Updated at: 10-02-2023 - By: Sienna Lewis

While the final price you pay for a window air conditioner will depend on several factors, the average hourly, daily, and monthly costs are all listed here to give you an idea of what you can expect to spend.

Our mission is to provide you with the information you need to determine whether or not installing window air conditioning is a good financial decision.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Window Air Conditioner?

The average operating cost of a window air conditioner is $0.07–$0.20 per hour. The total annual cost to operate a window air conditioner is proportional to its BTU output, wattage, and average daily operating time.

If you have a window air conditioner with an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 10, and the average cost of electricity in the United States is $0.13 per kWh, you can see the monthly cost of operating your air conditioner in the table below.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Window Air Conditioner?

The final price you pay for a window air conditioner will be different depending on the BTUs, watts, kilowatt hours, and hours of use.

A/C Unit (in BTU) for a Window Rates Per Hour, Approximate
Air Conditioner, Window Mounted, 5,000 BTU Rates per hour: $0.065
Cooling System, 8,000 BTU, for a Window Priced at $0.055/hr
Air Conditioner for Windows, 10,000 BTU Spends $0.117/hr on labor costs
The Most Powerful 12,000-BTU Window AC To the tune of $0.143/hr
AC Unit, Window Mounted, 15,000 BTU Rates at $0.195/hr

How Much Does a Window AC Unit Cost Per Month?

It costs $15-$40 per month to operate a window air conditioner on average. The total monthly cost of a window air conditioner is based on factors such as BTU consumption, wattage, and daily usage hours.

A/C Unit (in BTU) for a Window monthly cost estimate
A/C Unit for a Window, 5,000 BTU Fees of $15.60 monthly are assessed.
Portable AC Unit, 8,000 BTU Average monthly fee of $20.40
Air Conditioner, Window Mount, 10,000 BTU Monthly fee of $26.40
Cooling Capacity: 12,000 BTU Fees of $33.60 monthly
15,000-BTU Window AC Unit Monthly fee of $46.80

Check out our top rated window air conditioners list for a more in-depth look at the best window air conditioners available at the lowest prices.

Cooling Systems Suggested for Windows

Browse the Top-Rated Window Air Conditioners on Amazon.com.

Most consumers select between a 5,000 BTU and a 12,000 BTU window air conditioner. These dimensions are standard for the most efficient air conditioners designed for bedrooms and smaller living rooms.

The following are the specific hourly and monthly costs to operate these air conditioner sizes.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a 5,000 BTU Air Conditioner?

It costs about $0.065 per hour to run a 5,000 BTU air conditioner. The daily cost is $0.52 if the air conditioner is used for 8 hours. The average monthly cost of running the air conditioner is $15.60.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a 10,000 BTU Air Conditioner?

Operating costs for a 10,000 BTU air conditioner are roughly $0.11. The daily cost of operating the air conditioner at full capacity, assuming 8 hours of use, is $0.88. It will cost about $26.40 to run the air conditioner for a month.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a 12,000 BTU Air Conditioner?

The average cost to operate a 12,000 BTU air conditioner is $0.14 per hour. The daily cost is $1.12 if the air conditioner is used for 8 hours a day. It will cost about $33.60 to run the air conditioner for a month.

Calculating the Cost of Window Air Conditioner

You’ll need some background info before you can calculate the lifetime cost of a window air conditioner, specifically the following:

  • What the wattage of the air conditioner is.
  • The price in kWh that you’re expected to pay to your power provider every hour. (The median wage across the country is $1.3)
  • How many hours per day the air conditioner will be on.

The following simple formula can be used to calculate the daily and monthly costs of operating a window air conditioner, or you can simply refer to our handy chart below.

Cost Formula

  • watts * 1 * 1 * 1000 * 0.13 * kWH * hourly cost of operation


  • Cost per hour: $0.065 (500 watts x 1 hour / 1,000 x 0.13 (kWH)).
  • An average daily operating cost of $0.52 is calculated as follows: $0.065 x 8 hours.

Average Costs of Running a Window AC Unit

What is the typical cost of a window AC unit?

These are the estimated monthly costs for different sized window air conditioners, assuming the units are used for 8 hours per day and the cost per kilowatt-hour is $0.13.

  • Pricing for a 500-watt unit (5,000 BTUs) is $15.60 monthly.
  • The monthly cost for a 660-watt unit (8,000 BTUs) is $20.40.
  • Cost of one 900-watt unit (10, 000 BTU) per month: $26.40
  • The monthly cost of a 1,100-watt unit (12,00 BTU) is $33.60.
  • A monthly payment of $46.80 for a 1,500-watt unit (15,000 BTU)

Window Air Conditioner Installation Cost

There is a median price of $295 for installing a window AC unit. Installing a window air conditioner can cost anywhere from $138 to $500 on average. You can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $200 in labor on top of the $250 price tag for the unit itself.

