How Much Does it Cost to Run an Air Conditioner?

Fast read

In some households, the air conditioning component on the energy bill amounts to roughly 35-40% of a home's energy consumption.

Although the costs of using an air conditioner vary from model to model and from house to house. On average, we say that air conditioning can cost anyway between $200 to 1000 per year to run. It all depends on the size of the unit and how often it is used.

The cost of cooling and heating can be reduced by closing rooms, using eco fan mode, closing curtains, heating or cooling only small rooms, adding a zoning solution, and cleaning air filters. To minimise air conditioning costs, it is recommended to choose an energy-efficient air-con system in the 1st place, such as one with inverter technology.

How much does it cost to run an air conditioner?

When the weather is scorching hot outside, one of the first things many Australians tend to do is blast the air conditioner, but have you ever stopped to think and asked ‘How much does it cost to run my air conditioner per day or hour?’ Given that there are several different brands and models, the answer can differ significantly.

Within Australia, heating and cooling consume roughly 35 – 40% of total household energy consumption. This can sometimes be even higher if the air conditioning system is reverse-cycle and used throughout the home. Given this is such a high number, many people are interested in how much this costs and what other factors affect this price, so let’s get into it.

The average reverse-cycle air conditioner can cost anywhere from $50 to $350 per year, depending on the location and size of the rooms. A whole-house ducted reverse-cycle air conditioner system, yearly costs range from $300 to $1000.

These annual costs will vary based on your electricity rate, air conditioner capacity, room size, and climate zone. Although it’s hard to give exact numbers, the tables below show how much you should expect to pay for cooling across Australia based on average current electricity costs. It must also be noted that this is for reverse cycle and split systems only, as these are the most common systems across Australia.

Factors affecting how much it costs to run an air conditioner

Size and efficiency

The size and efficiency of your air conditioner may significantly impact your energy expenditures. A smaller air conditioner will have to work more to cool the air, which could lead to greater energy costs. On the other hand, a bigger unit will frequently turn on and off, which can also result in higher energy usage.

Additionally, a significant factor in energy expenditures is your air conditioner’s efficiency. Even though they are initially more expensive, air conditioners with higher Energy Star Rating Systems are more effective and can save you money.


How much it costs to run an air conditioner may also be impacted by how frequently and long you use your air conditioner. Using your air conditioner only when it’s hot outside will lower energy expenses than running it constantly. Finding a balance between keeping cool and controlling your energy use is crucial.


The cost of running your air conditioner can also be impacted by the climate where you reside. Air conditioners must work harder to chill the air in hot, humid areas, which can result in higher energy usage and expenditures.

person changing air conditioner temperature
Keeping the temperature in winter and summer around the 21 to 23-degree Celsius mark, instead of making the home too hot in winter or too cool in summer, will keep the electricity bill less painful

Cooling for lounge room – Monthly estimate

Size of unit

20 cents

30 cents

40 cents

2 -3 kW




3-5 kW




5-7 kW$65$97.50


Heating – annual estimate 

Size of ACHobart 

(27.6 c/kWh)


(31.5 c/kWh)


 (34.4 c/kWh) 


 (29.3 c/kWh) 


 ( 27.2 c/kWh) 


(32.2 c/kWh)


 (27.7 c/kWh) 

2 – 3kW $255$155$140$15$240$145$250
3 – 5kW$355$170$185$20$340$170$350
5 – 7kW$585$210$240$35$570$250$580

Please note energy prices are fluctuating, so if your local electricity price per kWh has now increased, please compensate for the additional charge, when calculating the annual estimated running costs. the higher prices make solar only a more attractive proposition. 

Although these numbers may seem high, this is a very rough estimate given the recent high electricity increases. The actual numbers could be even higher as all households and homes vary.

There are several ways to reduce the cost to run an air conditioner, whether through more cost-effective ways to cool your home or permanent home adjustments which allow for a more comfortable home.

The things that can be done are


Regular maintenance can lower energy expenses and keep your air conditioner operating effectively. Air filter cleaning or replacement is essential because clogged filters can limit airflow and make your unit work harder than it has to. Additionally, it’s critical to maintain a clutter-free and clean environment around your appliance.

Close Curtains/Blinds

During the hottest hours of the day, closing your curtains and blinds can help keep your house cooler by obstructing the sun’s heat. Your air conditioner will work less hard and use less energy.

air conditioner filters being cleaned

If you are considering installing an air conditioning unit, make sure you pick an energy-efficient system. Moreover, opting for a system that involves inverter technology can allow for extra savings. Although air conditioners can be considered expensive, there are many ways that these air conditioner running costs can be reduced.

Furthermore, if your home is powered by solar energy, the high price of air conditioners will not be as noticeable on your energy bills. Consequently, you won’t need to worry about the financial impact. In conclusion, by choosing an energy-efficient air conditioning system and utilising solar energy, you can reduce how much it costs to run your air conditioner and enjoy the benefits of a cooler home.

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