AC power consumption vs temperature – what to know

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While the use of an AC unit helps us remain cool and sane during the blazing hot summer days, we are all worried that a high electricity bill could be on the way.

One way you could still enjoy cooling without experiencing a frightening rise in energy consumption is running your system at the right temperature.

This guide takes you through an in-depth AC power consumption vs temperature analysis to help you understand the correlation.

Use the tips you gain here to make some savings on your energy bills.


AC power consumption vs temperature – understanding the relationship

Before we get too deep into this ac power consumption vs temperature analysis, it’s important to understand the connection between the power your air conditioning system draws and the prevailing temperature.

Now, what you must know is that your air conditioner is likely to use more electricity when it’s overworking.

But why does your home AC work too hard sometimes and what precisely brings this surge in energy usage?

You’ll get the answer next.


Circumstances under which your air conditioning system works too hard (contributing to high power bills)

Well, and this is something you could be aware of, those steaming hot days are bad for your energy budget.

That’s because the hotter the outside is, the more the effort your air con must put to cool the inside air.

This relationship is derived from the fact that the air-conditioning cycle- it involves the system circulating a refrigerant to absorb heat from indoors and moving it outdoors- requires the outside temperature to be less than the heat coming from the unit.

Thus, the absence of this condition causes the unit to overwork since it is working against a much larger temperature gradient.

Cooler outsides are good for your monthly air conditioning bills

Of course, the converse of the above is also true- air cons are pretty relaxed and are quicker to cool your space when outside temperatures drop since there is less temp difference to overcome.

The easier burden on your AC system may cut up a significant percentage off your AC electricity costs especially if there’s a prolonged period of less heat where you live.


How is the temperature you set on your air con important?

While you’re pretty helpless when it comes to controlling the many spikes and drops in temperature- a lot of factors are at play here- turning the thermostat temperature setting up/down can harm or save your wallet.

I want to explain how this simple action brings such a huge impact on our total energy expenditure.

You see, by ramping up the temperature of your air con’s thermostat up or down, you will have either made the run-cycle (the time the AC runs to cool) longer or shorter depending on the present temperature in your space.

This is the point where some of us lose it.

Keep reading to learn if you’re making this mistake.

There’s a price to pay for lower thermostat settings

I have noted that a good number of owners have this mistaken idea that specifying a lower temp setting on the thermostat will help the room to cool down faster.

Friend, this is far from the truth- changing the set point a few degrees doesn’t bring much difference in the length of time it takes to cool under normal circumstances (a topic for another day).

More concerning is the fact that the compressor draws increased energy at lower temps on account of the elongated runtime (for the reason that there’s more temperature difference to tackle).

There are other dynamics touching on the whole system making your air con power-hungry (I will cover this in an upcoming article).

There are two sides to every coin and increasing the thermostat setting leads to reduced energy draw seeing that the compressor won’t run that long.

But there’s a catch- you want maximum comfort along with utmost energy efficiency so you can’t just pick any higher temperature setpoint.

In other words, you should strive to have your air conditioner run at energy efficient temperature for the best air conditioning efficiency at all times.

Which brings me to a key question: What is the ideal AC temperature setting to keep you feeling good and save you money?

We address this in our second last section.

Which temperature is best for AC?

The question is at what temperature does AC consume less power while doing the job?

Admittedly, it’s difficult to give an accurate temperature setting to put in the thermostat for each region as we know that there are different climates in our land.

But a good rule of the thumb is 78°F (26°C) for those sweltering summer days and anything between 64°F to 68°F (18 to 20°C) for heating during the long winter days.

These recommendations have been variously made by experts, the Department of Energy, and even Energy Star.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what temperature setting you feel most comfortable at.

The good news is that you now have a clue about where to start.

Don’t overlook other things – they could be to blame for your hiked energy bills

Keep in mind that there are tons of factors that typically influence energy consumption by your AC unit.

This means that you may not realize meaningful savings if you neglect the other variables even if you’ve got the optimum temperature set.

In general, its star rating, square footage being covered, number of occupants, and even the amount of insulation existing in the building matters.

Here is what you can change plus extra useful tips to help you further cut down on your electricity bills…


How to save electricity with air conditioner

  • One of the easiest things to work on is the insulation- improving the insulation to better keep the heat/cold out. That way, you’ll be fine with reduced air conditioning and could lower your costs.
  • Be biased towards air conditioners with the best energy star ratings (This can be useful for those considering buying a new, more energy-efficient unit).
  • Besides, split system air cons tend to be more economical than ducted systems as far as power consumption is concerned.
  • Regularly maintain the AC to keep it cooling fast.
  • A lot of energy is required to power up AC units and less often start-ups can be beneficial. This could obviously mean leaving it on for longer leading to massive temperature swings or such otherwise detrimental steps.


Wrap up

We hope that this AC power consumption vs temperature analysis has shed some light on the correlation between these two variables.

The most important take away is running your AC at the right temperature if you’re serious about saving your wallet.

Don’t forget to implement the rest of the tips to maximize your savings.



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