Some people are hesitant to operate their air conditioning in Florida as often as desired, assuming the frequent cooling of indoor air will prove expensive. Though there is the potential for air conditioning bills to cost a pretty penny, it is money well-spent. After all, you cannot put a price on comfort. However, it is interesting to delve deep into the cost of AC operation to determine its true cost, especially in a hot and humid state such as Florida. Let’s take a closer look at the actual cost of air conditioning in Florida.
The True Price of Summer Comfort
The total cost of air conditioning in Florida depends on several factors ranging from your preferred temperature setting to the type of air conditioning system and even your city’s special electric rates. Furthermore, the air conditioning system’s energy efficiency also plays a role in determining its operational cost. Operating an air conditioner will inevitably spike your power bill.
Electric utility providers charge customers for power by kWh, meaning kilowatt-hour. The average kWh price is 13.2 cents. However, there are energy efficient air conditioning systems available that cost a considerable amount of money upfront yet reduce the monthly electric bills by a considerable margin. Additional variables include the weather and the frequency at which the AC runs based on the thermostat setting.
The Cost of Central Air
The cost to operate central air conditioning in Florida varies by the number of watts it consumes, the frequency of operation, and the specific rate the electricity provider charges per kWh. The average central air conditioning system uses around 3,500 watts. Let’s assume the system is in operation for eight hours each day at a rate of 13.2 cents. This means the air conditioning is likely to cost between $3.50 and $4 to run on a daily basis. Extrapolate this figure out across the entirety of a month and the cost of air conditioning operation reaches $120. However, if your home is particularly large or if you like the air to be comparably cool in your living space, you are likely to spend upwards of $200 per month for air conditioning.
What About the Cost of Operating a Window Air Conditioning Unit?
Florida homeowners often question whether it is more financially prudent to rely on one or several window air conditioner units rather than central air conditioning. It is cheaper to buy and install several window units yet these units are ugly and make it rather easy for burglars to enter the home. Let’s assume you run a window air conditioner for upwards of eight hours each day with a kWh cost of around 13 cents. Such a window unit will cost much more than most people assume simply because these units are energy hogs. Window AC units often top out around 1,440 watts. Operating a high-powered window AC unit will likely cost around $1.50 per day, equating to nearly $46 per month. However, a larger or more powerful window unit will likely cost upwards of $65 or more per month. A huge window unit will cost about $100 per month.
Add in the fact that a single-window AC unit likely will not suffice to cool the entirety of your home and it is easy to see why most of those looking for air conditioning in Florida opt for central air conditioning rather than window units. There is no sense in creating a security risk with a window unit that covers only a couple hundred square feet of your home unless you live in a tiny house. Though central air conditioning costs comparably more to install, it is more efficient, quieter, does not pose a security risk, and has the potential to cost just as much as several window units monthly.
The Cost of Running AC With a Split System
Installing a ductless mini-split AC system is likely to cost several thousand dollars. However, split systems are more efficient than window AC units and some central air conditioning systems. Split AC systems usually require 900 watts or 9,000 BTUs. If such a system were operated for eight hours daily at the countrywide average of 13.2 cents per kWh, the ductless mini-split system would cost about a dollar per day to operate. Extrapolate this figure across the entirety of a month and it would cost about $30 to cool the home monthly. However, the unique size of your home and your desired temperature ultimately determine the monthly AC cost with a split system or any other system.
Factors That Affect Air Conditioning Cost in Florida
Now you know how much air conditioning costs to run in Florida, depending on the type of HVAC system you prefer. In addition, you should know some other factors that affect air conditioning costs in Florida. Some of these factors are general, no matter which state you are residing and some are peculiar to Florida.
The Size of Your Home
The first factor that an HVAC expert will raise when you go for a consultation is the size of your home. As you may expect, the size of your home determines the size of the air conditioning unit you have to buy. Thus, running air conditioning in a 400-square-foot home will be cheaper than running one in a 2000-square-foot home.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that an average U.S. household spent $1,856 on home energy bills in 2015. This figure has increased gradually over the years and more so for people living in humid regions like Florida.
