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How Much Does It Cost To Run A 8000 BTU Air Conditioner?

Average National Cost
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RS Means construction materials database.
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$80–$100 per month

Find costs near you.

Updated On

May 10, 2024

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Are you wondering how much it will cost to run an 8,000 BTU air conditioner? If so, you are not alone.

Many people want to know how much it costs to run an alternative cooling system like a portable ac unit or window air conditioner. These systems can be a massive help during the summer if your central air conditioner breaks. They can also help to make a few rooms colder without cooling your entire home. 

If you want to save money by using your home’s AC less, you need to know if using a window unit saves you money. The short answer is, it depends on several factors, including the size of the space you are trying to cool, your kilowatt-per-hour electricity rate, and how cold you want the space. 

Here is some information to help you figure out what your specific energy costs will be for running an 8,000 BTU air conditioner. We’ll cover the following:

  • How much it costs to run an 8,000 BTU air conditioner
  • What air conditioning units are the most energy-efficient
  • How to increase the efficiency of your window unit or portable air conditioner
  • How many square feet a room air conditioner with an 8,000 BTU rating can cool
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HVAC Installation
In general, you can expect to pay between $5,540 to $10,980 per HVAC unit, installation costs, and removal of your old unit.
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In general, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $7,000, including installation, old furnace removal, and labor.
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Heat Pump Installation
In general, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $35,000, but most homeowners spend between $5,800 and $7,500.

What Is a BTU Rating? 

BTU ratings or British Thermal Units tell consumers how much cooling power an air conditioner has. These ratings are not strictly for air conditioners though. 

They are used as a measure of power for many different devices, and the measurement signifies how much energy it takes to heat a pound of water at sea level by 1 degree Celsius.

How Many Square Feet Can Your 8,000 BTU AC Cool?

If you put an 8,000 BTU air conditioner in a room that the unit does not have the cooling capacity for, it can lead to high electricity bills, and the unit will struggle to maintain the ambient temperature. 

So, you need to know how many square feet your unit is capable of cooling. An 8,000 BTU air conditioner is able to cool a 350 square foot space (the size of an average hotel room) in under an hour and comfortably maintain the temperature.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay In Electricity Costs For Your Air Conditioner?

Energy costs for running your 8,000 BTU unit depend on several factors. Your kilowatt-hour electricity rate, how often you run the unit, the wattage of your device, what temperature you want the room, the size of the room you are cooling, and how well you maintain your unit.

A machine with low refrigerant levels and a dirty air filter will not cool air as effectively as a window ac unit that has been maintained well. 

However, to give you an idea of the energy costs you may experience we are going to assume that you are cooling a 350-square-foot room. You then need to figure out how many amps your unit uses. 

For an 8,000 BTU unit, you are looking at around 6 amps. You then have to multiply the amps times the voltage of your unit. 

So, for a 120v system, you would multiply 6 amps by 120v which gives you 720 watts. Then, you have to divide the watts by 1,000 to get the kilowatt-per-hour rate. 

So, for a 720-watt unit, you are looking at a kWh rate of .72. Then multiply the kwH rate times the rate per kWh you pay for electricity. 

Electricity rates differ across the country. However, in the United States, the average rate is 13 cents. So, you must multiply the kwH by the rate you pay. 

In this case, you would multiply .72 by .13 cents per kWh. The result is 0.0936. 

You then have to multiply that by the number of hours you will use the unit each month. If you want to cool your home by around 25 to 30 degrees, you will need to run the unit around 80 percent of the time. 

There are 730 hours in a month. If you run the unit 80 percent of the time, you will be using it 584 hours a month. So, you are looking at an overall energy expense for your 8,000 BTU air conditioner of around $54.66 per month.

Related: How Much Do Trane Air Conditioning Units Cost?

Are Units With A Higher BTU Rating More Effective?

The truth is, the higher the BTU rating a unit has, the more area it is able to cool. However, bigger is not always better. 

