When the last leaves finally fall and the temperatures dip below freezing at night, you might start to notice you’re just a little bit chilly even indoors. Would it hurt to turn up the thermostat one… or two… or three degrees? 

Unfortunately, your dad (or husband, or whoever in your house who is the thermostat fanatic) is right: Changing the temperature directly affects your power bill, according to the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy also reports that 48 percent of Americans’ home energy use goes to keeping our homes at a comfortable temperature. 

If you’re the one wondering just how much does an AC unit add to your electric bill, or how much does it really cost to be comfortable in your home, there isn’t an easy answer. However, it’s safe to say that heating and cooling your home justifiably impacts your power bill – a lot.

When it comes to saving on your power bill through operating your HVAC system in the smartest ways possible, there are multiple variables at play. These include where you live and the cost of electricity in your area, the age of your HVAC system and unit, and the measures you take to keep your system running efficiently. 

This article will detail how to calculate the cost of running your HVAC system and tips on cutting costs. 

Calculating the cost

If you want to calculate the actual cost of running your HVAC system so you know how much running your HVAC affects your power bill, you can make a close estimate by doing some calculations. Here’s the simple version to get the cost of running your HVAC system per day: multiply the HVAC unit’s wattage by the time it runs per day and multiply that figure by the cost per kilowatt hours (kWh). 

To break down this calculation, you first need to find out the wattage of your HVAC unit—how many watts your HVAC unit consumes. This information might be on a sticker on the unit itself or in the paperwork that came with the unit when it was installed. You can also Google your HVAC system with all its specifications if you can’t find it anywhere else.

Then, you’ll need to figure out how long your system runs every day. You can estimate running time by tracking the minutes your system runs in one hour and converting this to a 24-hour period to figure out the number of hours it runs in one day. Taking an average of the hour it’s working the hardest and the hour it’s working the least will provide the most accurate base starting point. 

Using these numbers, you can figure out your HVAC unit’s kWh. Next, multiply the wattage by the number of hours your unit runs. Don’t forget to convert the wattage to kilowatts! Finally, you can multiply this number by the price you currently pay for electricity per kWh, which will give you a rough estimate of how much you spend every day to run your HVAC system.

While it is possible for you to calculate the dollar figure using this method, there is plenty of room for error. As stated in the beginning of this article, nearly half of the average American home’s energy bill is devoted to HVAC operation. This is a national average and doesn’t mean this is what your bill should or will look like. But, if you do your calculations and find that you’re spending far more than half your energy bill on HVAC operation, you may want to investigate why this is the case.

Tips for cutting costs

Because the cost of running your AC unit or your heating system is a given, it’s smart to consider ways you can make your HVAC system run more efficiently. Actions ranging from simple tricks to investing in larger projects can help you to cut down on those regular HVAC bills.

First, consider some simple adjustments you can make that will go a long way with your power bill. For example, keep the thermostat temperature set at a comfortable level. For the summer, think around 75 or higher. For the winter, think around 68 or lower. Other ideas include using an energy-efficient space heater, using fans to circulate air (regardless of the season), and taking advantage of energy-saving window curtains. 

If you don’t want to make any sacrifices to your comfort by turning the thermostat up or down to save money, there are other ways to help your HVAC system do its job while keeping costs down. These include checking on the type of insulation you have in your attic, examining your ductwork to make sure it has no leaks, making sure the filters in your system are cleaned or changed regularly, and getting a new smart thermostat that is programmable. You should also have your system tuned up yearly to make sure it is working as efficiently as possible. All these actions can make your system cost less to operate and keep your energy bill reasonable. 

Whether you are satisfied with the state of your current utility bills, or you are desperately seeking ways to lower them, it’s always a good idea to review the many ways your HVAC system could be wasting energy. Why? Because no matter how much energy is wasted, you will still pay for it!

Call us 

Exxel Mechanical serves a 30-mile radius of Winfield, Maryland, serving Westminster, Owings Mills, and Frederick. Our reputation in this area precedes us, as we pride ourselves on placing our customer as our highest priority. 

Our professionals have seen it all and we have plenty of ideas for ways to make sure your heating and cooling systems are working as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. We want you to be comfortable and save as much money as possible.
Call (443) 821-1040 or email bob@exxelmechanical.com