How Many Watts Does an Air Conditioner Use?

May 16, 2021
AC Watt Usage in Boling, Texas

The summertime heat in Wharton, TX, is intense. Air conditioning will likely account for up to 40% of your summertime electricity bills. As the weather gets hotter, your air conditioner will have to work harder to keep your home comfortable. It’s important to know how many watts of power your air conditioner uses. The total watt usage of your air conditioner has a big impact on your electricity bill, and it can also tell you if something’s gone awry with your cooling system.

What Is a Watt?

A watt is a unit of electrical power. It is one joule per second. The watt is used as a measure of energy transfer. Your electricity bill likely shows how many kilowatt-hours of power you used during the billing cycle. A kilowatt is 1,000 watts. The watt was named after James Watt, who was a Scottish inventor.

Window Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners are designed to be installed in a window during the cooling season. The humidity drains to the outdoors. In the winter, these units are removed from the window. A window air conditioner may be used in a bedroom in a home without central air conditioning. They can also be used to cool small spaces without ducts, such as a finished attic or a garage workshop. Window air conditioners use between 500 and 1,400 watts per hour of electricity.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners have the highest watt usage per ton of cooling capacity for all types of air conditioners. They use between 2,900 and 4,100 watts per hour of electricity. Their watt usage is high because of their compressor. These air conditioners can be placed anywhere in a home, but they do require a hose for draining the condensate. This may make their placement tricky, especially if there aren’t any convenient drains in the room.

Ductless and Mini-split Air Conditioners

Ductless and mini-split air conditioners cool a whole home, but they don’t require any ductwork. These systems are designed to accommodate zoned cooling. This means that one, a few, or all of a home’s zones can be cooled at once. Each zone can also be set at a different temperature. For example, you might set the primary bedroom to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night, but you might set the secondary bedrooms to 72 degrees and turn off the cooling for the living areas of the home. A ductless or mini-split air conditioning system uses about 500 to 700 watts of power per zone. They can have up to four zones. If all zones are set to cool, the system will use about 2,000 watts per hour.

Central Air Conditioning Systems

Central air conditioning systems with a 3.5-ton capacity use an average of 3,500 watts per hour when they’re in the cooling mode. If your central air conditioner has a different capacity, it will use about 1,000 watts per ton per hour.

On your thermostat, you’ll see a fan-only option for your central air conditioner. This allows the air handler’s fan to circulate the air that’s in your home. Many people switch their cooling systems to this setting overnight. The air will pass through the filter, which maintains ideal indoor air quality. However, no heat or humidity will be removed from your home while the air conditioner is on this setting. The fan-only setting of a central air conditioner uses about 750 watts per hour. In comparison, a 36-inch ceiling fan uses about 75 watts per hour.

How to Track Your Air Conditioner’s Watt Usage

There are a few ways you can track your air conditioner’s watt usage. If you have a smart thermostat, it will give you electricity use reports in real-time. You can monitor the system’s energy use. These thermostats also have algorithms that optimize the timing of each cooling cycle in order to reduce energy consumption. Your air conditioner’s owner’s manual will also state its average watt usage.

Hunter's Air & Heat, Inc. is Wharton’s trusted air conditioning installation company. We also offer heating installation and heating and air conditioning maintenance and repair. You’ll also benefit from our duct cleaning, duct sealing, indoor air quality, sheet metal fabrication, and attic insulation services. If you’re a business owner in the Wharton area, count on our commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services. For more details about the watt usage of air conditioners, reach out to us at Hunter's Air & Heat, Inc. any time.

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