Do Air Conditioners Cost A Lot To Run?

by | Feb 6, 2024

Hey there! Have you ever wondered if turning on your air conditioner to escape the heat or cold is going to cost you a fortune? Well, you’re not alone! With summer sun blazing down or winter chill seeping in, it’s tempting to reach for that AC remote. But what does that mean for your electricity bill? Let’s dive into the world of air conditioners and see if they’re really the energy-guzzlers they’re made out to be.

Understanding Air Conditioner Costs

First off, let’s talk about how air conditioners use electricity. Think of your air conditioner like a big fridge for your room. Just like a fridge keeps your food cool, an air conditioner keeps your room at a comfy temperature. But to do this, it needs energy, measured in kilowatts (kW).

The cost to run your air conditioner depends on a few things:

  • The size of your room: Bigger rooms need more cooling, which means more electricity.
  • The type of air conditioner: Some are like sprinters (quick and powerful) and others are more like marathon runners (steady and efficient).
  • How long you run it: More hours means more energy used.

Average Energy to Run an Air Conditioner

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Instead of looking at costs, we’ll focus on how much energy it takes to run different types of air conditioners. This way, you can get a sense of how much electricity you’re using before even thinking about the cost.

  • Split System Air Conditioners: These are the ones you might have in your bedroom or living room. For a small room, you might use a 2kW air conditioner. If you run it for an hour, it uses 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. It’s like running 100 light bulbs (at 20 watts each) for an hour!
  • Ducted Air Conditioners: These big guys can cool your whole house. They might be around 6kW. So, in an hour, they use 6 kWh of energy. That’s like running 300 of those light bulbs for an hour!

To put this in perspective, let’s say you have a game console like a PlayStation or Xbox. Running that for an hour might use about 0.15 to 0.2 kWh. So, cooling your room for an hour can use as much energy as gaming for 10 to 13 hours!

Why Does This Matter?

Understanding the energy used helps us figure out two things:

  1. Environmental Impact: Using less energy is better for our planet. If we know how much energy our air conditioners use, we can make smarter choices about when and how to use them.
  2. Control Over Bills: Knowing about energy use can also help us manage our electricity bills better. If we’re smart about using our air conditioners, we can stay cool (or warm) without getting a big bill shock.

So, do air conditioners cost a lot to run? It depends on how you use them. By being energy-wise, you can enjoy the comfort of your air conditioner without worrying too much about the cost or the impact on the environment. Stay tuned for tips on how to keep those costs down while staying comfy all year round!

Air Conditioner Costs Victoria

Estimate of Running an Air Conditioner in Victoria.

The estimate is based on the Victorian Default Offer price review for 2023-24 as a reference, which provides specific tariffs including supply charges and usage charges for different distribution zones. For simplicity, we’ll use an average cost per kWh and a standard supply charge for our calculations.


  • Electricity cost per kWh (average): $0.25 (This is an approximate average based on the tariffs provided for different zones. Actual rates may vary.)
  • Supply charge: $1.15 per day (This is an average of the supply charges listed. Actual rates may vary.)
  • Hours of operation per day: 3 hours
  • Days in a month: 30 days

Air Conditioner Power Consumption:

  • Small room (Split AC): 0.5 kW
  • Medium room (Split AC): 1.5 kW
  • Large room (Split AC): 2.5 kW
  • Small room (Ducted AC): 3.5 kW (Ducted systems are generally more powerful and are used for larger or multiple rooms, but we’ll include an estimate for comparative purposes.)
  • Medium room (Ducted AC): 5.5 kW
  • Large room (Ducted AC): 7.5 kW

Monthly Cost Calculation:

Monthly Cost = (Power Consumption * Hours of Operation per Day * Electricity Cost per kWh * Days in a Month) + (Supply Charge * Days in a Month)

Example Cost Table:

Tips to Reduce Your Air Conditioning Costs

Now that we know air conditioners can use quite a bit of energy, let’s talk about how we can keep our homes comfortable without sending our electricity bills through the roof. Here are some cool tips to help you save energy and money:

  • Choose Energy-Efficient Models: When buying a new air conditioner, look for one with a high energy star rating. The more stars, the less energy it uses.
  • Keep It Cool, Naturally: Before turning on the AC, try to cool your house naturally. Close blinds during the day to block out the sun and open windows at night if it’s cooler outside.
  • Set It Right: Find a comfortable temperature setting and stick to it. Around 24-25 degrees Celsius in summer and 18-20 degrees Celsius in winter are good starting points.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep your air conditioner happy by cleaning its filters regularly. A clean filter improves efficiency and saves energy.
  • Use Fans: Ceiling or portable fans use much less energy than air conditioners. Using them together with your AC can spread the cool air further and allow you to set your AC at a higher temperature.
  • Seal Leaks: Make sure windows and doors are sealed properly. Any leaks can let cool air out, making your AC work harder.
  • Insulate Your Home: Good insulation keeps the heat out in summer and the warmth in during winter, reducing the need for constant air conditioning.


Understanding how much energy your air conditioner uses and how to reduce it is key to keeping your home comfortable without overspending on electricity bills. By following the tips above, you can enjoy a cool breeze or cosy warmth in your home more efficiently.

Air conditioners don’t have to be the villains of your electricity bill. With a little know-how and effort, you can significantly cut down on energy use, which is good for both your wallet and the planet. So, next time you reach for that AC remote, remember that a few smart choices can make all the difference.

If you are looking to get an air conditioner installed by a qualified electrician near Beaumaris, call us direct on 0411 471 922.

Need Help?

Do you need to have your electrical systems done? Bell Electrical Contractors is happy to help. Call us on 0411471922 or email us at