How Much Do Air Conditioners Cost

How Much Do Air Conditioners Cost ?

Air conditioning is responsible for over 50 percent of your electric bill in Santa Clarita during the summertime, so it might not come as a shock to you that one of our most common questions is, how much does it cost to run an air conditioner? The solution can be somewhat in-depth. If you have read a number of our posts, then you know that All Systems Mechanical is a small, U.S. Veteran-Owned business located in Southern California, and we pride ourselves on giving direct, honest answers — we have built our reputation on it. In order to figure out how much it costs to operate your air conditioner, you will first need to get familiar with a few standard HVAC terms and theories. For those of you just looking for a fast answer, I will tackle the topic of just how much it costs to operate your air conditioner in three distinct segments: HVAC concepts you need to know to make this calculation, a quick rule-of-thumb way to create a cost calculation, and part three will be the in-depth, innovative calculation of how to determine how much it costs to operate your air conditioner.

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Air Conditioner — Terms & Concepts

Before we can tackle the cost of conducting an air conditioner, we need to get familiar with a few of the concepts and the terms we will use to produce the calculation. Do not worry — this will remain easygoing and gentlemanly.


A BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, that is the unit that is used in heating and air conditioning to measure the power of an air conditioner. To put it simply, one BTU is the quantity of energy that is necessary to cool 1 pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Just how many BTUs does your air conditioner come in? It’s simpler than you think: all you have to understand is how big your air conditioner, although that is one of the things that you have to work out.

Your air conditioner is measured in ‘tons.’ 1 ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs of cooling power. Therefore, when You Have a 3 ton unit (the average sized unit at Santa Clarita, California) then your air conditioner has 36,000 BTUs of cooling power:

3 heaps X 12,000 BTUs/ton = 36,000 BTUs

If you don’t know what size your air conditioner is, you can just Google your version and amount that is listed on the tag and it will tell you.

On the subject for more information, try: What Size Central Air Conditioner do I Need for the House?

An Ampere is a unit of measurement used to quantify the amount of electrons (electricity) have passed a single point in a particular unit of time. If you want to nerd-out around Amperes, check out the Wiki website: Ampere, but one Ampere (aka an ‘Amp’) is a really large, fixed number of electrons (6.241X10^18) crossing a circuit in one second. It’s a measure of just how much power is flowing.


A Watt is defined as one Joule of energy per second, and that is the amount of energy transferred over time. Again, we do not have to go too in depth for the dialogue of today but if you want to, feel free to about the Wiki page: Watt. 1,000 Watts is referred to as a “Kilowatt.”


A Volt is a measure of the potential between two points on a wire. That but if you’d like to be technical, then it’s the amount of electrical potential between two points when a single Amp moves you Watt value of electricity between these 2 points.

Why the hell is this flashback to high school physics necessary? Because I need to introduce you that you’ve likely heard of, but never entirely understood: the Kilowatt-Hour, which you’ll be using to figure out the price of conducting an air compressor.


Now that you understand exactly what a Kilowatt is, you can find out that a Kilowatt-Hour is just the amount of Kilowatts utilized in 1 hour. This is the basis for your electricity use is measured. That little meter on the side of your residence and the numbers on your bill are all Kilowatt-Hours, and that you understand what it is, you will be able to figure out how much it will cost to run an air compressor.

The Basics: How Much Does it Cost to Run an Air Conditioner

This section is determined by how to figure out the cost to conduct an air conditioner using a method. Breeze through this and then go to the following section, if you would like to know the specific amount that you are currently paying for your own air conditioner.

Step 1 — Calculate the Amps Drawn by Your Air Conditioner

This component will probably vary greatly based on what the SEER rating of your unit is (see: SEER vs EER), and its size and maker, so I shall re-emphasize that this is a quick, layman’s guide to calculating the cost of running the air conditioner. With this guide, the average amps brought on by a modern air conditioner is illustrated below and according to a SEER-16 score (average air conditioner):

2-Ton Air Conditioner — 15 amps
3-Ton Air Conditioner — 18 amps
4-Ton Air Conditioner — 21 amps
Write this down because you may need it in actions.

Step 2 — Calculate the Wattage Used by Your Air Conditioner, Followed by Kilowatt-Hours

The significance of figuring the cost of running an air conditioner out involves the amount of Watts which you use. To figure out this, just multiply the amps from step 1 from the voltage of your socket. With this overall price quote, we’ll use. Then use 110 volts if you’ve got a window air conditioner.

For instance, a 3-ton central air conditioning unit would look something

18 amps X 240 = 4,320 Watts

To compute Kilowatt-Hours, divide the number which you calculated by 1,000 to locate out one Kilowatt-Hour to your air conditioner:

4,320 Watts / 1,000 = 4.32 Kilowatt-Hours

Step 3 — Find the Average Price per Kilowatt-Hour On Your Region

Take a look below and figure out the average cost per Kilowatt-Hour according to your geographical region:

For our example today, we will use Santa Clarita, California which would have a mean cost per Kilowatt-Hour of 14.37 bucks. Next, multiply the Kilowatt-Hours found in step two to learn how much it costs to operate your air conditioner for one hour. Then multiply it by 24 to find out how much it charges after that, and for a day by 30 to discover how much it costs to operate your air conditioner for a month.

4.32 X 14.37 = 62 cents an hour,

62 X 24 = $14.89 per day,

$14.89 X 30 = $446.96 a month,

But wait! That is way more than just how much I cover my entire bill each month! How is this possible? Because this is the cost of running your air conditioner for a 16, that is.

Measure 4 — Find Your Multiplier

Like I said in step 3, you have just figured out the price to conduct an air conditioner for any particular period of time nonstop, but your air conditioner does not run all of the time! When the temperature on the thermostat goes over the temperature you’ve set it runs. Actually, if you should place your thermostat for 100 levels, then your price for air conditioning would be 0, as your air conditioner would never run. Therefore, these multipliers may be utilized. There is not any specific way to calculate the suitable multiplier and this is the place where a bit to break down. Every day has a distinct outside air temperature, humidity level, etc..

As a guide, you can use the multipliers according to a family temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a air conditioner, and based on the assumption that 20 degrees at night drop:

Average Outside Daytime Air Temperature — Multiplier

110 levels — 0.8
100 levels — 0.4
90 degrees — 0.3
80 degrees — 0.25
The multiplier’s purpose would be to estimate your device is actually running. For instance, we will use an average outside air temperature of 100 degrees (standard for a Santa Clarita summer):

$446.96 X 0.4 = $178.8 per month to get a 3-ton unit.

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