AC Power Consumption – Balancing Performance and Energy Savings

Last Updated on 17 February, 2024 by Sourav Roy

At this point, with the climate being unpredictable and harsh, an air conditioner is a necessity. Summer months are near-scorchingly hot and can make life extremely uncomfortable if you don’t have an AC. With how widespread electricity is nowadays, and the generally better economy, people can easily get themselves AC units. In this article, we’ll talk about all the ways you can increase your AC’s electricity savings and how certain factors can impact these savings. Once you know all these, you’ll certainly enjoy having minimal AC power consumption.

AC Power Consumption

It would be best if you put a lot of thought in this aspect, as there are times you’ll be running your AC on hours on end. Otherwise, if the AC’s power consumption isn’t handled correctly, you’re going to see a considerable rise in electricity bills. So without further ado, let’s begin with the article.

The Basic Mechanism of An AC

Basic Mechanism of An AC

We all know that AC cooling consumes a large amount of electricity. In order to minimise power consumption, it would help if you start by learning how an AC works in general.

An air conditioner works by cooling indoor air by passing it through evaporator coils, before dispensing the cold air back into the room. There are several main components of the AC that allow cooling, like the compressor and fans. These components are some of the most power-consuming components of the AC.


Major Factors Which Affect Electricity Consumption

New ACs come with a lot of new features and mechanisms. Some of these can be a deciding factor to which way your power savings will go.


1. The Compressor

The Compressor

The compressor plays a significant role in cooling, as it processes refrigerants and makes cooling possible. There are two different types of compressor, which are the Standard Compressor and the Inverter Compressor. The difference in energy savings between each is massive.

Standard compressors are the older counterparts, and they aren’t very effective. That’s because these compressors handle set temperatures with a straightforward on-off cycle. Whenever the AC reaches the temperatures set by the user, the compressor shuts down entirely. Once the temperature goes up the set level again, the compressor restarts. This hard on-off cycle puts a toll on the AC’s power consumption and creates a considerable increase in your power bills.

On the other hand, Inverter Compressors, which are a part of Inverter ACs are more recent and a massive improvement over the older variants. These compressors do not keep restarting with a cycle to maintain the desired temperature. Instead, they operate more smartly by adjusting their speed. Once the temperature reaches the set level, the compressor speed slows down rather than turning off completely.

This slowdown removes the need for the compressor to start up again when the temperature rises, and it just increases its speed. As a result, you get a significantly lower AC power consumption.

Recommended Reading: What is Inverter AC?


2. The Temperature

AC Temperature V/S Room Temperature

First off, the amount of energy an AC spends in cooling largely depends on the initial ambient temperature of the room. If the ambient temperature is relatively high, the AC would need to spend extra energy by reducing the temperature and then maintaining it to that level. We recommend that you start with a low-temperature setting, and then move it up a little afterwards, once you have sufficient cooling.

Speaking of temperature, you should also know that a thermostat has a significant impact on the AC’s power consumption. For a start, it’s important to keep in mind that a lower thermostat setting does not mean faster cooling.

In fact, a thermostat doesn’t do much when it comes to cooling the air. It just stops the compressor once the temperature reaches the right level. The fans take over the cooling afterwards. If you go for a Non-inverter AC, which is a little cheaper, you have to understand how to use it efficiently.

Once the fans of the compressor take over, the energy consumption is reduced significantly. So, it would be best if you focused on keeping the compressor from running too long, by setting a slightly higher temperature, such as 24°C. This temperature is generally the most comfortable for the majority of people, providing just the right level of cooling.

If there are times when your room needs powerful cooling, you can go for an AC with a smart thermostat. Such a thermostat uses data and sensors to set the temperature to a level where there is no electricity wasted without affecting performance.


3. Maintenance

Ac Maintenance

You would be surprised to know how much energy you can save by keeping your AC well-maintained. Worn parts will make the AC struggle, forcing it to use more power to be able to do certain things. Similarly, having blocked air ducts will constrict the airflow, making the AC work harder to provide sufficient cooling. The active cooling will run much longer, resulting in noticeable impacts on your energy bill. Make sure you clean the ducts and air filters and keep other things like furniture from blocking the vents.

Recommended Reading: Common problems with an AC – and how to solve them!


4. AC Type

AC Type

Between Split ACs and Window ACs, the Split ones are generally more energy-efficient. That is not to say that the Window ACs cost you a massive amount of power. In fact, some of the best air conditioners are also Window ACs. However, the Split ACs have more of an edge with a better EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio).

EER indicates the level of cooling an AC provides on a per watt basis. Besides, Star ratings, which are the preferred way of gauging an ACs power consumption, are higher when an AC has more EER. You won’t get a drop on performance with Split ACs either, despite the separated components. Instead, you’d get much better performance than you’d get with a Window AC.

The initial price may seem a little daunting, but we assure you that the best split air conditioners will make up for the price by reducing maintenance needs and energy consumption.

Recommended Reading: Split AC vs Window AC – Which one should you buy?


5. Upgrades

upgrade your old AC

Did you know that instead of getting an entirely new model, you can upgrade your old AC and make it more energy-efficient? If you don’t quite want to get a newer model yet, you can fit in new parts and still receive good energy savings.

Adding improvements like additional vents, or replacing the condenser can give you a considerable boost in energy savings, especially if you’ve always kept your AC well maintained.


Impact of External Factors on Power Consumption

Impact of External Factors on Power Consumption

Up until now, we’ve been discussing the parts of the AC itself that influence power consumption. Now, we’ll take a look into other external factors that can play a role in the amount of power savings you get from your air conditioner.

Firstly, is the room size. You need to have an AC with the right tonnage- the raise in the electricity won’t be worth it for faster cooling. If you get an AC with more tonnage than your room needs, you’ll only have the potential wasted. Getting an AC with low tonnage is just as bad. To clarify, if you have a large room, the hot air there be more than there would be in a smaller room. Hence, an AC of inadequate tonnage has to spend more power.

Next is the location of your living place itself. That’s because the weather is different in every part of India. As we’ve mentioned earlier, more heat means more work for the compressor. So if you live somewhere with high temperatures, the compressor has to do more work.

The situation is different in places like Mumbai or Kolkata, where the temperature isn’t all that high, but the humidity is. In both cases, the AC has to spend extra energy on reducing the humidity or on lowering the temperature, leading to more power consumption.

The number of people also affects how much cooling the AC needs to do to cool the room adequately. As the human body emits heat by itself, the AC has to cool the body down as well. There wouldn’t be much power consumption in a 150 sq. ft. room where there are less than 4-5 people. A 1.5 Ton AC should provide sufficient cooling.

However, if there’s a large number of people in the room, like a coaching class with 10-12 people, then you might need to opt for a 2 Ton AC to balance the consumption and make the cooling more efficient.



If you want to get the best AC for yourself, then you must know much energy your AC will consume. Even if the AC meets all your other needs, one that gives a huge raise to your electricity bills won’t keep you happy for very long. The better you understand how to minimise the AC power consumption, the less bills you have to pay.

For instance, if you buy a cheap AC, you’ll end up spending a lot of money on electricity bills because of it. However, if you get a decent AC and know how to keep the power consumption in control, then you’ll have more satisfaction from it, even with the higher price tag.

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