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Air conditioning: How much does it really cost to run in summer?

Air conditioning: How much does it really cost to run in summer?

As the weather continues to heat up across the country, the true cost of running an air conditioning unit throughout the year has been revealed.

With energy prices on the rise over recent years, many have been left weighing up whether the price of keeping cool in their home is worth it — particularly after a 20-25 per cent energy hike (depending on the provider) kicked in across large swathes of the country on July 1, 2023.

An analysis from Compare the Market looked at the varying prices of different types of air conditioners and fans and compared the costs of each.

Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>

The organisation’s Chris Ford said many households may still be confused about how to keep cool without it costing them a fortune.

“Electricity prices have surged higher than they’ve been in the last couple of years and that’s due to a range of factors, but one of the main reasons is because we’re too reliant on coal and we’re transitioning to renewable energy,” he said.

“While switching to greener energy will permanently drive down power bills and keep them lower, we don’t have enough of it yet.

“But families shouldn’t suffer through the heat to save money, they just need to be smart about their usage and ensure they’re on a competitive plan”.

Things that may increase your bill

A whole list of factors can impact a household’s energy bill. Some of these things include:

● The frequency of use.

● The size and capacity of the air conditioner, relevant to the size of the area you’re heating or cooling.

● The energy-efficiency rating.

● Your energy retailer’s usage rates.

What is the cheapest option?

One of the most cost-effective methods of keeping cool, Ford said, is by using fans.

On average, it costs around 2c/hour to run a fan, according to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Of course, the more fans your home uses, the higher your electricity bill will be.

What is the most expensive option?

The most expensive air conditioning unit according to Compare The Market was a large Reverse Split Unit.

The Fujitsu Reverse Cycle Split System costs about $1038.40 a year to run.

Ford added one of the other most expensive options are window box air conditioners.

“Window box air conditioners came out as one of the most expensive options of those we analysed,” he said.

“While a little outdated, they’re still common in many apartments and smaller homes.

“These units typically have a lower energy star rating, which is why they can cost more to operate than ducted or reverse split units.”

The Window box model the study analysed was the Gree C5.3kW Cool Only Box, which cost $758.85 a year to run.

Money-saving tips

Regardless of which type of air conditioning unit you have, Ford said usage habits could ultimately impact the price of your bill.

“Ideally, set the temperature around 25C on warm days,” Ford said.

“Be aware that for every degree cooler you set the temperature, you could be increasing your electricity usage by 10 per cent.

“That really adds up if you’re running more than one system at a time.”

Ford has shared a handful of tips that could help Australians save money on their energy bills, there are as follows:

Know the size of the room you’re looking to cool. When you go to a supplier or retailer, it pays to know the room’s length, width and ceiling height for a single unit or space of the house for the air conditioning system.Make sure your home is adequately insulated. Ceiling, wall and floor insulation can have a massive effect on air conditioning.If your home has a lot of windows that let in light and heat: shut blinds and curtains, install outdoor awnings and close doors and windows. These are all cheaper alternatives.If your home is equipped with solar panels, remember that running the air conditioner during the day when your system generates power could lower your overall bill.Make sure you are on an electricity plan that is affordable and think about comparing your current plan against others.

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