What Does it Cost to Run a Room Air Conditioner?

Side of a brick building with a window AC unit installed in a window

In times of financial budgeting, home owners frequently look around at their household appliances and wonder what could be used less: the washing machine, the food processor, the room air conditioner? The costs of running and maintaining these devices are sometimes paid for by the convenience of having them – you would not dispose of a refrigerator, though they can often cost 19 cents a day, or a coffee maker, which can cost 10-16 cents per brew. A consumer should decide if the benefits outweigh the cost of running an appliance such as an Air Conditioner.

Average Costs

The average energy costs of a room air conditioner depend very much upon the room type, and the amount of usage that the AC unit gets during the summer.

In summer, a central air conditioner averages 6 cents an hour: or $1.66 dollars a day. Depending on how consistently you run it, monthly estimates range from $20-$40. Estimates place the total yearly cost at around $140. An evaporative ‘swamp cooler’ costs around 3-5 cents an hour, making $1.40 for as much as 40 hours of use during the summer.

These costs do not include the original price of the room air conditioner unit, which may cost as much as $600 pounds to cool 400 square feet – and of course the larger the room, the more it will cost to effectively cool.