How much does air conditioning cost each month?

Super-cooling your home might sound like an appealing proposition for households scorching through the Aussie summer, but many of us are deterred by how much an air conditioner costs to run. In fact, a Canstar Blue survey found that more than half of Australian households (51%) reduced their air con usage in the past year in an effort to save on electricity bills.

Australians estimate that 24% of their electricity bills during the summer months are attributable to their use of cooling appliances alone – but is this accurate? While air conditioners are often the number one suspect for larger than expected electricity bills, staying cool is probably not costing you as much as you think.

A separate study conducted by Sustainability Victoria examined the cost of running cooling appliances and found the following:

Room size Suitable cooler type Energy star rating Annual energy cost*
Small room (10 square metres) Electric split system air conditioner (2.5 kW output) 2.5 blue $34.00
5 stars blue $27.00
Portable or ceiling fan N/A $4.00 – $6.00
Medium room (35 square metres) Electric split system air conditioner (5.5 kW output) 1.5 blue $74.00
3 stars blue $86.00
Portable or ceiling fan N/A $4.00 – $6.00
Large area (60 square metres) Electric split system air conditioner (8 kW output) 1.5 blue $125.00
3 stars blue $108.00
Two portable or ceiling fans N/A $9.00 – $12.00
Whole house (166 square metres) Ducted air conditioning (20kW, not zoned) Standard efficiency $383.00
High efficiency $349.00
Ducted air conditioning (20kW, zoned) Standard efficiency $287.00
High efficiency $262.00
Evaporative cooling (16kW) Standard $54.00
Inverter $37.00
Four portable or ceiling fans N/A $19.00 – $24.00

*Approximate cost per annum, based on 300 hours usage and a 60% duty cycle for air conditioners. Based on electricity tariff of 28c/kWh. Evaporative coolers will also use water.

So, at its most expensive, air conditioning can cost as much as $32 a month. At it’s least, $2.25 per month.

Of course, keep in mind that the above table is based on a relatively average Victorian household. Cooling your home is likely to be more expensive for households living in warmer climates, or if you are charged a higher rate on electricity usage.

How to save on air conditioning

There are some inevitable costs that come with owning an air conditioner: The initial purchase price, installation, ongoing maintenance, and of course running costs all add up. But there are ways to help minimise the cost of keeping cool. Here are a few:

If you want to learn more about air conditioner running costs, we go into more detail in this report.

Compare air conditioners

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