Heating and air conditioning units used to heat and cool a house Maudib/iStock/Getty Images

Air Conditioning Accounts for About 12% of U.S. Home Energy Expenditures

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides details on U.S. average residential air-conditioning expenditures

recent report by the U.S. EIA finds that air-conditioning equipment is used in 87% of homes in the United States and, according to the latest EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), home air-conditioning costs averaged $265 in 2015, or 12% of total home energy expenditures.

The EIA found that air-conditioning costs ranged from an average of $525 in the hot-humid region in the Southeast to about $60 in the temperate marine region along the West Coast. The more moderate mixed-humid region, where home air-conditioning costs averaged $262, was closest to the national average.

In addition EIA reports that the average U.S. household spent $1,856 on home energy bills in 2015. Although air conditioning accounted for 12% of total household energy costs (and 17% of electricity expenditures) at the national level, some regions use much more air conditioning. In the hot-humid region, where air conditioning was used by 94% of households, air conditioning made up 27% of home energy expenditures. By comparison, in the marine region, where nearly half of households did not use air conditioning at all, air conditioning made up just 2% of home energy expenditures.  About 60% of U.S. households only used central air-conditioning systems in 2015, while 23% only used individual air-conditioning units and just slightly less than 5% of households used both equipment types. Central systems are very common in new single-family homes, but many older homes have also been retrofitted in recent years. For example, the 1980 and 1993 RECS found that about 50% of homes built in the 1970s had central air-conditioning equipment, but by 2015 that share had increased to 67%.

Detailed information about household energy usage and costs can be found in the RECS Consumption & Expenditures data tables.

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