Air conditioning is the main culprit for high electricity bills during the summer months, but it doesn’t have to be. You may have wondered, “How much does air conditioning cost per month?” and how to calculate what your payments will be. In this article, you’ll learn the basic method to calculate the cost of air conditioning and some of the best ways to save money on your air conditioning over the hot summer months.

Calculating Your Air Conditioning Costs

How much does your air conditioning cost per month? You may find it varies slightly, even during the summer months. This is because a number of factors contribute to fluctuating electricity costs, including the outside temperature, and humidity. To begin learning how to calculate the cost of your air conditioning, it is important to understand a few things about how AC units operate.

Air conditioning units are usually measured by tons. A 3-ton AC unit is pretty standard, but there are other sizes as well. The size of the AC unit determines how much energy the unit can produce. The unit produces energy as amps, which are multiplied by the voltage of the outlet used for your AC unit.

The resulting measurement is known as a Watt, and 1,000 Watts equals 1 Kilowatt. Kilowatts are measured by the hour (known as a Kilowatt-hour or kWh). The number of Kilowatt-hours you use is calculated against the cost of electricity based on where you live in the country, and your electricity bill is determined by multiplying the two.

This sounds complex, but let’s break it down step-by-step in an example:

  1. Let’s pretend you have a 3-ton AC unit, which produces 18 amps of energy —2-ton units produce 15 amps, and 4-ton units produce 21 amps. You can check which type of AC unit you have by looking on the side of the unit itself, or by googling your unit.
  2. Your AC unit is plugged into a 240-volt outlet, which is the most commonly used for outdoor AC units. If you are calculating an indoor unit use 110 volts.
  3. Multiply your amps x voltage to get your Watts: 18 amps x 240 volts = 4,320 Watts.
  4. Divide your Watts by 1,000 to get your Kilowatt usage: 4,320 Watts / 1,000 = 4.32 Kilowatt-hours (kWh).
  5. Figure out the price per kWh for your region. You can either look at your energy bill or use this table of average electricity prices to get a general range for your state.
  6. For this example let’s pretend we’re in Ohio, where the average cost per kWh is 12.66 cents per kWh. We will multiply our kWh x cost: 4.32 kWh x 12.66 cents = 54.69 cents per hour.
  7. If we want to know daily cost we will multiply 54.69 cents x 24 hours = $13.13 per day to operate your air conditioning.
  8. $13.13 per day x 30 days = $393.90 per month.

While this ending result seems like an incredible amount of money, remember that most people are not running their air conditioning 24-hours a day. The cost per month can also vary as outdoor temperatures or humidity rise, and your AC unit has to work harder to keep up.

The Best Ways to Save Money on Your Air Conditioning

It’s no wonder Americans want to save money on air conditioning; air conditioning is the single highest electricity expense for Americans. The good news is that there are many energy-saving tips for air conditioning, that will still keep your home from being too hot for comfort. Here’s how to save money on air conditioning this summer.

Thermostat Placement

The location of your thermostat can have a greater impact on energy savings than you may think. If the thermostat is on an exterior wall that gets a lot of direct sunlight, it will turn on more frequently and not read the interior temperature correctly. Thermostats should be on interior walls in an area of the home that is a good indicator of home temperature.

Keep Your Home Shaded

Blinds, curtains, shades, whatever you have in your home, pull them closed during the day to keep out unwanted heat. Lighter colors work best because they reflect more light.

Plant Trees

Keeping direct sunlight off your home, in general, helps reduce cooling costs. Plant trees in locations that will reduce the most direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. Yes, trees take time to grow, so it’s not an immediate solution, but it will beautify your home and cool it at the same time.

Turn Up the Heat

You shouldn’t actually turn on the heat in your home, but you should move your thermostat up. 78 degrees is recommended for internal temperatures during summer months. The house doesn’t need to be freezing, just cool compared to the outside temperature.

Turn Down the Heat

Leave baking, cooking, dishwashing, and drying until the sun goes down and temperatures outside are lower. Your AC has to work harder to keep up if you do these things during the hottest time of the day.

Use A Fan

Fans can be used on their own or in conjunction with turning down your AC. They won’t actually make your house cooler but will make higher temperatures feel cooler by circulating the air throughout your home. Plus, they cost next to nothing on your electricity bill.


Changing your filter once a month in the summer can make your system 5-15% more efficient. Also, check your outside unit and make sure it is clear of dirt and leaves and that any bushes or trees are at least two feet away.

Now that you know the best ways to save money on air conditioning, you can cut your costs and have some extra room in your budget. If you’re looking for more energy saving tips, Kiwi Energy has suggestions that can help. We are committed to providing our customers with eco-friendly energy options. Learn about our energy plans and sign up for Kiwi Energy today.