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Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

How Much Electricity Does It Take to Run My AC?


A question homeowners often have about their central air conditioning systems is: “How much does it cost me to run my AC during the summer?” It’s a good question: people are curious about what they can expect to pay through the season, as well as how they may lower those costs.

There’s a problem with providing an answer, however, and that’s because too many factors are involved to allow us to provide any sort of answer in cold, hard dollars and cents. For one thing, the cost of electricity changes, and a house in Delaware may pay a different amount for similar AC usage compared to a house in Maryland. There are also different types of ACs with different efficiencies, and some homes are more difficult to cool than others because they have less insulation, more people in them, etc. 

What we can do to help you understand the “cost” of running your AC is give you some information on how much electricity, on average, an air conditioning system consumes when it’s running. That’s why we chose the title that we did for this post.

Electrical Consumption in Cooling Mode

An air conditioner has multiple electrically powered parts: the indoor blower fan, the control board, the outside exhaust fan, the thermostat, and the compressor. When the AC starts its cooling cycle, it turns on the compressor, and this is where the majority of electrical power goes. The compressor consumes, on average, 3,500 watts per hour of electricity. This makes the compressor one of the biggest consumers of electricity in a house.

To give you a perspective on how much 3,500 watts per hour is, a 42” LED television only consumes 20 watts per hour, a phone charger 4 watts per hour, and an electric over 2,150 watts per hour. The only item in a house that might use more electricity than an AC’s compressor is an electric water heater.

The Blower Fan 

Thankfully, an air conditioner won’t run the compressor all the time. An AC moves through cooling cycles, and the compressor will cycle down at times while only the indoor fan runs. The difference is significant: the blower fan uses only 750 watts per hour. This is why we recommend homeowners raise their thermostat setting as high as they find comfortable during the summer, since it will require the compressor to turn on less and allow the AC to operate for long stretches with the less energy-hungry blower fan. Changing the thermostat settings from 72°F during the day to 78°F can mean a reduction in electrical consumption by up to 20%.  

If you need help improving your air conditioning in Delaware to lower how much you’re paying for electricity, you can trust the job to our team. Whether you need repairs, routine maintenance, putting in a new system, or just an analysis to see why your AC is drawing on so much electricity, we’re the people to trust. Get in contact us today.

At Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc., “We Take Pride in Your Comfort!” Call us for 24/7 service.

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