Which Air Conditioners Have the Lowest Monthly Operating Costs? 

Throughout the months of the year when the temperature is at its peak, air conditioning units are an absolute godsend. They may be just as necessary during the chilly months of winter as they are during the rest of the year. However, regardless of whether you prefer cool air in the warmer months or warm air in the cold season, there is a cost associated with air conditioning.

The cost of operating your air conditioning unit is something that you must take into consideration in addition to the initial investment and the cost of having it installed. Because there is such a wide variety of air conditioning units on the market, which ones are some of the most cost-effective to operate? Let’s take a closer look at a few of the things that can impact running costs, and then we’ll see if we can find a solution to this question.

5 Factors Contribute to the Overall Cost of Operating an Air Conditioning Unit

Whether you are using a portable air conditioner, a reverse cycle split system, or have ducted air conditioning fitted, the operating cost can be affected by a wide variety of factors depending on the specifics of your particular setup. They are as follows:

Energy Efficiency

air conditioners that have more stars are better at conserving energy than those with fewer stars. This typically results in lower overall operating costs. When it comes to the type of air conditioning unit, reverse cycle split systems are generally more cost-effective to operate than ducted systems or portable air conditioning units.

The Temperature Outside

if the temperature outside is substantially greater than that you want to have inside your home, then your air conditioning system will have to work much harder to combat the warm air to get your home to a suitable temperature. If it has to work harder to produce cool air, then it will be less effective and will have a higher cost of operation.

The preferred temperature that is set on the thermostat for the air conditioning unit. The lower you set the optimum temperature on the thermostat for the air conditioning unit, the harder it must work, and as a consequence, the higher the operating costs will be. According to the information presented on the customer website, lowering the temperature setting on the thermostat by just one degree can result in a 10% rise in functioning costs.

The Dimensions of the Room and Its Location Within the Indoor Space

larger rooms that face either the north or the west and have windows can take longer to cool down. Because of this, an increased amount of energy will need to be consumed, which will increase operating costs. Furthermore, the expense of using electricity will affect the typical operating costs of an air conditioner.

The Trade-Off Between Having Lower Initial Costs and Lower Ongoing Expenses

When you are looking for a new air conditioning unit, you will find that there are various brands, designs, and styles to choose from. You will also quickly learn that the price range for air conditioning units is just as diverse as the variety of air conditioning systems themselves.

To cool down a single space, you can purchase a portable air conditioner that costs hundreds of rands and appears to be an excellent value. You also have the option of spending several thousand rands to have a completely ducted air conditioning system installed in your household and then purchase the system. The connection between the selling price and the amount of electricity saved is another topic that is likely to come up during your research.

In summary, the following is how it usually works:

  • Air conditioning units that are less costly to buy are generally less effective and, as a result, cost more to operate.
  • When it comes to energy efficiency, the higher the purchase price of an air conditioning unit, the better it will run for less money over its lifetime.

The general principle may have the odd instance in which it is broken, but the five elements that were just covered will undoubtedly have an impact on how efficiently energy is used. You would then, however, need to think about the purchase price versus the operating cost trade-off that will be involved.

A Comparison of Split Systems, Ducted Air Conditioners, and Portable Air Conditioners

Which of these three types of air conditioners—portable air conditioners, reverse cycle split systems, and ducted air conditioners—has the lowest monthly operating cost for homeowners in South Africa?

It is essential to emphasize once more that the ordinary operating costs will vary depending on the weather patterns in your region, the price that you are billed by your retail outlet for the amount of electricity that you use, the size of the space, and the cooling power of your system.

Portable Air Conditioners

The most significant advantage that portable air conditioning units have to offer is the simplicity that they provide. However, even though they can be purchased for a low price and appear to provide a significant amount of value at first glance, portable air conditioners are not especially energy efficient. The money you save on the expense of the air conditioner’s purchase will most likely end up being used for the operating costs of the air conditioning unit.

A Split System

You can control the temperature in a specific room by using a split system. Although it is more expensive than a portable air conditioning unit, this one has a higher energy efficiency rating, which means that you will spend less money on your monthly electricity costs. If you’ve got multiple split systems installed throughout your household, you can set the temperature in each room individually, as well as select which rooms you want to be heated or cooled at any given time.

A Ducted Air Conditioning system

When you have ducted air conditioning, the temperature within every ducted room can only be adjusted to the one that has been centrally set. On the other hand, if your ducted system has the capability of zoning, you will have the ability to select which rooms will be heated or cooled. If your home does not have the functionality of being zoned, you will end up wasting both energy and money by heating or cooling living areas that are not being used.

Rates Between Provinces

A conducted survey in the early part of 2022 revealed the huge disparities in operating costs that exist between the various provinces in South Africa. For instance, using an air conditioning unit with a capacity of 2-3 kW in a room that is 20 square meters in size and located in Johannesburg, where the average temperature is high, could cost as much as R 1 700.

A space of the same size and volume in Cape Town, where temperatures are usually lower, might only cost slightly more than R 400 to cool with an air conditioning unit of the same capacity because the temperatures are typically lower.

In a similar vein, the cost of ducted air conditioners will differ significantly from city to city. The annual costs of heating and cooling in Johannesburg came to an average of R 13 000, while the cost of heating was R 1000. Using a system with a capacity of 12-15 kW in a space measuring 90 square meters, the cooling costs in Cape Town ranged from R 2 900 to R 10 000, respectively.

Air conditioners that use ducted systems are more challenging to install than those that use split systems, but both types of units necessitate the help of a trained professional for setup. Ducted systems necessitate the installation of ducts and ventilators on your roof. The price of a reverse cycle split system typically ranges between R 4500 – R 30 000, while the cost of a ducted system, including installation, can range anywhere from R 2 500 – R 25 000.

To Sum it up

The cost of either cooling or heating your household is something to consider when determining whether or not it is more comfortable to do so. Operating expenses are subject to change regardless of whether you have a ducted ventilation system, a reverse cycle split system, or a portable air conditioner because there are so many different factors to consider.

These factors include but are not limited to, the weather patterns that prevail in your region, the cooling power of your air conditioning unit, the size of the room, and a great number of others. Nevertheless, it seems that the widespread opinion is that the reverse cycle split system is one of the air conditioning units that have among the lowest operating costs. They are available for an affordable price while still providing a good deal of value to customers. Click here for more information.