Why Does Air Conditioning Require So Much Power?

During hot summers, we can barely survive without the help of air conditioning. Even with the climate crisis, people are more dependent on in-house units. The problem is that air conditioning power consumption can be high at peak times — significantly more than most appliances in average households. 

The more we use it, the higher the electric bill is at the end of the month. But why do air conditioners require and consume so much power anyway? Let’s break it down.

How does an air conditioner work?

To understand how an air conditioner (A/C) unit works and why it requires a lot of power, we need to look at how it cools the air. The working principle is quite simple:

  1. The A/C unit pulls in the warm air from the room using a fan.
  2. The air then passes over a set of coils filled with a refrigerant — typically Freon.
  3. As the air passes over the coils, the refrigerant inside them evaporates and absorbs the heat from the air. This process makes the coils very cold.
  4. The now-cooled air is then blown back into the room by another fan.
  5. The refrigerant is then compressed and circulated back to the coils to start the cooling process again.

Air conditioning has to take hot air, cool it down, and push it back into your home. The system has a more elaborate process that puts components such as a compressor, indoor fan, and condenser fan to use. With so much going on in this system, it’s no wonder that air conditioning consumes a lot of energy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household spends about $2,200 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling costs.

If the temperature difference between outdoor air and indoor air is more significant, your air conditioner must work harder, which means it requires more energy. This could worsen if you did not buy the right air conditioner for your home or don’t regularly maintain your unit.

Tips for a Lower Energy Bill

Even though air conditioning is power-consuming by default, there are still many things you can do to save money on your monthly electric bill, such as:

  • Opt for split air conditioning over central air conditioning because it’s less complex, so it consumes less power.
  • Look for an energy-efficient air conditioner, which usually bears an Energy Star label and has at least a 13 on the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) scale.
  • Buy the right-sized air conditioner. Ask a professional engineer if you are not sure how to calculate it.
  • Set your thermostat a little bit higher than you usually prefer temperature-wise. This could cut power consumption by about 10%.
  • Ensure your home is well-insulated to avoid leaks and overworking your air conditioner.
  • Close and cover any windows or glass walls to keep the sun out.
  • Keep your air conditioner, especially your air filter, clean. Dirt can block the air vents, which forces the system to work harder.
  • Schedule regular maintenance to keep your air conditioner running at its best. It is also good to find problems earlier so you can fix them before they get worse.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate the indoor air. It can also help keep the room cooler, so you can set your thermostat up to 4 degrees higher without reducing your comfort.
  • Do not place appliances near the thermostat because its sensor detects the heat they give off.
  • Avoid turning your air conditioner off and on too often because the compressor uses the most energy when it kicks in.
  • When nobody is home, set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Then, turn it back to your desired temperature once you are home. You might need to wait a few minutes before your room is perfectly cooled, but this trick could save you a lot of money.

Many people are too lazy to be more considerate about their air conditioner, which leaves them with rising electric bills before they even realize it. Little do they know, if they only put in a little effort, they could save tons of money every summer.



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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