Ask G

Ask G: Running costs of air conditioning

Here's how your cooling solutions stack up

What are the running costs of the various types of cooling? We live in Queensland and have moisture problems so I'll probably get an air conditioner anyway, but I'm interested to know the comparative costs.

Peter, QLD

Pile of Australian $50 notes

The costs of being cool: how do your options stack up?

Credit: iStockphoto

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Cooling costs depend on a number of things, such as your local climate and the design of your house. So what follows is a rough guide, based on Sustainability Victoria's four hours' cooling per day and electricity costs of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Electric fans are the cheapest to run, costing about $1.60 per month.

Evaporative cooling is about $6.50 per month for a portable model, up to about $23 to $34 per month for a ducted system.

A wall- or window-mounted or a split system air conditioner costs $42 to $47 per month (one- to two-star rated models) and $30 to 35 for more efficient (four- to six-star rated) models.

Ducted air conditioning costs about $71 to $102 per month, but the ability to control separate zones can drop this down to $37 to $55 per month.