It’s hard to put a price on happiness, but you can start with comfort. You know how warm and wet it gets in Indiana during the summer. It can be great after a cold winter, until you notice the sweat stains around your armpits.
You can try to tough it out to keep your electric bill down, but there’s nothing like being comfortable in your own home. An AC will not cause a spike in your energy consumption if you choose right. Here’s what you need to calculate the costs of comfort.
Type of AC
Choose a central or room AC. Generally, you can control costs better with a room AC because you only cool the room you need at any time and leave the windows open everywhere else. A good rule to follow is to turn on the unit an hour or so before you need it.
It will be easier to cool an empty room, so this is especially smart if you’re having guests over. It’s also a good idea to have blinds or heavy curtains to keep the sun out.
Size of the area
Before buying a unit, measure the area you intend to use it in, to find out the cooling capacity you need. The cooling capacity is in British thermal units or BTUs. For up to 300 square feet, you need an AC rated between 5,000 and 7,000 BTU. For an area between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet, you need at least an AC rated for 30,000 BTU.
Your energy bill is in kilowatts or kW. An AC with a rating of 5 amperes gives you 550 watts, or 0.55 kW. Check your electric bill to find out how much the power company bills you per kW (normally about 10.53 cents in Indiana) and you can calculate how much your AC is costing you per hour. In this case, your AC is costing you less than 6 cents an hour.
Note that the price of the unit may change depending on its components. For instance, Legacy Heating & Air says the price of the R-22 refrigerant will go up until it’s phased out in 2020.
Air conditioning doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Make the right choices, so you can have your comfort and savings, too.