How Much Electricity (kWh) Do Air Conditioners Use? (Calc + Chart)

How much electricity do air conditioners use? Quite a lot, actually. According to EIA, US households used 235 billion kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity just for cooling in 2021. Of course, we are usually most interested in how many kWh does our air conditioner use.

Most of us already know that AC is one of the most power-hungry HVAC units in our home. If you have a 2-ton, 3-ton, 4-ton, or 5-ton AC unit, you are probably asking how much electricity does my central air conditioner use? How much electricity does a mini-split air conditioner use?

In general, central air conditioners and mini-split AC units use anywhere from 0.48 kWh to 5.14 kWh to run for 1 hour. That can, in the case of low SEER rated 5-ton and 6-ton AC units, result in energy expenditure of over 100 kWh per day. At an average electricity price of $0.1319/kWh, that’s more than $13 worth of electricity.

Example: How much electricity does a 5-ton 16 SEER central air conditioner use? Such a unit has a running wattage of 3,750W and thus uses 3.75 kWh of electricity every running hour. If you run it for 2 hours, it will consume 7.5 kWh of electricity. If you run it for 8 hours, it will consume 30 kWh. If you run it for a whole day non-stop 24/7, it will use 90 kWh per day.

how much electricity does an air conditioner use
The most power-demanding part of any mini-split AC or central air is the compressor (located in the outdoor unit).

We will show exactly how you can calculate how many kWh your air conditioner use. We will show you how you can calculate the power consumption of any AC (1-6 ton units, anywhere from 14 SEER to 25 SEER rating).

To help everybody out, we have also prepared:

  • Charts with electricity usage of central or mini-split air conditioners (per hour, per 8 hours, and per day). You will find 8 charts for 1-ton, 2-ton, 2.5-ton, 3-ton, 3.5-ton, 4-ton, 5-ton, and 6-ton air conditioners with energy efficiency ranging from 14 SEER rating up to 25 SEER rating.
  • ‘Air Conditioner kWh Calculator’. Basically, you just insert the AC tonnage and SEER rating of your central or mini-split AC, and the calculator will tell you how many kWh such an AC unit uses per hour.

Note: As always, if you need a bit of help calculating how much electricity your AC uses, give us the specs in the comments below, and we will try to help you out as best we can.

Before we check all the air conditioner power consumption charts, let’s have a look at how electricity usage (kilowatt-hours or kWh) are calculated for AC unit:

How To Calculate How Much kWh Does AC Use

Why are we are always talking about tonnage and SEER rating? Simple. How much electricity air conditioners use is directly proportional to:

  • AC capacity (tonnage). The bigger the unit, the more electricity it will use.
  • Energy efficiency (SEER rating). AC units with high SEER ratings use less electricity than same-size units with the lower SEER rating.

Based on these two metrics, we can calculate how many watts on average does any air conditioner use. Here is the equation for AC wattage:

Average AC Wattage = Tonnage × 12,000 BTU / SEER Rating

We have calculated wattages of 1-6 ton and 14-25 SEER rated units in our post about how many watts do air conditioners use here. Example: A 3-ton 18 SEER AC unit runs on 2,000W (you can read that off the charts in the wattage article).

When you have the wattage, you can simply calculate how many kWh do air conditioners use with this equation:

AC kWh Use = Average AC Wattage × Hours Of Running / 1,000

Note: That ‘1,000’ factor is there to convert from watts to kilowatts. Basically, we are using watts for AC wattage and we want to calculate kilowatt-hours.

Let’s use our 3-ton 18 SEER AC unit to illustrate how AC electricity expenditure is calculated. Based on the SEER rating and tonnage, we know it runs on 2,000W. How many kWh does it use if we run it for 8 hours? Here’s how we can calculate that:

AC kWh Use = 2,000W × 8h / 1,000 = 16 kWh

As you can see, this 3-ton AC unit will consume 16 kWh of electricity in 8 hours. Namely, every unit that runs on 2,000W will consume 2 kWh per hour. If you run it for 8 hours, that’s 16 kWh.

This is just one example. It demonstrated how to calculate air conditioner kWh usage. If you have a 1-ton, 2-ton, 4-ton, 5-ton, or 6-ton unit, or SEER rating of 14, 16, 20, 22, and so on, you should do your own calculation.

