Energy bills can’t be avoided completely if you live in a climate with regular heating or cooling needs. Air conditioning bills in the summer can be particularly brutal if you don’t know exactly how much of your money is going toward cooling versus other needs. Estimating how much you’re spending on air conditioning each month can help you make better decisions regarding your energy consumption.
If you live in a climate with hot summers, you may feel as though you have no choice but to run your AC each day, regardless of what it costs. You probably see a spike in your energy bill during the summer months. Finding out how much you spend on AC each month can help you:
Determine if it’s worth the money to upgrade to a more energy efficient unit
Help you budget for higher electricity during the warmer months
Make more informed decisions about how often you run your air conditioner and at what temperature you set the thermostat
If you’re just looking for a ballpark figure of what your air conditioner costs to run each month, grab a copy of your electric bill. Take a look at your energy consumption during the months of March and April. (Depending upon location, most people commonly stop running heat or air conditioning during these two months.) Look at the figure for what you spend in electricity.
Now take a look at a copy of your bill for the month of July, which is typically the peak month for air conditioning usage. Subtract the amount that you spend in March or April from what you spend in July. The amount that’s left is a rough estimate of how much you are spending on air conditioning.
Keep in mind that this estimate is not exact. If you air dry your clothes in the summer, but run a clothes dryer in the spring, this will skew your estimate by as much as $50 a month. Changes in electricity usage habits, as well as a reduction in the use of hot water heaters in the summer can also impact your final figure.
If you’re upgrading your air conditioning unit and you want to determine how much you could potentially save on your energy bills, first get your estimate of what you currently spend. Next, find out your current air conditioner’s SEER number. (SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and every air conditioner has one.) AC units that are more than 10 years old will probably have a particularly low number.
Once you know what you are currently spending and what your current unit’s SEER is, research the SEER ratings on units that you are considering. For every point that the SEER number goes up, you can expect a 10 percent reduction in your energy bill. If you are spending about $200 a month and your current unit has a SEER number of 10, upgrading to a unit with a SEER of 13 will save you about 30 percent a month, or around $60 a month.
Finding out what you spend each month on air conditioning can be the first step in lowering your energy bills. Get your estimate and start making more informed decisions.
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*APS Qualified Contractors are not affiliates or agents of APS. APS assumes no liability for their products or AC sales, installation or AC repair services.