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Types of Air Conditioning & Running Costs

There are many types of air conditioning and their suitability will be determined by your needs and climate. As the technology behind each system varies air conditioning running costs will also vary and you might be surprised how much energy some use to cool your home. Here we will examine the most popular types of home air conditioning and their associated running costs.

Types of Air Conditioning


Although not a complete solution for cooling your whole home, fans do play a major part in keeping families cool. Their portability makes them a great choice for added cooling or air movement in certain spaces. Although not very portable ceiling fans fall into this category also and due to their blade sizes are able to cool and push air around substantial areas.

Evaporative Cooling

Evaporative coolers
work by drawing warm air from outside through its wet filter pads. Water from the pads evaporates as the warm are moves through, thus cooling and humidifying it. The cool air is then circulated throughout the home. For the most efficient and effective use, your windows and doors should be kept open to get rid of moist air.

Refrigerated Cooling

Refrigerated air cons use indoor and outdoor units that transfer warm room air, moisture out of the room to produce cool air. The system works by warm room air being drawn over the indoor unit’s coil that extracts the heat through absorption by the refrigerant within the coil, which is then moved to the coil within the outdoor unit and expelled into the air outside. While this process occurs any water within the room air condenses on the cold indoor unit coil, which is then drained away. The air that is then blown back into the room is cooler, less humid and usually filtered.

Air Conditioning Running Costs


For portable and ceiling fans you’re looking at an operating cost of around 1c to 1.5c per-hour. As you can see they are quite cheap to run but their overall cooling power and range is limited when compared to other air con solutions.

Evaporative Cooling

Operating costs for evaporative units will vary depending on their overall size and portability. Portable systems have costs ranging from 2.5c to 5c per-hour whereas whole home evaporative systems (ducted) will have operating costs of 11c to 16c per hour. One thing to note is that although the per-hour operating cost is quite low, evaporative units may need to be kept on for longer than their refrigerated counterparts to reach the same level of cooling.

Refrigerated Cooling

Refrigerated cooling’s operating costs will also vary depending on the size and role being performed. There are
single room units, whole home units and ducted units with zoning (able to shut off particular areas), there associated running costs per-hour are:

  1. Single room units – 27c to 38c
  2. Whole home units – 63c to 91c
  3. Ducted and zoned units – 36c to 54c

Zoned units are considered to be a lot more efficient as they allow you to restrict cooling to particular rooms that you are using. This means no energy is wasted and results in less energy use and costs.

For more information on types of air conditioning and running costs take a look at the Choosing a Cooling System PDF from Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria.



Article by Nathan Hockley

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