Your Air Conditioner Costs You $500+ A Year

Your Air Conditioner Costs You $500+ A Year

As the summer heat continues, many of us turn to air conditioning, but that’s an expensive decision. According to consumer advocate CHOICE, a large air conditioning system will add $530 a year to your power bill, while a ceiling fan will cost $30 a year to run.

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That $530 figure relates to a large air conditioner; a smaller single room unit will still cost around $290, CHOICE estimates. While the figures will vary depending on your electricity contract, that number should be enough to give you pause and consider whether firing up the air conditioning is really the best idea.

If you are using an air conditioner, set the temperature carefully. CHOICE calculates that increasing the temperature by one degree can save you 15 per cent on running costs. CHOICE recommends a setting of between 24 and 26 degrees, rather than the lower 21.5 degrees often found in offices.

For more cooling options, check out our guide to DIY air conditioning alternatives and our full heatwave-busting guide.



  • It also heavily depends on temperature…..several days 40+ in a heatwave and the ceiling fan won’t do much. Same applies in extremely humid weather.

    However, if the outside temperature is ~35, its generally better to close all the blinds and shut the windows before the sun heats everything up and just keep the fan on.

  • Comparing an air conditioner to a ceiling fan is pointless. A ceiling fan is simply going to move more hot air around. Air movement itself isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not going to affect the temperature.

    • Agreed. I don’t even understand why the comparison was made.

      I know a lot of people are struggling and every dollar counts, but $500 annually isn’t a hell of a lot. It’s less than $10 a week. Stop buying other garbage and live in a little comfort.

      • i guess the comparison was made because when it is hot and your sweatier than a pig on heat, a ceiling fan will cool you down if your in the path of the moving air, due to sweat being out bodies cooling mechanism. but maybe they need to be more specific in their comparison article.

      • At 25c/KHW though, for a 7KW aircon (a fairly big one) you’re spending a maximum of $1.75 an hour.

        Considering I’ll have mine on when the temperature is below 12C or above 30C and I honestly think it’s running maybe 3-5 weeks of the year if I’m lucky.

        For 3 hours it’ll be on in a day then that translates to $183 assuming MAXIMUM POWER USAGE (if your home’s efficiently sealed it’ll even hit the desired temperature and use EVEN LESS power). Big freaking whoop.

  • I don’t have a ceiling fan, I have an air conditioner and a massive north facing window. What options do I have in keeping my place cool? Air con and that’s it. The landlord couldn’t care less about this place, hell he wont even fix up the leaky garage that actually doing damage to his property, let alone install a new ceiling fan to move around superheated air.

      • Evaporative systems tend to pump more moisture into the air. We tried it for awhile and between the high noise levels and the clamminess in the air we decided to ditch it..!

        • We have a 2 year old ducted evaporative system, and it is much quieter than refrigerative systems. It doesn’t seem to add moisture to the air, and by contrast evaporative systems can make the air unpleasantly dry.

          The temperature in Adelaide today reached 45C, and inside was around 26 so we were quite comfortable. The system was running at less than 1/2 capacity, so we could have turned it up if we wanted to be cooler . Also, running costs are cheap.

  • We have 1.5Kw solar panels on the roof, and we only use the A/C when the temperature becomes intolerable. Power cost problem solved… at least until Ergon decides to massively Gold plate our local infrastructure anyway.

  • Hmmm. Comments are a bit of a mixture here.

    I live in a pretty dry spot – so evaporative cooling would work much of the time. That said, we’re reliant on wall mounted ‘inverter’ A/C.

    As suggested, we now run our units at a higher temperature (24°C) in an effort to reduce our costs. It is noticeably warmer – still comfortable though. I’ll be interested to see the impact on our bills and, of course, biggish recent increases in cost per KWH will make this more complicated to confirm.

    If we had higher ceilings, I’d be keen to combine A/C with ceiling fans. I’d expect to use the A/C less and the fans would probably help to distribute the ‘coolth’ more evenly.

  • Seriously $500 a year doesn’t actually seem like that much. If you can afford the air conditioning unit in the first place, I’d say you can comfortably afford to run it.

  • If you live in QLD, a ceiling aircon will do nothing in summer when the humidity hits 90-100% and you’re baking in hot moisture.

    My solar panels basically pay for the airconditioner.

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