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How Much Does Air Conditioning Cost to Run?

how much does air conditioning cost to run

As the British summer heat sets in, many of us turn to our trusty air conditioning (AC) units to keep our homes and offices cool and comfortable. The energy prices in the UK continue to rise, so it’s essential to understand the costs associated with running an air conditioning system.

At GLP, we want to provide you with a step-by-step guide to help you estimate your AC operating costs and share some practical tips and strategies to help you reduce those costs and keep your energy bills in check.

Air Conditioning Costs to Consider 

The cost of running an air conditioning system in the UK can vary quite a bit, depending on a few factors:

Installation Costs 

The most significant initial cost will be purchasing and installing your air conditioner. Homeowners or business owners will need to factor in the price of the air conditioning system itself and the labour and any necessary modifications to the building’s electrical or ductwork systems. 

Size and Efficiency 

The size and energy efficiency of your AC will affect its operating costs. Larger, less efficient units will consume more electricity and cost more than smaller, high-efficiency models.

Climate and Usage

While the UK doesn’t experience the same extreme heat as other parts of the world, certain regions can still require heavy AC use during summer. The number of hours you use your AC per day and month, depending on your electricity cost, can also impact the overall costs.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Remember to factor in the cost of maintaining and repairing your AC unit. Regular maintenance, like changing air filters and cleaning the coils, can help keep your system running efficiently and prevent more expensive breakdowns.

Estimating the Cost to Run Your Air Conditioner 

To estimate how much it costs to run an air conditioner, you’ll need to calculate three different factors: 

  1. Determine your AC unit’s energy consumption: Look up the energy efficiency rating (EER) of your AC unit and use that to calculate its hourly energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh). For example, a 3-ton, 16 EER AC unit would consume about 3.75 kWh per hour.
  2. Calculate your average daily/monthly usage: Think about how many hours and days per month you typically run your AC in the UK. In a warmer region, you might use it 8-12 hours daily, 30 days per month. In a milder climate, it could be 4-6 hours per day, 15 days per month, and during the winter, not at all. 
  3. Multiply energy consumption by UK electricity rates: Once you know your air conditioning unit’s hourly energy use and average usage, you can multiply those numbers by your local UK electricity rate (in pounds per kWh) to get your estimated monthly and annual operating costs.

For example, if your 3-ton, 16 EER AC unit uses 3.75 kWh per hour and you run it for 10 hours per day, 30 days per month, in an area with an electricity rate of £0.20 per kWh, your monthly cost would be:

  • 3.75 kWh/hour x 10 hours/day x 30 days/month = 1,125 kWh/month
  • 1,125 kWh/month x £0.20/kWh = £225/month
  • £225/month x 12 months/year = £2,700/year

Of course, your actual running costs may vary based on your specific situation, but this should give you a reasonable ballpark estimate to work with.

Reducing the Cost of Running an AC Unit

Now that you know how to estimate your AC operating costs, here are some tips to help you reduce those costs:

Energy-Efficient AC Units

When it’s time to replace your AC system, look for models with high EER ratings. These high-efficiency units will cost more upfront, but they’ll save you money in the long run through lower energy bills.

Thermostat Settings and Usage

Try to keep your thermostat at a higher temperature when you’re not home, and use a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature based on your schedule automatically. You can also limit the number of hours you run your AC daily.

Home Insulation and Seal Air Leaks

Making your home more energy-efficient by adding insulation and sealing air leaks can reduce the work your AC unit has to do, lowering your operating costs. 

Maintain Your AC System

Regular maintenance, like changing air filters and cleaning the coils, can help your AC unit run more efficiently and prevent costly breakdowns. We recommend getting your air conditioner serviced at least once a year to ensure it operates effectively once the temperatures rise again. 

Quality Air Conditioning Units with GLP 

Whether you’re in the market for a new, energy-efficient AC unit or looking to optimise the performance of your current system, our team can provide the guidance and support you need to keep your energy bills in check. Contact us today to learn more about our air conditioning services, from professional installs to routine repairs and inspections. At GLP, we’re dedicated to helping our customers stay cool and comfortable all summer without worrying about skyrocketing operating costs.

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