How Many Watts Does an Air Conditioner Use? | IT Landes Home Service
AC Watt Usage in Harleysville, Pennsylvania

Summertime in Harleysville, PA, features hot and humid weather. You’ll need an effective air conditioner to keep your home cool and comfortable. Air conditioners use electricity to transfer heat out of your home. It’s important to know how many watts of power they use because this number will have a big impact on your electricity bill and your home’s carbon footprint. Read on to learn more about the average watt usage for different types of air conditioners, how to track watt usage and some reasons why your cooling system might suddenly start using more electricity to cool your home.

What Is a Watt?

A watt is defined as one joule per second. It’s a rate of power transfer. On your electricity bill, you’ll likely see that your billing amount is for kilowatts per hour. Air conditioners use electricity to transfer heat out of your home. When heat is transferred out of your home, humidity condenses out of the cooled air. In general, the higher the cooling capacity of the air conditioner, the more watts of power it uses.

Window Air Conditioners

A window air conditioner is designed to cool a relatively small space. Many people use them to cool their bedrooms at night. If you only need to cool one room in your home, a window air conditioner is an affordable solution. People also use them to cool spaces where there aren’t any ducts. For example, if you’ve recently finished your attic and turned it into a home office, you may want a window air conditioner to make the space more comfortable in the summertime. A small window air conditioner that cools up to 400-square feet of space uses 500 watts per hour. Large window air conditioners that cool up to 1,000-square feet of space use about 1,400 watts per hour.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners can cool an entire level of your home. They can be moved from one level or room to another. However, they do need a hose to drain the condensate. Even though portable air conditioners don’t require ducts, they tend to use more electricity than a central air conditioning system. Portable air conditioning units use 2,900 to 4,100 watts per hour.

Mini-Split and Ductless Air Conditioning Systems

Mini-split air conditioners are also called zoned cooling systems. They include one outdoor unit and up to four indoor units. Each indoor unit cools one zone. You can use one, two or all of the zones at a time. You can set each zone to a different temperature. Mini-split air conditioners don’t require ducts. They use between 700 and 2,000 watts per hour of power.

A ductless air conditioner also doesn’t require ducts. These systems consist of one indoor unit paired with one outdoor unit. They use an average of 2,000 watts per hour to cool a 2,000 square foot home. Ductless cooling systems are often used in older homes that don’t have air ducts. They can also be used to cool home additions or newly finished spaces, such as an attic, basement or garage.

Central Air Conditioners: Cooling Function

Central air conditioners use 1,000 watts per one ton of cooling capacity. For a 2,000 square foot home with standard-height ceilings, you’ll need about 3.5 tons of cooling power. This capacity of air conditioner will use about 3,500 watts per hour. If your home has tall ceilings, two stories, many large windows, single-pane windows, poor insulation or a lot of direct sunlight exposure, you may need an air conditioner with more capacity. An AC with more capacity will use more watts per hour.

Central Air Conditioners: Fan Only

Central air conditioners also have a fan-only setting. When you put the thermostat on this setting, the air conditioner won’t run any cooling cycles. However, it will keep the air handler’s fan running. The air handler’s fan will circulate the air in your home. All of the air will pass through the air conditioner’s filter. This will improve your home’s air quality, but it won’t affect the temperature or humidity level in your home. Some people like to put their air conditioners on this setting during the nighttime. When the central air conditioner is on the fan-only setting, it will use about 750 watts per hour no matter what its cooling capacity is. In comparison, a 42-inch ceiling fan uses about 800 watts per hour of electricity.

Why Watt Usage Matters

Watt usage matters because your electricity company bills you for the number of kilowatts per hour of electricity you use. If your air conditioner starts using more watts, your electricity bill will go up. If you’re concerned about the size of your home’s carbon footprint, this is another reason why watt usage matters. Homes that use solar power and battery storage may also require careful monitoring of the watt usage of an air conditioner.

How to Track the Watt Usage of Your Air Conditioner

There are a couple of ways to keep track of your air conditioner’s watt usage. If you have a smart electrical meter, you can track the numbers during a cooling cycle. This will show you how many watts the system uses per minute. You can also use a smart thermostat and download its corresponding app. The app provides you with a detailed analysis of the air conditioner’s electricity usage, cooling cycles, efficiency, system errors and more. You can also compare your electricity bills. For example, look at your electric bill from the same month last year, and compare it to the same month of this year. If the average temperatures of each month are similar, but your electricity bill is a lot higher this year, it could be due to an electrical rate increase or a loss of efficiency in your cooling system.

What Causes Air Conditioners to Increase Their Watt Usage?

If your summertime electricity bill suddenly increases, your air conditioner is a likely cause. You may also get a report from your smart thermostat that the watt usage of your air conditioner increased. If this happens, there are a few reasons why.

Skipping your ductless, mini-split or central air conditioning system’s annual maintenance causes the system to lose efficiency, and this will increase its watt usage. If the air conditioner is short-cycling, this will lead to higher watt usage. The increased watt usage is due to the heavy electrical consumption of the startup of each new cooling cycle. Increased watt usage may also occur when the system’s air filter is dirty. Check and replace the air conditioner’s filter once a month.

You can count on our skilled technicians at IT Landes Home Service Team to provide you with reliable air conditioning maintenance in Harleysville. We’re also available for heating maintenance as well as heating and air conditioning repair and installation services. Our fuel oil, indoor air quality, plumbing and comfort agreements keep your home running smoothly and efficiently all year long. If you’re a business owner in or near Harleysville, we’re available to assist you with commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning services. For more details about the watt usage of different types of air conditioning systems, reach out to us at IT Landes Home Service Team any time.

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