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How much does it actually cost to run your air conditioner?

CBS 8 did the math and we learned that cooling down will really cost you.

SAN DIEGO — As the heat wave hits San Diego county, people are debating if they should turn on their AC.

Energy saving tips tell you to leave your thermostat set to 78 degrees but what if 78 degrees is still too hot? How long you can run that AC depends on which billing rate you have with SDG&E.

Billing plans

If you're on the time-of-day billing plan, your biggest goal is to not run your AC between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. which includes the hottest part of the day. This may work for some but not for all.

Another option is the tiered billing system where your energy use is measured throughout the month. 

If you stay in the sweet spot of 0-361 kilowatt hours of usage, you only have to pay .39 cents per kilowatt hour. 

Anywhere between 362 and 1,112 kilowatt-hours, you're paying 49 cents per kilowatt hour. 

Anything above 362 and 1,112 kilowatt-hours, you're considered a high usage customer and you're paying .49 cents per kilowatt-hour anyway. Not much of a break there.

How long should you run your AC and what does it cost?

That's where EnergyUseCalculator.com comes in. It's an energy use calculator that you can find on the internet with a simple google search that does the work for you.

CBS 8 did the math. by typing in eight hours a day. Most central ACs use 3000 to 5000 watts of power.

For our example, CBS 8 computed for a 3500 watt AC. Remember, yours may be higher or lower. 

CBS 8 also computed for the price of 39 cents. That comes out to nearly $11 dollars for one day and a little more than $330 that month. 

Keep in mind, that's just for your AC. No other appliances, TVs, computers or household electronics are included.

Let's get to the heart of the problem. Energy rates on online energy calculators are set to .10 cents per kilowatt hour. Here in San Diego, there's a price to paradise and we're paying .39 cents and that's only if you use less than 1,100 kilowatt-hours.

WATCH RELATED: SDG&E customer wants answers after being charged for neighbor's electricity bills (Feb. 2022).


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