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Cost to run window ac

How Much Does It Cost To Run a 5000 BTU Window Air Conditioner?

If you're thinking about the amount needed to invest in and what the cost to run a window ac is, this post is for you.

There are two cost-related questions you need to consider when purchasing a window air conditioner:

  • How much does a window AC unit cost upfront?
  • How much does a window AC cost per month to cool your home?

This is precisely what this guide will answer for you.

Below, you'll learn what the initial cost is for purchasing a window air conditioner (and what variables into it) and the monthly cost of operating these units.

How Much Does A Window Air Conditioner Unit Cost?

quiet portable ac

You don’t need to spend $1,000s on a system or hire a technician to install a window unit.

The average price is usually between $150-$500.

The actual price depends on a variety of things which we will cover here.

However, energy efficiency and cooling capacity are the most significant contributors to cost.

What Factors Affect the Cost Of A Window Air Conditioner?

There are several factors that influence the price of a unit, including:

  • Cooling Capacity
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Features
  • Brand

Cooling Capacity

Window air conditioner

•One of the biggest drivers of the cost of a window AC unit is its cooling capacity—or how much room space it can cool.

The higher the window air conditioner unit's cooling capacity, the more energy it will use and the higher the price of the appliance.

You can determine the cooling capability of a window AC by checking out its British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating.

BTU numbers line up with a particular square footage rating, suggesting how large of a room the air conditioner can cool.

For example:

  • a 5,000 BTU unit can cool up to 150 square feet of space
  • 9,000 BTU: 400 sq. ft.
  • 10,000 BTU: 450 sq. ft.
  • 14,000 BTU: 700 sq. ft.

Obviously, windows air conditioners with 14,000 BTUs are more powerful than AC units with 5,000 BTUs.

That said, bigger is NOT necessarily better.

We can't stress enough how important it is to get the right-sized window air conditioner to cool your space.

If your window air conditioner is not the right size, you run the risk of having a unit that is not capable enough to cool one or the area that is much too powerful and can increase your electricity bill.

This same theory applies to wall AC units, which look and work almost identically to window ACs, but you install them into a wall and not a window.

If you need to maintain clear access to your window, a through-the-wall AC may be a better alternative.

Energy Efficiency

Energy usage of AC

Another critical factor you want to consider is the unit's energy efficiency.

Just because an air conditioning system is higher-priced does not mean it is more energy-efficient.

In reality the best way to measure a window AC unit's energy regulation accurately is via its Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER) or Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER).

EER is the oldest energy efficiency rating for ACs, and CEER is the upgraded version that put into use by the Department of Energy in 2014.

Both are displayed on the Energy Guide label with the AC unit.

Something to keep in mind is that while a higher CEER or EER rating means that the air conditioner is more energy efficient, it is also a sign that the AC unit will be more expensive.

Higher energy efficiency costs more, is the general rule.


Window ac

Not all window AC units are built the same.

Some are designed as simple single-purpose solutions, while others include advanced features like digital thermostats, Wi-Fi capabilities, and multi-directional fan vents.

The more features a window air conditioner has, the higher the cost.


LG LW1019IVSM 9,500 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner with wifi

Another factor determining AC cost is the brand.

When it comes to window AC units, it is always best to go with a brand name you can trust or one which has a considerable market share.

That means you'll get a higher-quality product and the customer support you need if something goes wrong.

Cost To Run A Window AC

Cost To Run A Window AC

Now that you know what factors contribute to the initial cost of a window air conditioner, let’s talk a bit about the cost of ownership.

When it comes to the long-term costs of an AC unit, you want to look at a couple of things:

  • Number of watts the AC unit utilizes
  • The kilowatts per hour (kWh) your electricity company charges. (The national average is $0.13.)
  • The number of hours you intend to run your air conditioner every day.

You can then use the following formula to find your daily and monthly cost of running the window air conditioner:

Cost of Operation: Formula

Number of watts x (hours of use) ÷ 1,000 x $0.13/kWH = hourly cost of running the AC


  • 600 watt unit x 1 hour ÷ 1,000 x 0.13 (kWH) = $0.078 hourly cost
  • $0.078 x 8 (hours per day) = $0.62 daily cost of operation
  • $0.64 x 7(days per week)= $4.48 Weekly Cost
  • $4.48x4 (weeks per month) = $17.92 monthly cost

Average Cost Chart

If you run your AC unit for 8 hours every day and the cost per kWh is $0.13, you will likely spend the following amount monthly for these different-sized window air conditioners.

  • 600 Watt AC(5,000 BTU) = $17.92 per month
  • 660 Watt AC (8,000 BTU) = $20.88 per month
  • 800 Watt AC (9,000 BTU) = $25.31 per month
  • 900 Watt AC (10,000 BTU) = $28.57 per month
  • 1,100 Watt AC (12,000 BTU) = $31.80 per month
  • 1,300 Watt AC (14,000 BTU) = $41.13 per month

Cost Of Installation

Most people can install a window air conditioner on their own, and most units come with the parts needed to finish the job.

So, the installation cost can be $0.

However, if you need to hire a handyman or a technician, you’ll need to pay around $150.

Total Cost For A Window AC

As you know by now, window AC can cost you between $150 to $500, based on the energy efficiency, cooling capacity, and features of the system you choose.

And you now know that window ACs cost as little as $0.52 per day to run.

Hence, the total cost for a window AC cost actually depends on the number of hours you run the unit

Running an AC unit for eight hours per day is normal for the majority of people. Although you may need to use it less or more.

How to Maximize The Efficiency of Your Window AC

On top of purchasing an efficient model, you can take a couple of actions to get the most from any model.

Here are a few of the most efficient ways to enhance the functionality of a window AC:

1. Insulate! By far, the #1 effect on cooling and heating costs is insulation. The more you have, the less you will pay in bills.

2. Increase the temperature. Every degree of increase will save on cooling and heating costs. Try to run around with warmer ranges if you can.

3. Let it flow. Do not have anything in front of or around the AC unit. Keeps the drapes well open, and even if it's not a modern art piece, don't try to block it with furniture!

4. Change your filters. About once monthly will help greatly.

5. Keep it on the DL. Air conditioning units use the most energy when lowering the temperature, not maintaining it. If you are leaving the house for an hour or two, it’s better to leave it running with a higher temperature set, then to turn it off completely.

Can You EER The Savings?

EER Calculating

Efficiency is among the things to look for if you're trying to get a window AC that won't skyrocket your energy bills. You just have to pay attention to some simple number score: CEER.

CEER Is Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio.

While SEER (Seasonal EER) is used for central AC units, CEER is used for window air conditioners.

EER, by itself, is outdated. It is essential to compare like and like -- since they all measure different things.

The higher the rating, the better the efficiency.

The better the efficiency, the less you'll pay for the same amount of cooling.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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