, few people use just one bulb at a time. It can cost anywhere from $0.24 to $1.68 per hour to run multiple light bulbs in your home at once. If you’re trying to reduce your consumption, you can try the “one light per room” or “one light per person in the house” rule.
  • swimming pools and hot tubs have high electricity costs due to the regular need to run the pool filter ($0.26 – $0.53 per hour) and chlorination equipment ($0.04 – $0.07). It’s even more expensive if you have a gas water heater ($4.00 – $17.00) or a solar water heater ($0.18 – $0.26).

What does it cost less work than an air conditioner?

  • Small appliances like computers, printers and telephones cost less than 1 cent per hour to operate.
  • Heating water for showers, baths and washing represents 25% of the energy used in an average home. It costs between $0.05 and $0.14 to operate each bath.
  • Dishwasher cost between $0.12 and $0.56 per hour to operate, in terms of electricity.
  • televisions costs from less than 1 cent per hour to as much as $0.14 per hour for the larger plasma and LED models.

What about ceiling fans?

The humble ceiling fan is a great way to keep cool on the cheap. It obviously won’t be as effective as the air conditioning, but it’s a reasonable alternative for hot days. Here are some estimated running costs for ceiling fans:

Hours per day Cooling costs
2 $7
4 $14
6 $22
8 $28
12 $43
24 $88

*Calculations assume operating costs of 4 c/hour, based on an electricity consumption rate of 35 c/kWh. Calculations assume reported usage per day for 90 days.

Cheap electricity deals

While you’re here, why not take the time to compare energy plans in your area. Follow the links below to compare the cheapest offers from our database in your state.

  • VIC cheapest electricity plans
  • NSW cheapest electricity plans
  • QLD Cheapest Electricity Plans
  • Cheapest Electricity Plans SA

How can I reduce the cost of using my air conditioning?

We’ve established that air conditioners aren’t necessarily the big bad wolf when it comes to your electric bills. However, it’s still possible that your electricity bill will shock you if you’ve been running your air conditioning during a particularly sweltering summer. Here are some simple tips to potentially minimize the effect air conditioning can have on your electricity bill:

Air Conditioner Reviews and Ratings

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