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Is it expensive to run air conditioning?

Determining the installation and running costs of air conditioning is vital in ensuring whether an AC unit is affordable. However, it is impossible to determine a ‘standard’ cost of running air conditioning. This is because the cost of running an air conditioning unit/system varies depending on a number of factors.

To better understand how much air conditioning will cost, you will need to review the type of air conditioning unit you require, the current insulation level at your property, and how regularly your AC system will be subject to maintenance.

The type of air conditioning unit

Air conditioning units are available in many different formats, these include:

·      Portable systems

·      Split systems

·      Central/ducted systems


Portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioners are popular amongst household as they are easily sourced from most retailers and their small price tag is very appealing.

However, whilst their cheap price tag might be tempting, portable air conditioning units are often more expensive to run and less effective in cooling. This is because the majority of portable air conditioning units aren’t actually air conditioners at all, they can be more accurately described as air coolers, and have little to no effect on a humid room.


Split air conditioners

Split air conditioning describes a system that is ‘split’ across outdoor and indoor units. Split units are the most popular choice for both domestic and commercial use, due to their remarkably high efficiency rate.

These units might also be favoured over central/ducted systems as they are often less expensive to acquire/install, offer higher efficiency levels and can be retrofitted relatively easily.


Central/ducted systems

Central, or ducted, air conditioning units are the most popular choice of system for large commercial buildings. These air conditioning systems work from a central unit, and use ducting to distribute the conditioned air throughout a building.

Whilst these units can offer a refined property-wide solution, conditioning air without the need for multiple outdoor units, they are not the most efficient or economical solution.  This is because the air can often rise in temperature whilst moving through the ducting. 


How well your property is insulated

It’s no secret that poor insulation can make a property cold in the winter, but did you know a poorly insulated property can also suffer from increased heat in the summer? As it turns out, insulation is key in maintaining any temperature within a property.

On a summers day hot air can seep through a poorly insulated home and create a humid environment. If a property is well-insulated the air inside will remain a consistent temperature for longer. As a result of this, investing in a property’s insulation can lead to a dramatic reduction in energy bills.


Change your habits

Whilst it might come as a surprise, reducing you air conditioning running costs can be a simple as making some personal changes. Taking the following actions can help save you money in the long-term:

·      Close the curtains – Running an air conditioning unit with the curtains open can lead to wasted energy! Direct sunlight streaming through a window will counteract your air conditioner’s efforts and heat up a room!

·      Close the doors – Similarly to open curtains, open doors can lead to wasted energy! An open door allows cold air to escape the targeted room, requiring your air conditioner to work harder.

·      Familiarise with features – Certain air conditioning units offer energy saving features, these can be beneficial in maximising an air conditioners efficiency in the most economically-friendly way. It’s also advisable to familiarise yourself with every air conditioning feature, pushing buttons tactlessly could result in heating a room you wanted to cool and vice versa!


Give your unit some TLC!

It’s a given, almost everything in life works better after some tender loving care! Your air conditioning unit is no exception!

Failing to maintain, service, or regularly clean your air conditioner can lead to reduced efficiency levels, as well as larger, more expensive repairs

The easiest way to avoid costly repairs is to ensure you air conditioning unit is kept clean. A unit that has been clogged with dirt and dust will not work as efficiently as possible, for more information on cleaning you air conditioning unit read our handy blog.


In conclusion

There are many aspects effecting the running costs of your air conditioning units, making it hard to calculate an exact number.

However, fixed air conditioning units tend to be cheaper to run than portable units and fan assisted electric heaters. As a guideline, your average 2kw fixed unit usually costs around £0.08 an hour to run, this figure is subject to change dependent on room size and the variables mentioned throughout this article.


Contact an engineer

If you’re seeking an air conditioning installation, repair, or service contact the team at Sub-Zero. Our experienced engineers can advise you on machines that offer energy efficient features and economically friendly solutions.

We have a variety of air conditioning units for both commercial and domestic use. Our team will conduct a comprehensive site visit and suggest an air conditioning solution tailored to your exact requirements and circumstances.