When the hot weather arrives and the temperatures soar, many people reach for their air conditioner to help them stay cool. For those that are not able to have a full HVAC system, there are portable air conditioners that can do a similar job. They also have the benefit of being able to move from room to room as needed. However, having these units running constantly can come at a cost to your energy bill. Does a portable air conditioner use a lot of energy?
How Efficient is Your Air Conditioner?
One of the first things you need to consider is how efficient your unit is. This doesn’t just mean the energy consumption, but also the condition of the unit itself. Older air conditioners will be less efficient than the newer versions, not only because of changing technology but also because appliances such as these lose efficiency over time.
When you buy a new portable air conditioner, you should check the rating to see if it will be suitable for the size of the room you need to cool. The rating for these appliances is called BTU (British Thermal Unit). One BTU equals the amount of energy needed to cool one pound of water by one Fahrenheit. The higher the BTU rating, the larger the room that unit can cool.
You need to buy a unit that will cool a room slightly larger than the one you need. That way, it will be more efficient.
Another way that costs can rise with an air conditioner is if there is a lot of wasted energy. This mainly occurs when the cool air is lost out of the room or hotter air can get in. If you’re looking to cool one room, then try to ensure that the windows and doors are kept closed. This will make it quicker to cool the room and more efficient.
The same way that cold drafts can get into a warm room, cold air can escape. If you find that you are losing the cooler air under doors or through closed windows, then you may need to invest in some draft proof material to seal up the gaps.
Converting BTUs to Money
To work out how much energy your portable air conditioner uses, you need to know the BTU rating of the unit. A mid-range model will usually be around 10,000 BTUs, while a compact version will be nearer 7,500 BTUs.
An air conditioner that is 7,500 BTUs will consume around 2.2 kWh, while a 10,000 BTU unit will use 2.9 kWh. This means that on average if the unit runs for 6 hours, it would cost approximately $1.51 per day. Around $45.36 per month.
There are, of course, other variables that can cause this cost to rise or fall, but this is why it’s important to ensure your unit and the room are not wasting any energy.
When you compare this to other appliances in the home, you can see a difference:
- Portable Air Conditioner – $45.36 per month average
- Water Heater – $55.25 per month average
- Window Fans – $5.25 per month average
- Dishwasher – $3.70 per month average
- Refrigerator – $18 to $27 per month average
As you can see, most other household appliances are more efficient, but air conditioners are not designed to run constantly.
Although portable air conditioners can be expensive to run compared to other appliances, they are performing a welcome function for many people. If you can limit the amount of energy loss, then you can lower that cost and save money.