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Factors that Impact Central Air Conditioning Costs


An air conditioner is a major purchase so it makes sense to do research before you buy. A free in-home consultation can also provide insight to help inform your decision.


Natural Resources Canada explains a number of factors affecting the operating cost of an air conditioner:


  • geographical location of the house
  • variance of weather conditions from year to year
  • efficiency rating of the air conditioner (SEER or EER)
  • thermostat setting
  • number of occupants in the house
  • habits of people in the house – if windows are open or closed; if window shading is used; and frequency of appliance, cooking and lighting use
  • local cost of electricity


They also provide a complex formula for estimating annual energy costs. For more information, click here.


In addition, here are some other factors to consider when you buy:


For the best results when choosing a central air conditioner, your contractor should do a load calculation, which determines the amount of cooling your system must provide to offer sufficient comfort. The load calculation will figure in the size of the home, the window square footage, the insulation levels and several other factors. If you install an air conditioner that is too large, it will cycle on and off too often, substantially reducing the efficiency of the system. A system that is too large also loses the ability to dehumidify, which will make your home feel hotter and less comfortable. Too small, and your air conditioner may not be able to meet the demands of a hot, humid day.


Operation costs can be mediated by how you use the unit. Setting the thermostat slightly higher, around 25°C, can make a difference. Using a humidifier or exhaust fan after showering and activating the range hood while cooking can reduce the work the conditioner needs to do.


While some basic maintenance can be done yourself, most air conditioning repair should be done by a professional. In addition, having annual checks even when there is nothing wrong helps prevent future problems, extend the life of the unit and reduce cooling costs. Annual checks often involve filter, coil and fan cleaning, all of which help the unit to operate at an optimum level.


There may be rebates available, depending on your province. If you reside in Ontario, our post on Ontario rebates available can help.


Reliance offers monthly HVAC promotions. Check your local homepage to see the deal this month.

Pre-existing Infrastructure

Again, homes with existing ductwork mean less labour time and cost for installation. In addition, your electrical service may need to increase to cope with the increased electricity load of the air conditioner.

Along with this article, Reliance has a number of other articles to help you decide which system is right for you:



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