How Much Does Air Con Cost to Run?

With summer on the way once again, many of us are starting to think hard about installing air conditioning. A quality air conditioner is a great way to keep your home cool and the sheer variety means you’re spoiled for choice. Even better, modern air conditioners use energy saving technologies to conserve power, so you can beat the heat without breaking the bank. As long as you use your air conditioner sensibly and stick to a few energy-saving tips, you should be able to make it through summer without sending your power bills through the roof. In this article we’re going to explore how much it costs to run an air conditioner and a few ways you can keep your electricity consumption in check. 

How Much Does it Cost to Run Your Air Conditioner?

Everyone uses their air conditioning a little differently, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $300 per year to run a split system air conditioner in Brisbane. Ducted air conditioning will cost about $817 to run each year. The real cost of running your air conditioner will vary depending on factors like:

  • The climate, humidity and ambient temperature

  • How many hours per day your air conditioning is running

  • What times of day you’re running your air conditioner

  • On peak and off peak tariffs

  • Whether you have solar panels installed on your home

  • How well sealed and insulated your home is

To give you a rough idea of how much air conditioning costs to run, Choice conducted a recent review of split system air conditioners and calculated the average yearly cost:

Air Conditioner Size

Yearly Cost

Small - 2-3kW


Medium - 3-5kW


Large - 5-7kW


These estimates are based on the average Brisbane household over summer with little or no use in between. If you own a reverse cycle air conditioner that you use during the winter then you can expect to pay more.

How to Reduce the Cost of Running Your Air Conditioner

The way you use your air conditioner will have a big impact on your power bills. If you’re running it 24/7 then you can expect to see your electricity consumption climb dramatically. Here are a few simple tips for reducing the cost of running your air conditioning:

  • Invest in better insulation for your home

  • Use caulk and weatherproofing strips to seal air gaps

  • Close the curtains during the day to keep the sun out

  • Keep the thermostat set to 24C in the summer

  • Use ceiling fans to circulate cool air

  • Close the doors to spaces you aren’t using and avoid cooling them

  • Turn the air conditioner off over night

  • Use smart thermostat functions to raise and lower the temperature as the day heats up and cools down

The biggest thing you can do is to ensure your air conditioner is matched to the space it’s cooling. Split system air conditioners are usually best suited for cooling smaller spaces. If you install an underpowered split system in a large living area, it will struggle to keep the space cool and consume lots of extra power. The opposite is also true. An overpowered system won’t have any trouble cooling your room, but it will use more power than necessary and drive up your power bills.

Check the Energy Rating on Your Air Conditioner

Buying a new air conditioner is an investment. You not only have to purchase the appliance, you’ll need to pay an electrician to install it. While it can be tempting to save some money on the initial purchase price, it’s worth checking the energy rating on the units you’re looking at.

All new air conditioners sold in Australia are required to meet a minimum energy performance standard (MEPS). That means most air conditioners are fairly efficient. However, you can save lots of money by spending more on a unit with a higher star rating. For a little bit more money up front, an air conditioner with a higher energy rating can save you thousands of dollars over its lifetime. Talk to your electrician about choosing an energy efficient air conditioner. They’ll even be able to help you choose a unit that works with your solar panels to save you money.

Struggling to Keep Your Cooling Bills Under Control? Get in Touch with Dawson Electric!

Brisbane’s summers are often unforgiving. With endless heat and plenty of humidity, keeping cool can be a challenge. If you’re thinking about installing air conditioning then now’s your chance to beat the summer rush! The Dawson Electric team are experienced electricians and air conditioning installers working throughout Brisbane. We can help you choose the best air conditioner for your home, and we’ll work with you to pick a model that meets your energy consumption needs. Contact us today if you’d like to book an appointment or want to know more about our air conditioning installation and maintenance or test and tag Brisbane wide services!

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