Another factor you should be aware of is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration (SEER) ratings. If you are still holding onto your old air conditioning unit, you are losing a lot of efficiency. The government legislated a minimum SEER rating of 13.0, but most old units have less than 10.0.
Upgrading your SEER ratings can reduce your air conditioning cost by more than 30%.
The Brand and Type of AC You Choose
There are several brands of air conditioning to choose from, and you may face some dilemmas in choosing one. The choice between the well-known brands and the relatively-unknown ones can be confusing. The former carry higher price tags than the latter but are not always better in functionality.
The same dilemma goes into choosing the type of AC to install in your home. In the previous section, we have explained how much air conditioning costs to run using each major air conditioner. Again, the Central AC is the best but costs more to run than the others.
Repair and Maintenance Costs
When calculating the cost of running air conditioning in Florida, you have to add the costs of maintenance checks and the occasional repairs. Many people can do routine maintenance checks on their air conditioning unit by themselves, but many others cannot.
If you belong to the latter group, you will need to hire air conditioning experts like Erica’s Plumbing, Air Conditioning and Restoration to help you with the task. This will cost you some money, and you may have to spend more if there is something to repair in the system.
How to Reduce the Cost of Running Air Conditioning in Florida
If you are concerned about how much it costs to run your air conditioning in Florida and you are looking for ways to reduce the cost, here are some tips that will help you.
Change the Filter Regularly
An air conditioning filter is one of the most important parts of the system. The filter removes the dirt, debris, and other particles from the outside air before it is circulated in the house. Unfortunately, filters often become dirty and clogged, preventing them from working optimally.
If you want to reduce your energy consumption through your air conditioner, you should replace your air filter regularly (about a month). This can reduce your AC’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A smart thermostat will improve your energy efficiency by recognizing your pattern and operating your air conditioner to suit your needs. This means that you can avoid situations such as you forgetting to turn off your AC and having it run throughout the day when you are not at home.
A programmable thermostat will turn the AC off once you get some distance away from your home. You can also operate it remotely if you want the house well-conditioned before you reach home from work.
Tint Your Windows
As a homeowner in Florida, one of the things you must have is well-tinted windows. However, if you cannot buy dark window panes to replace the ones in place, you can opt for dark drapes and curtains to block the outside heat from entering indoors.
Situate Heat-Generating Appliances Away from the AC
If you want your air conditioner to operate optimally, you should keep heat-generating appliances away from the unit. This includes kitchen equipment like the cooker and oven to other household equipment like the washing machine and the iron in the laundry room. Keep the doors to these rooms locked to prevent heat from escaping into the home and neutralize the AC's efforts.
You can also make simple choices like drying clothes on a clothesline instead of a dryer. This will save a lot of energy whether you use electricity or gas. It also means that you can avoid the heat from the machine that would have put extra strain on the AC.
Have Routine Maintenance Checks
One way to ensure that you spend minimally on running air conditioning in Florida is to maintain your AC unit properly. Check the indoor and outdoor units regularly for damage and have a professional twice a year to do a thorough check-up.
This will enable you to detect any fault early and fix it before it becomes a major problem.
Residents of a hot and humid state like Florida deserve to feel comfortable at home and office with the help of their air conditioning systems. However, worries related to rising energy bills usually prevent them from running their air conditioners. The above pointers should give you a good idea of the actual cost of air conditioning in Florida, which will put you in a position to make yourself comfortable more often.
Call Our Air Conditioning Team In Florida To Save Your Money On Time
If you need assistance with air conditioning in Florida, our crew is here to help. Call us at (561) 245-7435 to schedule an appointment. We provide 24/7 service in addition to regularly scheduled service appointments.