To help everybody out, we have already made these kWh calculations for you and summarized them in 8 charts. You will find how many kWh any air conditioner uses per hour, per 8 hours, and per day (24 hours) in these charts. Just find a chart that matches the specs of your AC, and read off how much electricity your AC will use.

On top of that, you will find the ‘Air Conditioner kWh Calculator’ below the 8 charts. There you can simply insert AC tonnage and SEER rating, and the calculator will tell you how many kWh does an AC with your specs use per hour.

Here are all the promised charts:

How Much Electricity Does A 1-Ton AC Use? (1-Ton Power In kWh)

1-ton is one of the smallest capacities for mini-split AC units and central air conditioners. They use the least amount of electricity.

Here is the full table on how much electricity 1-ton air conditioners use:

SEER Rating: 1-Ton kWh Per Hour: 1-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 1-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.86 kWh 6.88 kWh 20.6 kWh
15 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.80 kWh 6.40 kWh 19.2 kWh
16 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.75 kWh 6.00 kWh 18.0 kWh
17 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.71 kWh 5.68 kWh 17.0 kWh
18 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.67 kWh 5.36 kWh 16.1 kWh
19 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.63 kWh 5.04 kWh 15.1 kWh
20 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.60 kWh 4.80 kWh 14.4 kWh
21 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.57 kWh 4.56 kWh 13.7 kWh
22 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.55 kWh 4.40 kWh 13.2 kWh
23 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.52 kWh 4.16 kWh 12.5 kWh
24 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.50 kWh 4.00 kWh 12.0 kWh
25 SEER 1-Ton AC 0.48 kWh 3.84 kWh 11.5 kWh

Running a 1-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 0.48 kWh and 0.86 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 1-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 3.84 kWh to 6.88 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 1-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 11.5 kWh to 20.6 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 2-Ton AC Use? (2-Ton Power In kWh)

2-ton AC units produce 24,000 BTU of cooling output. This is usually sufficient cooling power to cool spaces up to about 1,200 sq ft.

Here is how many kWh 2-ton AC units will spend:

SEER Rating: 2-Ton kWh Per Hour: 2-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 2-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.71 kWh 13.7 kWh 41.04 kWh
15 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.6 kWh 12.8 kWh 38.4 kWh
16 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.50 kWh 12.0 kWh 36.0 kWh
17 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.41 kWh 11.3 kWh 33.9 kWh
18 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.33 kWh 10.7 kWh 32.0 kWh
19 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.26 kWh 10.1 kWh 30.3 kWh
20 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.20 kWh 9.60 kWh 28.8 kWh
21 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.11 kWh 8.91 kWh 26.7 kWh
22 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.09 kWh 8.73 kWh 26.2 kWh
23 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.04 kWh 8.34 kWh 25.0 kWh
24 SEER 2-Ton AC 1.00 kWh 8.00 kWh 24.0 kWh
25 SEER 2-Ton AC 0.96 kWh 7.68 kWh 23.0 kWh

Running a 2-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 0.96 kWh and 1.71 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 2-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 7.68 kWh to 13.7 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 2-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 23.0 kWh to 41.4 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 2.5-Ton AC Use? (2.5-Ton Power In kWh)

If you want to cool spaces with area of about up to 1,500 sq ft, you are likely going to use 2.5-ton air conditioners (30,000 BTU cooling output).

Here is how much electricity these 2.5-ton units are likely to use:

SEER Rating: 2.5-Ton kWh Per Hour: 2.5-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 2.5-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 2.14 kWh 17.1 kWh 51.4 kWh
15 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 2.00 kWh 16.0 kWh 48.0 kWh
16 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.88 kWh 15.00 kWh 45.0 kWh
17 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.77 kWh 14.1 kWh 42.4 kWh
18 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.67 kWh 13.3 kWh 40.0 kWh
19 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.58 kWh 12.6 kWh 37.9 kWh
20 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.50 kWh 12.0 kWh 36.0 kWh
21 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.43 kWh 11.4 kWh 34.3 kWh
22 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.36 kWh 10.9 kWh 32.7 kWh
23 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.30 kWh 10.4 kWh 31.3 kWh
24 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.25 kWh 10.0 kWh 30.0 kWh
25 SEER 2.5-Ton AC 1.20 kWh 9.60 kWh 28.8 kWh

Running a 2.5-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 1.20 kWh and 2.14 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 2.5-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 9.60 kWh to 17.1 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 2.5-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 28.8 kWh to 51.4 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 3-Ton AC Use? (3-Ton Power In kWh)

3-ton central air conditioners and mini-splits are one of the most popular AC choices.

