Your Air conditioner is likely one of the largest consumers of energy in your home, and while you can choose to use it less, it can be a tough habit to break. We’ve grown accustomed to enjoying the perfect climate in our homes and apartments but at a significant cost. By knowing how much energy your air conditioner uses you can adjust your habits to lower your electricity usage and your bill while having a smaller impact on the environment.
Central Air Conditioner: 90% of new American homes use central Air conditioning and while the technology is getting more and more efficient, central air conditioners are the largest AC units both in size and energy consumption. A Central AC uses your home’s ducts to deliver cool air all throughout your house without you needing to install individual window units. These conveniences and comforts come at a cost though. The average Central AC unit uses around 3,500 W of electricity or 12,000 Btus every hour.
**Window Units: **If central air conditioning isn’t an option for your home or apartment, finding the right window unit can help keep you comfortable in the warmer months without breaking the bank. The electricity usage of these units generally is less than that of a central AC. The smaller models use around 1,400 watts or 5,000 Btu/hr. It’s important to find the right window for your AC unit because you want to make sure your air is blowing towards the center of the room.
Window Units come in various sizes and price ranges. You should pick the best one for the area you need to cool based on square footage. Small window units can generally cool 100-300 square feet and cost between $100 and $200. A medium sized model will run you up to around $300 and can cool up to 400 square feet of space. The largest models can cool up to a 650 square foot space and cost somewhere in the $300 to $400 dollar range. Some of these larger models can use a similar amount of energy as a central AC but have a much smaller upfront cost. You can take a look at Energy Star’s website to learn more about what cooling capacity you need for your specific room size.
If you are in the market for a new air conditioning unit, central or window, you should look into getting an Energy Star certified model. These are required to be 20% more efficient than standard appliances. That means lower electricity usage, saving you money in the long run. Below are some of Energy Star and Consumer Reports top picks
**Central: **AirEase Pro Series 20LX variable-capacity air conditioner with Comfort Sync.
Annual Energy Use: 1,850-4,759 kWh
Annual Cost: $202-$519
**Small Window Unit: **GE AEM05LV ($170)
**Medium Window Unit: **LG LW8015ER ($270)
**Large Window Unit: **LG LW1216ER ($350)
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