How Much Does It Cost To Run A Mini Split? (Per Month Calculator)

Modern mini splits are considered the most efficient type of air conditioning. We are going to look into how much does it cost to run a mini split per hour for 9,000 BTU, 12,000 BTU, 18,000 BTU, 24,000 BTU, 30,000 BTU, and 36,000 BTU mini splits. Based on that, we will look at how much does it cost to run a mini split per month; basically how much a mini split electricity bill you should expect.

Below you will find two calculators and a chart with summarized calculations. Most people who install a mini split see a significant drop in cooling costs. A mini split can cost anywhere from below $12 to above $500 (in extreme cases) to run per month. A great majority of mini splits cost less than $100/month to run. How much exactly? We are going to help you calculate just that.

In order to calculate how much does it cost to run a mini split per hour, day, week, or month, we will use 3 metrics. These are:

  1. How many watts does a mini split use? Mini split average wattage depends on two factors; size of mini split (BTUs or tons) and SEER rating. If we know what size mini split we have and its SEER rating, we can calculate how many watts on average does a mini split use (we will show you how to do that). Example: A 12,000 BTU mini split with a 16SEER rating will, on average, run on 750 watts. It will consume 0.75 kWh every hour.
  2. Price of electricity. How much does a kWh costs in your area? Throughout this article, we will use the US national average price of $0.132 per kWh (kilowatt-hour). Of course, your electricity price per kWh will be different; it could be as low as $0.08/kWh or as high as $0.30/kWh.
  3. How much do you use your mini split? In summer months (June, July, August), we run a mini split for about 8 hours per day (on average). Your monthly mini split electricity bill will be lower if you use the mini split less, or higher if you use it a bit more.

Quick example of mini split power usage and running cost: Let’s say we have a 24,000 BTU mini split with a 20 SEER rating. On average, it will run on 1,200W. That means it will consume 1.2 kWh every hour. At $0.132/kWh electricity cost, such a 24,000 BTU mini split will have a running cost of:

  • $0.16 per hour.
  • $1.27 per day if you run it for 8 hours. Or $3.80 per day if you run it 24 hours non-stop.
  • $8.87 per week if you run it for 8 hours. Or $26.61 per week if you run it 24 hours non-stop.
  • $38.02 per month if you run it for 8 hours. Or $114.05 per week if you run it 24 hours non-stop.

You probably don’t have a 20 SEER 24,000 BTU mini split. That’s why we will explain how you can adequately calculate the running cost of your mini split per hour and per month. Don’t worry, it’s quite easy and we will go step-by-step. Note: If you don’t find you answer, you can always use the comment section below, describe your situation, and we’ll help you out.

To help everybody out, we have also designed two ‘Mini Split Running Cost Calculators’:

  • 1st calculator will tell you how much does your mini split cost to run per hour.
  • 2nd calculator will tell you how much does your mini split cost to run per month.

We will also summarize all the running costs for mini splits ranging from 9,000 BTU to 36,000 BTU and with SEER rating ranging from 14 SEER to 25 SEER in a big chart at the end of the article. You can quite easily read how much does it cost to run a mini split per month from that chart.

power consumption of mini split and monthly electricity cost
The most power-hungry part of a mini split is the compressor (located in the outdoor unit). Both blower fans also take more than 40W each to run.

Let’s first show how to calculate the mini split electricity bill manually. It’s quite useful to understand how to do that, and afterward, you can use the 2 calculators that do all this process manually:

How To Calculate Mini Split Electricity Usage And Running Cost

Alright, we need to use 3 factors mentioned earlier – wattage, electricity price, usage hours – to calculate how much does it cost to run a mini split. Here is a rather simple mini split running cost formula we will use:

Mini Split Running Cost = Average Wattage × Electricity Price × Usage Hours / 1000

It’s quite simple to use. As an example, let’s calculate how much does it cost to run a 12,000 BTU 16 SEER mini split per month. Let’s presume that the electricity price is $0.132/kWh and we use it for 8 hours per day (that would yield a total of 30×8 hours = 240 usage hours per month). That 1000 factor is just to convert watts into kilowatts (since electricity prices are given per kWh, not Wh).

Now, the key metric – the factor that most people struggle with – is how many watts does a mini split use. We can determine the average wattage of a mini split based on size and SEER rating using this equation:

Average Wattage = Size Of Mini Split (In BTUs) / SEER rating

In our case, we this formula looks like this:

Average Wattage (16 SEER 12,000 BTU Mini Split) = 12,000 BTUs / 17 = 750 Watts

In short, our mini split will run on 750 watts on average. Obviously, it will sometimes run on 1,000 watts and other times on 500 watts, but the average wattage (based on SEER rating) is 750 watts.

Now, we have all 3 factors and can simply use the mini split running cost equation to calculate the 16 SEER 12,000 BTU mini split running cost per month by just plugging the number in like this:

Mini Split Running Cost = 750W × $0.132 kWh × 240h / 1000 = $38.02 Per Month

As you can see, running a 12,000 BTU 16 SEER mini split 8 hours per day at $0.132/kWh electricity price will cost $38.02 per month.

You can use this calculation with pretty much any mini split; just insert your BTUs, price of electricity, SEER rating, and usage hours, and you will be able to estimate quite precisely how much does it cost to run a mini split.