FFRE123WA1 in White by Frigidaire in Wilbraham, MA - Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner.

In the US, the mean cost is $295

the norm is between $138 and $500

Price ranges from the low to the high end: $75 to $1,000

Most people can set up their own window air conditioners because they come with everything needed. Therefore, if you’re willing to install the window AC unit yourself, you can save yourself the cost of having it done.

If you need a professional technician or handyman, however, you can pay anywhere from $75 to $150 per hour to pay for their services.

How Much Does A Window AC Unit Cost?

The good news is that the initial investment in a window air conditioner need not put you in the red.

No need to spend a small fortune on a whole-house system or to hire an expensive HVAC expert to set up window air conditioners.

There is a wide range in price for window air conditioners, from about $138 up to $500.

Cooling capacity and energy efficiency are the major contributors to a higher price, but the exact amount depends on a number of factors that we’ll discuss in the following section.

What Factors Affect The Price Of a Window Air Conditioner?

Answering the question “How much is a window air conditioner?” requires considering a number of variables.

In this category are items such as:

  • Heating and Cooling Capacity
  • Saves Money and Reduces Carbon Emissions
  • Features
  • Brand

Cooling Capacity

How much space a window air conditioner can cool is a major factor in determining how much it will cost.

Naturally, the greater the cooling capacity of a window air conditioner, the more energy it will consume and the higher the price will be.

The number of British Thermal Units (BTU) listed on a window air conditioner is a good indicator of its cooling capacity. This is the standard measurement for determining a device’s cooling efficiency.

When shopping for an air conditioner, it’s important to consider the square footage of the room you intend to cool.

Here are some typical BTUs for window air conditioners:

  • 150 square feet (5,000 BTU)
  • 350 square feet (8,000 BTU)
  • The 9,000 BTU (400 square foot)
  • 1,000 square feet or 10,000 BTUs
  • 12,000 British Thermal Units (550 square feet).
  • 730 square feet or 14,000 BTUs.

Naturally, 14,000 BTU window air conditioners will cost more than their 5,000 BTU counterparts because of the increased power they provide.

Getting a properly sized window air conditioner is crucial for effective cooling of your home.

A window air conditioner that is either too small to adequately cool the room or too large for the window can be inefficient and drive up your electricity bill.

Similar principles apply to through-the-wall air conditioners, which are installed into a wall rather than a window and look and function similarly to window air conditioners.

A through-the-wall air conditioner is an option if you value continued window access. Take a look at our best through the wall air conditioner guide to find one that’s right for you.

Energy Efficiency

Another important variable you need to consider when answering the question “How much does a window air conditioner cost?” is the unit’s energy efficiency.

Just because an air conditioner is higher priced, doesn’t mean it’s more energy efficient. In fact, the best way to accurately gauge a window AC unit’s regulation of energy is by checking its Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) or Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio (CEER).

EER is the oldest energy efficiency rating for air conditioners and CEER is the updated version that was put into place by the Department of Energy in 2014.  Both of these numbers are displayed on the Energy Guide label with the AC unit and examples include 10.8, 11, and 12.2.

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

Better energy efficiency comes at a higher initial cost on appliances.


Not all window AC units are made equally. Some are designed with basic functions while others include more advanced features like Wi-Fi capabilities, digital thermostats, and multi-directional fan vents.

Obviously, the more features a window air conditioner has, the higher the price tag.


Another factor for how much does a window AC unit cost is the brand name.

Just like with every product on the market, branding plays a role in how expensive or cheap your window air conditioner will be.

When it comes to window AC units, it’s always best to go with a brand name you can trust or one that has a large market share.

That can better guarantee that you’ll receive a high-quality product and get the customer service you need if something were to go wrong with the unit.

How Much is a Window Air Conditioner in Total?

As you learned, window air conditioners can cost anywhere between $138 to $500, depending on the cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and features of the unit you choose.

Window AC units also cost as little as $0.52 per day to operate for the average person.

So, the total for how much does a window air conditioner cost really depends on the amount of use you want out of the appliance.

Running an air conditioner for eight hours per day is a good average for most people. But, you may want to use it more or less.

Clearly, how much does it cost to run a window air conditioner is a bit harder of a question to answer since there is no concrete number.

However, we hope that the information outlined on this page has helped you determine your best guess for the total window AC unit cost per month and hour of use.

What Factors Affect Your Electricity Usage?

The reason it’s so tricky to give you an exact cost is the different factors that affect your final energy bill.

By understanding these factors, we can better understand how to save on costs.

