Busting the MYTH about Air Conditioning Costs a Lot to Run

We direct a lot of our energies to writing blog posts about the savings from a heat pump. Today we shift gears a bit to discuss air conditioning and the costs associated with it.

Just as many home owners in HRM purchase these machines for the air conditioning benefit as they do for the home heating savings. However we still hear this comment from home owners about air conditioning “It’ll cost us a mint to run it in air conditioning mode so we’ll only use it for heating in the winter“.

This is not the case. Some heat pumps will run for under a dollar a day to keep your home cool and dehumidified. The amount a heat pump costs to run in AC mode comes down to a few things:

  1. The size of heat pump you have (or will have)
  2. The amount of time you have it on during the day
  3. The temperature and humidity during a given day.

The Size of the Heat Pump

A 15,000 BTU heat pump takes more electricity to run than a 12,000 BTU heat pump. This is a universal truth for all makes and models. Of course, if you have a larger heat pump than this is hopefully because you have more square feet to keep warm or cool.

When measuring how much air conditioning costs for a summer it’s important that you compare apples to apples. So if a 15,000 or 18,000 BTU heat pump costs $1.25 or $1.50 on average to run, you have to compare that to what window or portable air conditioners would cost to run in the same space.

In most cases a portable air conditioner that will cover 200-300 square feet will cost the same to run as a 12,000 BTU heat pump that will cool at least twice the area.

Time the Heat Pump is Running

A heat pump in air conditioning mode, pending it is sized properly, will not need to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep your home comfortable. In fact some people turn them on only in the evenings after work to make their living space more comfortable.

I would estimate that the average running time per day of a heat pump in HRM in the summer is probably 12 hours. If you run it for more than that of course it will cost slightly more, and vice versa if you have it on for less.

Outdoor Temperature and Humidity

In the winter time, a heat pump works harder to heat your home when it’s -25° outside than when it’s -8°. THe The same is true of air conditioning. Your heat pump will work harder and take longer to cool your home when it’s +25°C and 98% humidity.

On these days your heat pump will work harder and cost a bit more to run. However it’s soooo worth it when you can crawl into bed at night and everything isn’t sticky and damp.

What does Air Conditioning Cost?

Comfort is the key word when we’re discussing air conditioning and dehumidification.

The truth is you might spend $25-$45 a month extra on your electric bill during July and August to run your machine, but your comfort level will be elevated! This is less than what you’d spend to cover the same square footage with window or portable air conditioning systems.

It’s a myth that you’ll spend hundreds of dollars using your heat pump in AC mode. So why not be comfortable? Turn that air conditioning on, get rid of the humidity and sleep comfortably. You can rest well knowing you’re doing it for the lowest operating cost possible.


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