The more BTU your unit produces, the more energy it consumes. So, if you are worried about high energy costs, you should get a unit that is appropriate for your space.

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Is An 8,000 BTU Unit Appropriate For Your Needs? 

An 8,000 BTU window AC or portable air conditioner is capable of cooling most standard bedrooms and offices. If you want to cool a larger space or multiple rooms, an 8,000 BTU air conditioner does not have enough power. 

Trying to use a less powerful unit in a larger space will not help you save on energy costs, because the unit will struggle to cool the space meaning it will have to run continually. That means higher electricity bills for you.

Running a unit that is too powerful for your space can also cause issues with the unit. Air conditioners need a supply of warm air to work properly. 

For an overview of some of the best portable AC units available, check out this video:

How Can You Increase The Energy Efficiency Of Your Air Conditioner?

Even if you run your 8,000 BTU unit constantly, it should not cost more than $80 to $100 per month. That is affordable for most people, but there are a few things you can do to decrease the amount of power your unit consumes.

Turn It Off When You Are Not Home

On a central HVAC, you can save on your electric bill by turning the thermostat up in your home slightly when you are not going to be home for a while. Shutting the unit off completely actually costs some homeowners more because the AC electricity usage is higher when you turn it back on, so you should read up on whether it is cheaper to keep your AC on all day or not. 

An 8,000 BTU window air conditioner unit can cool a 350-square-foot room quickly. So, you can turn your room air conditioner off when you leave without it taking a long time for your room to be comfortable again.  

Use Your AC As A Dehumidifier Or Air Purifier

If your unit has dehumidifier or air purifier functionality, switch it to one of those modes for a while each day. When you switch air conditioner use to one of these other modes, your AC does not use as much electricity, but the fan still runs so the air in your home circulates. 

While this might not be a huge saving each month, over time, you will save on operating costs. 

Use Your Remote Control

Most portable air conditioners and window units made today come with remote control. Using the remote to control the temperature might help you keep air conditioner costs down. 

An 8,000 BTU cools a small room quickly. It is likely that you would be comfortable turning the thermostat up but if you have to get up to do it you might just leave the unit where it is set, increasing the total cost of operating your AC. 

Pay Attention To CEER 

Energy Star regulates the energy efficiency of portable air conditioners and requires manufacturers to follow a specific set of guidelines on specs. The details manufacturers are required to provide are meant to give consumers the information they need to make an informed decision. 

Combined energy efficiency ratio (CEER) and an energy efficiency rating (EER) are given to each product. The CEER cannot be any lower than the low EER. Furthermore, in order for a portable air conditioner or window unit to receive an Energy Star recommendation, it must have an energy saver mode. 

You can further enhance the energy efficiency of your air conditioner by making sure to regularly service it and promptly address any maintenance issues that arise. Consider signing up for an affordable HVAC home warranty to cover all your AC repair needs.

Final Advice On Running Your 8,000 BTU Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners can be a lifesaver if your home does not have a central air conditioner or if your HVAC is not working properly. A home warranty is a great way to protect your home’s AC. 

There are also plans that cover electronic devices like window AC units. These protection packages can save you operating costs when your unit needs repairs and even save you money on some maintenance.

Ready to invest in a new air conditioner? Get installation quotes from top names in the HVAC industry:

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Alexis Bennett

Alexis Bennett


Alexis is a freelance writer with nearly a decade of experience covering the home services industry. She’s built considerable expertise in roofing, plumbing, and HVAC, as well as general construction and real estate matters. In her free time, Alexis enjoys coaching women’s golf. She lives in the Triad area of North Carolina.

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Andrew Dunn

Senior Editor

Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting and editing for local and national publications, including The Charlotte Observer and Business North Carolina magazine. His work has been recognized numerous times by the N.C. Press Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He is also a former general contractor with experience with cabinetry, finish carpentry and general home improvement and repair. Andrew earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a certificate in business journalism. He lives in Charlotte, N.C.

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