As well as your specific rate per unit of electricity, there’s four things that determine how much power your air conditioner uses:

  1. Outdoor Temperature.  Trying to make a room 68o while it’s 75o out is no problem. Trying to keep a room at 68o while it’s 90o out?  Big problem.
  2. Indoor Temperature.  Secondary to what the sun’s doing is your starting indoor temperature. If your space is naturally shaded and cool you’ll need much less power than if it’s roasting and in direct sunlight.
  3. Insulation.  This is the big one – but also the most overlooked. Insulation is massive when it comes to separating the air-conditioned temperature of your space to the temperature outside. More insulation means less energy needed to keep your temperature low.
  4. AC Effectiveness.  Finally, we have the air conditioner itself. How effective it is relies upon:
    1. Power. The BTU rating of your AC means faster cooling, usually at the cost of more energy.
    2. Condition. Everything suffers from wear and tear – including air conditioners. There’s a big difference between clogged filters and leaking refrigerants, versus a clean window air conditioner’s efficiency.
    3. Efficiency. Measured via an EER rating, how well your air conditioner turns pure electricity into cooling power. This is where modern units really save on running costs.

Understanding Watts vs Actual Use

Let’s think about the numbers..

Among all the other factors, the reason air conditioners are hard to manage is that the amount of power they use varies a lot.

When your air conditioner is cooling your room at max power, it’s using a ton of electricity. When it’s oscillating on and off to maintain the temperature? It’s uses much less.

This is where Watts and Usage come in.

Wattage is how much electricity the AC uses at maximum power. But it doesn’t tell us how much it uses to maintain temperature.

For example.

A 900W AC uses less electricity per hour than a 1000W AC, right?

But a 1000W AC might cool your room in 20 minutes, while a 900W takes 30 minutes.

And they may both use the same average of 400W to keep your room at that cool temperature.

Gets tricky pretty quick, doesn’t it!

I’ve tried many methods for gauging usage, but the results have been inconsistent at best. Only by testing the unit in your own home can you be sure.

However, there are a number of measures you can take to improve the effectiveness of your air conditioner.

How to Improve Your Window Air Conditioner

You can get the most out of any model you purchase by taking a few steps in addition to purchasing an efficient model.

Some of the best ways to boost a window air conditioner’s efficiency are as follows:

  1. Insulate!  Insulation has a much larger effect on heating and cooling bills than anything else. In general, the greater one’s financial resources, the lower one’s monthly outlays will be.
  2. Raise the temperature. Any increase in temperature will reduce the amount of money spent on air conditioning. If you have the option, experiment with a wider temperature range.
  3. Relax and let it out. Don’t put anything in the area immediately in front of or near the air conditioner. Don’t try to block that view with a couch just because it isn’t a piece of contemporary art and the drapes are open!
  4. Attempt a reset by switching filters. Approximately once every month is ideal.
  5. Keep it under wraps. Reducing the temperature, rather than keeping it constant, is when air conditioners use the most energy. It may be more cost-effective to leave the air conditioner on (at a slightly higher setting) if you’ll be gone for only an hour or two.

To learn more, read through our comprehensive list of 21 ways to maximize the effectiveness of your AC unit.

Can You EER The Savings?

If you want to find a window air conditioner that won’t send your electricity bill through the roof, efficiency should be one of your top priorities. Fortunately, there is only one rating that requires your attention, and that is the CEER score.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Window Air Conditioner?

A combined energy efficiency ratio, or CEER.

While SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is used for central air conditioners, CEER (Comparative Energy Efficiency Ratio) is used for window units. Simply using EER as a metric is now largely irrelevant. When comparing metrics, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, as different metrics measure different things.

The greater the efficiency score, the better. There will be a direct correlation between the efficiency of your AC and the amount of money you save while still getting the desired level of comfort.

The Department of Energy suggests the following minimum ratings for window air conditioners in terms of efficiency:

Requirements for the Barest Minimum of Efficiency in Electrically Operated Room Air Conditioners
Kinds of Tools Input Size Classification No Productivity Gain
AC units with slatted sides for rooms <6,000 Btu/h 12.1 CEER
6,500 and 8,500 Btu/hour 12.1 CEER
The range is between 8,000 and 14,000 Btu/h. 12.0 CEER
(14,000 Btu/h) and (20,000 Btu/h) 11.8 CEER
twenty thousand British thermal units per hour (Btu/h) and twenty eight thousand 10.3 CEER
≥28,000 Btu/h 9.9 CEER
AC units without vents for fresh air flow ≤8,000 Btu/h 11.0 CEER
the equivalent of 8,000 and 11,000 Btu/h 10.6 CEER
ranging between 11,000 and 14,000 Btu/hour 10.5 CEER
the difference between 14,000,000 Btu/h and 20,000 Btu/h 10.2 CEER
≥20,000,000 Btu/h 10.3 CEER


Using a window air conditioner is a great way to save money on cooling costs.

With any luck, this breakdown of costs for a window air conditioner has cleared up any confusion you may have had prior to the start of cooling season. Keep in mind that your electric bill will provide the most precise answer. Is there a foolproof method of reducing that figure? Follow our best-practice guidelines and save money while you shop.

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As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read this. And I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.