The following table lists how much electricity 3-ton AC units with different SEER ratings are going to use:

SEER Rating: 3-Ton kWh Per Hour: 3-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 3-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 3-Ton AC 2.57 kWh 20.6 kWh 61.7 kWh
15 SEER 3-Ton AC 2.40 kWh 19.2 kWh 57.6 kWh
16 SEER 3-Ton AC 2.25 kWh 18.0 kWh 54.0 kWh
17 SEER 3-Ton AC 2.12 kWh 16.9 kWh 50.8 kWh
18 SEER 3-Ton AC 2.00 kWh 16.0 kWh 48.0 kWh
19 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.90 kWh 15.2 kWh 45.5 kWh
20 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.80 kWh 14.4 kWh 43.2 kWh
21 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.71 kWh 13.7 kWh 41.1 kWh
22 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.64 kWh 13.1 kWh 39.3 kWh
23 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.57 kWh 12.5 kWh 37.6 kWh
24 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.50 kWh 12.0 kWh 36.0 kWh
25 SEER 3-Ton AC 1.44 kWh 11.5 kWh 34.6 kWh

Running a 3-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 1.44 kWh and 2.57 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 3-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 11.5 kWh to 20.6 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 3-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 34.6 kWh to 61.7 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 3.5-Ton AC Use? (3.5-Ton Power In kWh)

1-ton is one of the smallest capacities for mini-split AC units and central air conditioners. They use the least amount of electricity.

Here is the full table on how much electricity 1-ton air conditioners use:

SEER Rating: 3.5-Ton kWh Per Hour: 3.5-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 3.5-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 3.00 kWh 24.0 kWh 72.0 kWh
15 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.80 kWh 22.4 kWh 67.2 kWh
16 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.63 kWh 21.0 kWh 63.0 kWh
17 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.47 kWh 19.8 kWh 59.3 kWh
18 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.33 kWh 18.7 kWh 56.0 kWh
19 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.21 kWh 17.7 kWh 53.1 kWh
20 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.10 kWh 16.8 kWh 50.4 kWh
21 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 2.00 kWh 16.00 kWh 48.0 kWh
22 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 1.91 kWh 15.3 kWh 45.8 kWh
23 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 1.83 kWh 14.6 kWh 43.8 kWh
24 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 1.75 kWh 14.0 kWh 42.0 kWh
25 SEER 3.5-Ton AC 1.68 kWh 13.4 kWh 40.3 kWh

Running a 3.5-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 1.68 kWh and 3.00 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 3.5-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 13.4 kWh to 24.0 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 3.5-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 40.3 kWh to 72.0 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 4-Ton AC Use? (4-Ton Power In kWh)

4-ton AC unit produce 48,000 BTU of cooling output. Running them for 1 hour can use less than 2 kWh or more than 3 kWh of electricity, depending on the SEER rating.

Here is the full table of electricity expenditure per hour, per 8 hours, and per day for a 3-ton AC units:

SEER Rating: 4-Ton kWh Per Hour: 4-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 4-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 4-Ton AC 3.43 kWh 27.4 kWh 82.3 kWh
15 SEER 4-Ton AC 3.20 kWh 25.6 kWh 76.8 kWh
16 SEER 4-Ton AC 3.00 kWh 24.0 kWh 72.0 kWh
17 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.82 kWh 22.6 kWh 67.8 kWh
18 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.67 kWh 21.3 kWh 64.0 kWh
19 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.53 kWh 20.2 kWh 60.6 kWh
20 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.40 kWh 19.2 kWh 57.6 kWh
21 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.26 kWh 18.0 kWh 54.1 kWh
22 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.18 kWh 17.5 kWh 52.4 kWh
23 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.09 kWh 16.7 kWh 50.1 kWh
24 SEER 4-Ton AC 2.00 kWh 16.0 kWh 48.0 kWh
25 SEER 4-Ton AC 1.92 kWh 15.4 kWh 46.1 kWh

Running a 4-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 1.92 kWh and 3.43 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 4-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 15.4 kWh to 27.4 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 4-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 46.1 kWh to 82.6 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 5-Ton AC Use? (5-Ton Power In kWh)

5-ton AC units are also quite popular. If you have a 5-ton central air conditioner or a 5-ton mini-split AC unit you will likely want to know how much electricity it draws.

