Knowing the exact number of watts an air conditioner uses is essential to ensure that you strike a good balance between efficiency and convenience while purchasing a unit. However, it can be quite challenging since the power consumption of an AC unit varies based on factors like its age and size. Here is a detailed piece to guide you in determining the approximate power usage of your air conditioner.
1. A Rough Estimate of How Many Watts an AC Uses
Generally, the smallest window AC units use around 500 watts while a medium-sized unit will consume 900 watts per hour. The largest window air conditioner uses approximately 1440 watts hourly. On average, a portable air conditioning unit uses 2,900 watts every hour, but large systems can use up to 4,100 watts in an hour. On the other hand, a central air conditioner unit uses an average of 3,000 to 3,500 watts per hour, but the energy usage drops to 750 watts each hour when used on the fan-only mode.
The main reason for looking at the unit’s power consumption is to estimate the expected power cost. Begin by determining the wattage of your system, the operational hours, and local electricity rates. Let us say your AC unit uses 3,000 watts, and you run it for an average of 4.5 hours a day, with the electricity tariff being $0.13 per kilowatt. Your utility cost will be 3,000/1,000 x 4.5 x $0.13 = $1.755 per hour.
Note that an AC unit does not run continuously for an hour. Instead, it cycles on and off, so calculating an hourly cost will give you a higher figure. Most air conditioners will cycle for 15 minutes twice per hour. So, divide your answer by two. Based on the previous example, you will spend $0.8775 per hour.
2. Factors That Affect AC Wattage Use
There are various reasons why an AC unit can use more or less energy. If you buy an undersized unit, it will have to work for a more extended period to maintain a comfortable temperature, which results in high energy use. On the other hand, an oversized unit needs more energy to run since its intended purpose is to cool a large area.
Older air conditioners use electricity less efficiently compared to modern units. A ducted system will also use more energy than the split system since the ductwork can leak the conditioned air. If you live in a hot climate region, your AC unit will likely use more watts to cool the house. If you have heat-emitting equipment at home like an oven, dishwasher, and washing machine, they increase your home’s temperature. Hence, you will notice a higher AC power consumption.
3. Conserving Energy With an AC
While buying a central air conditioning unit, look for one with a higher ENERGY STAR rating. You should also check the SEER rating and choose an AC unit with the highest efficiency level within your budget. When running an air conditioner, you should always keep your windows closed and curtains shut. Note that direct sunlight will increase the volume of hot air that your AC unit needs to cool. Pay attention to your home’s insulation since a home with gaps allows air to escape, making the air conditioner work harder.
Turn off heat-dissipating appliances when not in use. Set the AC unit at 71 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and the unit should not be more than 8 degrees lower than the outdoor temperature. Clean or change the air filters after every three months. If you reside in dusty areas or you have a shedding pet, change the filters every month. Note that clogged air filters restrict airflow, so your unit will have to work harder, which results in higher energy consumption. Have a professional inspect the appliance annually to keep it running at peak efficiency. They will also check the refrigerant level and look for any leakages that can spike your unit’s power consumption.
Need Professional AC Services?
Rather than choosing an air conditioner based on wattage only, it is a good idea that you consult a professional. A qualified technician will help you choose the right AC unit size based on your house’s size, the number of occupants, the climate in your region, and the insulation level.
If you need professional help with your air conditioner, you can always contact Cardwell Heating & Air Conditioning. We deal with central, ductless, commercial, and home air conditioning installations. Our company also offers boiler, heat pump, furnace, and water heater installation and maintenance services. You can access our services if you reside in Cherry Hill, NJ, or a nearby area. Get in touch with us today and book an appointment.