As promised, to help you out, we have prepared 2 calculators that do all of this math automatically. You just insert the variables, and the 1st calculator will tell you how much does a running hour cost and the 2nd will tell you how much will running a mini split add to your electricity bill. After both of these calculators, we have summarized running costs of 9,000 BTU to 36,000 BTU and 14 SEER to 25 SEER mini splits in a big chart:

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Mini Split Per Hour? (1st Calculator)

Just insert your mini split specs and the calculator will calculate the running cost of your mini split per hour (you can also play around with the numbers to see how the running cost changes):

 

Here is how to use this per hour calculator:

Let say you have a big 36,000 BTU 19 SEER mini split and want to know how much it will cost to run it per hour if the price of electricity is $0.15/kWh. Use the sliders and slide them to ‘36000’ BTUs, ’19’ SEER, ‘0.15’ dollars per kWh, and you get the result: “$0.28 Per Hour”.

Essentially, a big 36,000 BTU 19 SEER unit will cost about $0.28/hour to run given the average price of electricity.

You can do this with any mini split. If you want to calculate how much such a mini split will cost to run per month, you only need to multiply the cost per hour by the number of hours you are going to run a mini split in a month. That’s exactly what this next calculator (per month) does:

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Mini Split Per Month? (2nd Calculator)

You have the same inputs here, with an additional one: Number of hours you run a mini split per day. This is quite hard to determine since on hot days you can run it for 12 hours and on colder days you run it for 4 hours or less. Try to find a rough average and you can slide the last slider here to see how the mini splits monthly electricity bill changes with usage:

 

You can use this calculate the same as the first one. You can, for example, try to calculate what is the most you are likely to pay for running a mini split.

Here is an extreme example: Let’s say you have a big 48,000 BTU (4-ton) mini split with a very low 14 SEER rating efficiency. The price of electricity is very high – $0.25/kWh – and you are running this mini split non-stop 24/7 for a whole month. How much will you pay for the electricity?

$617.14 per month. This is the absolute highest running cost per month for a mini split. Most mini splits will increase the electricity bill by less than $100 per month.

To illustrate what are likely monthly electricity bills for running a mini split, we have made several calculations and summarized them in this chart:

Mini Split Monthly Electricity Bill Chart

Here we summarize the monthly running cost of the most common mini splits on the market: From the smallest 9,000 BTU unit to the big 36,000 BTU units, from the least efficient 14 SEER units to very efficient 25 SEER units. These are the monthly running cost if you run these units 8 hours per day (on average) and if your electricity price is $0.132/kWh:

SEER Rating: 9,000 BTU Mini Split: 12,000 BTU Mini Split: 18,000 BTU Mini Split: 24,000 BTU Mini Split: 30,000 BTU Mini Split: 36,000 BTU Mini Split:
14 SEER Mini Split $20.37 Per Month $27.15 Per Month $40.73 Per Month $54.31 Per Month $67.89 Per Month $81.46 Per Month
15 SEER Mini Split $19.01 Per Month $25.34 Per Month $38.02 Per Month $50.69 Per Month $63.36 Per Month $76.03 Per Month
16 SEER Mini Split $17.82 Per Month $23.76 Per Month $35.64 Per Month $47.52 Per Month $59.40 Per Month $71.28 Per Month
17 SEER Mini Split $16.77 Per Month $22.36 Per Month $33.54 Per Month $44.72 Per Month $55.91 Per Month $67.09 Per Month
18 SEER Mini Split $15.84 Per Month $21.12 Per Month $31.68 Per Month $42.24 Per Month $52.80 Per Month $63.36 Per Month
19 SEER Mini Split $15.01 Per Month $20.01 Per Month $30.01 Per Month $40.02 Per Month $50.02 Per Month $60.03 Per Month
20 SEER Mini Split $14.26 Per Month $19.01 Per Month $28.51 Per Month $38.02 Per Month $47.52 Per Month $57.02 Per Month
21 SEER Mini Split $13.58 Per Month $18.10 Per Month $27.15 Per Month $36.21 Per Month $45.26 Per Month $54.31 Per Month
22 SEER Mini Split $12.96 Per Month $17.28 Per Month $25.92 Per Month $34.56 Per Month $43.20 Per Month $51.84 Per Month
23 SEER Mini Split $12.40 Per Month $16.53 Per Month $24.79 Per Month $33.06 Per Month $41.32 Per Month $49.59 Per Month
24 SEER Mini Split $11.88 Per Month $17.28 Per Month $25.92 Per Month $31.68 Per Month $39.60 Per Month $47.52 Per Month
25 SEER Mini Split $11.40 Per Month $15.21 Per Month $22.81 Per Month $30.41 Per Month $38.02 Per Month $45.62 Per Month

With this chart, you get a clear picture of how much does it cost to run different mini splits per month.

Do notice how the monthly expenses for mini splits:

  • Decrease with the increasing SEER rating. Example: If you check 36,000 BTU units, a 14 SEER rated model has $81.46 per month running cost and a 25 SEER rated model has $45.62 per month running cost. These are the SEER savings you can benefit from. Obviously, high SEER units cost more as well, so there is a compromise here between the initial mini split cost and later running cost.
  • Increase with the increasing mini split size. If you check 20 SEER mini splits, a 12,000 BTU unit has a monthly running cost of only $21.12. A bigger 36,000 BTU mini split has a 2 times higher monthly running cost ($63.36/month) since it is 2 times bigger.

With both calculators and charts, you can now determine how much it costs to run a mini split per month. If you need any help with the calculations for your mini split, we are here for you; just use the comment section below, give us a bit of insight into your situation, and we will try to help you out.

Leave a comment