Here is the full table with kWh expenditure you can expect from 5-ton air conditioners:

SEER Rating: 5-Ton kWh Per Hour: 5-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 5-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 5-Ton AC 4.29 kWh 34.3 kWh 103 kWh
15 SEER 5-Ton AC 4.00 kWh 32.0 kWh 96.0 kWh
16 SEER 5-Ton AC 3.75 kWh 30.0 kWh 90.0 kWh
17 SEER 5-Ton AC 3.53 kWh 28.2 kWh 84.7 kWh
18 SEER 5-Ton AC 3.33 kWh 26.7 kWh 80.0 kWh
19 SEER 5-Ton AC 3.16 kWh 25.3 kWh 75.8 kWh
20 SEER 5-Ton AC 3.00 kWh 24.0 kWh 72.0 kWh
21 SEER 5-Ton AC 2.86 kWh 22.9 kWh 68.6 kWh
22 SEER 5-Ton AC 2.73 kWh 21.8 kWh 65.4 kWh
23 SEER 5-Ton AC 2.61 kWh 20.9 kWh 62.6 kWh
24 SEER 5-Ton AC 2.50 kWh 20.0 kWh 60.0 kWh
25 SEER 5-Ton AC 2.40 kWh 19.2 kWh 57.6 kWh

Running a 5-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 2.40 kWh and 4.29 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 5-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 19.2 kWh to 34.3 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 5-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 57.6 kWh to 103 kWh.

How Much Electricity Does A 6-Ton AC Use? (6-Ton Power In kWh)

6-ton AC units are quite large. These are usually 6-ton central air conditioners. Here is how much electricity they use:

SEER Rating: 6-Ton kWh Per Hour: 6-Ton AC kWh Per 8 Hours: 6-Ton AC kWh Per Day:
14 SEER 6-Ton AC 5.14 kWh 41.4 kWh 123 kWh
15 SEER 6-Ton AC 4.80 kWh 38.4 kWh 115 kWh
16 SEER 6-Ton AC 4.50 kWh 36.0 kWh 108 kWh
17 SEER 6-Ton AC 4.24 kWh 33.9 kWh 102 kWh
18 SEER 6-Ton AC 4.00 kWh 32.0 kWh 96.0 kWh
19 SEER 6-Ton AC 3.80 kWh 30.3 kWh 90.9 kWh
20 SEER 6-Ton AC 3.60 kWh 28.8 kWh 86.4 kWh
21 SEER 6-Ton AC 3.43 kWh 27.4 kWh 82.3 kWh
22 SEER 6-Ton AC 3.27 kWh 26.2 kWh 78.6 kWh
23 SEER 6-Ton AC 3.13 kWh 25.0 kWh 75.1 kWh
24 SEER 6-Ton AC 3.00 kWh 24.0 kWh 72.0 kWh
25 SEER 6-Ton AC 2.88 kWh 23.0 kWh 69.1 kWh

Running a 6-ton central air or mini-split air conditioner will use anywhere between 2.88 kWh and 5.14 kWh per hour (depends on the SEER rating).

If you run a 6-ton AC for 8 hours, you will use anywhere from 23.0 kWh to 41.4 kWh of electricity.

Now, if you run it for a whole day (24 hours non-stop), a 6-ton air conditioner will use anywhere from 69.1 kWh to 123 kWh.


These charts are usually quite useful for finding out how much electricity does your AC unit use. However, the easier way would be to calculate that. As we have seen earlier, the calculation is not exactly ‘simple’. That’s why we have developed a calculator that automatically calculate how many kWh per hour air conditioners (with certain tonnage, SEER rating) use:

Air Conditioner kWh Calculator

 

As you can see, it’s quite easy to use this calculator. You can choose pretty much any central air conditioner or mini-split air conditioner, insert the AC tonnage and SEER rating, and you will see how many kWh per hour will such a unit spend.

Hopefully, you now have a clear picture of how much electricity air conditioners spend. If you have any questions, or if you would like for us to help you with the AC kWh calculations, you can use the comments below and we’ll help you out.

2 thoughts on “How Much Electricity (kWh) Do Air Conditioners Use? (Calc + Chart)”

    • Hi Poed, it’s basically what we consider 1 unit of electricity. It is equal to the electricity used by a 1000W device running for 1 hour.

      Reply

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