Air conditioners are a vital part of our homes, they can be considered one of the most important appliances that ensures our comfort.
Without them, summer in some states could become unbearable, therefore it is important for us to have an idea about the functioning of air conditioners.
Does air conditioning or AC use gas or electricity?
There are several types and brands of air conditioning or AC available in the market – each with different appearance, features and ratings. However, ACs at homes are run on electricity however ACs found on cars rely on gas instead. Apart from that, most common and traditional ACs use electricity.
Air conditioners are appliances that are responsible for keeping the room temperature balanced in a way that we find comfortable.
These powerful appliances work by a simple yet effective technique – they eject cold air inside our homes or rooms by removing heat and humidity from the air in our rooms.
They process this warm and humid air using a chemical called coolant which cools the air and then the air conditioners eject the cold air into our rooms. In this way, AC keeps unwanted heat and humidity away from our homes.
Since they are so comfortable and convenient for us, ACs are present almost everywhere nowadays starting from homes, offices, shopping malls and even in vehicles. However, different locations and settings require the ACs to be different than the ones we use at home.
And one of these differences is the source of power they rely on. Electrical supply is readily available at homes and offices – but for vehicles, they use an alternative source of power to operate the air conditioners.
Most of our appliances at home are operated using electricity and it has become the primary and popular source of power.
Therefore AC manufacturers also decided to make their air conditioners depend on electricity for power.
However, there are air conditioners that are run on gas as well but they are not completely dependent on gas supply. They mostly operate using gas but need some electricity for it’s internal circuitry to work.
Cars are different in how they operate compared to household ACs because they do not have a constant supply of electricity. That is why car ACs were manufactured in such a way that they consume gas in order to viably function.
Unlike household ACs, they do not come in two variants – car air conditioners only run on gas. This gas supply comes from the fuel that is used to run the engines as well.
Central ACs are used in shopping malls or in houses to cool all the rooms instead of cooling the rooms individually. And since they are not used in vehicles and are exclusive to large areas – electricity is the source of power for them.
Is air conditioning considered a utility? Is air conditioning considered an electric or gas bill?
Air conditioning runs on electricity which is considered a utility but the appliance itself is considered a utility device. Typically water and sewer is considered utility in most rented apartments whereas you pay electricity bills separately.
However, many apartment landlords consider the bills for an air conditioning unit separately and therefore you have to pay the bills separately with the rent.
But whether or not your air conditioning would be considered an electric bill or gas bill depends on the type of air conditioning you have installed in your apartment.
If you use air conditioning that runs on electricity, you will notice a change in your overall electricity bill according to your usage behavior.
But for air conditioning that runs on gas – they will affect your electricity bills negligibly but you will notice a significant spike in your gas bill.
How much electricity does an AC use?
Air conditioners are one of the largest consumers of electricity at your home and our dependence on them has made us use it constantly throughout the day. AC units are known to consume a lot of energy and therefore cause the electricity bills to get bigger.
Almost all new American homes nowadays use central Air conditioning instead of individual window ACs. Although air conditioning technology has become more energy efficient, still they are one of the largest energy consumers.
Since central ACs are responsible for keeping the entire apartment cool, they require a lot of electricity to keep the house constantly cool. The average Central AC unit has a power usage of around 3,500 Watts.
However, many people still prefer to cut their electricity usage short by choosing to install window AC instead of central ACs.
There are several sizes of window ACs, with energy consumption increasing with size. The smaller units use around 1,400 watts, whereas larger units are a bit higher but not nearly as high as central units.
How does an air conditioner use electricity?
Before you get to understand how air conditioning uses electricity, you need to understand the processes an AC unit undertakes to cool the air.
AC units remove the warm air from the inside of your home and pump it outside, afterwards – it ejects cool air into your room, thus lowering the room temperature.
If you notice, your refrigerators work the same way but since they are in an enclosed environment – their interior is much cooler. All the steps involved in cooling the air use different components – each of which uses electricity to function.
The most energy consuming step is maintaining the coolant as it absorbs the heat from air and removes excessive moisture. Next, the coolant cools the warm air and circulates it into the room.
All of these processes consume quite a bit of power and as the AC unit is constantly under use, the energy consumption builds up – especially during summer.
Is gas or electric AC better?
There are tons of AC units available in the market, each having distinct features, functions, models and brands – as well as type of power source.
In which case, it might get difficult to make a choice on which AC to buy. Below are the comparison between gas and electric AC to decide which one is best suited for your home:
Depending on size of your apartment:
Both types of ACs are known to have distinct effectiveness in apartments of varying size. And it is recommended to get yourself an AC that will work efficiently with your apartment size.
Gas-powered air conditioners work efficiently to cool large sized apartments or rooms with lots of open spaces. But electric ACs are great for smaller houses or clustered rooms.
Installation and maintenance cost:
When it comes to cost, gas-powered ACs have a higher initial set up cost compared to electric ones, but they have a lower expense periodically.
Electric AC units are not that expensive to buy and set up, however you need to spend less money on them but more frequently.
Another point to note is that gas air conditioners are much more durable than electric powered ones, therefore they rarely need any maintenance and repair work done.
In short, if you prefer a large upfront cost with less/no recurring cost – go for gas AC, otherwise electric AC.
Bills, regardless of whichever AC unit you choose, will depend on how much you use throughout the day. And as you can already guess, gas powered ACs will increase your gas bills whereas electric ACs will increase your electricity bills.
Is it possible to use solar power for my air conditioner instead of electricity?
Many people believe that solar power cannot be used to power high energy consuming appliances such as AC or refrigerators.
But there exists solar-powered air conditioning systems in the market that work just as effectively as traditional air conditioning systems.
Although they have a major dependency, that is you need to have sufficient sunlight in order to have your AC function. But you are most likely to use the AC on a hot and sunny day anyways, so its dependency on sunlight does not pose much of a problem.
Many people might question the effectiveness of a solar powered AC, but they have the same effectiveness as electric ACs.
Solar powered ACs also have an array of batteries built into the system, which will store power when they are exposed to sunlight.
So if you wish to use your AC on a cloudy day, your AC’s batteries will provide enough power supply to run the AC for a considerable amount of time.
There are several types and brands of air conditioning or AC on the market with unique looks, functions, and ratings. ACs in houses, on the other hand, are powered by electricity, whilst ACs in cars are powered by gas. Aside from that, most regular and conventional ACs are powered by electricity.