I have 2 window units:
1. an 18,000btu 220V
2. a 10,000btu 110V
I remember reading somewhere that, while obviously bigger & more powerful,
the 18K unit is cheaper to run because it's 220V.
This is counter-intuitive but does anyone know?
Most likely the bigger unit will be cheaper to run. Even if it uses
less amps, the power consumption will be higher because the voltage is
higher. Power is volts times amps times power factor. The power
factor applies to loads with motors, like the compressor and fan
motors. The power factor should be between 0.9 and 0.95 for both
units. so all you need for comparison is the volts times amps for both
units. Ideally, you should measure that whle the units are running,
not go to the nameplate. The amp rating is the maxmum amps, not the
normal running amps. My heat pump is rated 12.0 amps, but normally
draws about 6 to 8 amps when running.
That said, if your load is 1-1/2 tons, you will need the bigger unit to
cool the space. If the bigger unit is more efficient (Hgher EER) it
could be cheaper to operate than two smaller units.
A question that sounds easy, but is complex.
Let's start with your question about using less power. If you mean how
much total electrical power (and cost) it uses per minute while it is in
cooling mode, you will need to check the number of amps and multiply the
220V (likely 240V) times to and then compare them.
Of course this does not really help since one will be producing more
cooling than the other. Generally the larger units are more efficient using
less total electricity to produce the same amount of benefit and thereby
often run less long so over a 24 hour period they may use less total
While it is often true that a 240V unit will be more efficient than a
120V unit it is not always the case. New units should carry a SER number,
higher is better. The SER number tells you how efficient a unit is at in
test situations and fairly compares units using different voltages.
Finally it is not all about cooling. Humidity control is also
important. Have a unit that is too large can short cycle and not be able to
remove enough moisture from the air to be comfortable.
Very simply put, a 220V unit does not use less electricity than a 110V
unit. It does run more efficiently though than a 110V, which in turn
saves you electricity.
When you pay your electric bill, you pay for watts. The electric
company couldn't care less how much volts or amps you use. It's watts
they are interested in. So now lets compare apples to apples for a
Lets say you have 2 identical 10,000 BTU A/C's. One is 110V rated at 10
amps, while the other is 220V rated at 5 amps ( as a rule of
electricity if you double the voltage , the current will decrease by
Now as the other poster stated. Watts=V*A. So both units in theory use
1.1KW. But because the 110V unit uses 10 amps, there is more of a
voltage drop across the electrical wires from the breaker panel to the
A/C. Resulting in reduced voltage at the outlet, which makes the A/C
run less efficient. But the 220V unit only uses half the amps,
resulting in less voltage drop, less heat across wires, more efficient.
So to answer your question, the 18,000 BTU in all likelyhood does use
more electricity than the 10,000 BTU because it is a bigger unit, not
because it is a 220V unit.
I vote for the lower BTU unit every time. But that is assuming that
the EER is approximately the same for the two units. Always shop for
and buy the highest EER you can find.
My window units are about 11.0 EER. Normally, the cheapo units are
220 units might be a couple of percent less power at the most. Not
that much of a difference.
This is Turtle.
In No way is a 16k window unit cheaper to run than a 10K window unit, Period !
If you had a 16k btu window unit and another 16K btu window unit and all were
the same but one was a 110 volt unit and the other was a 220 volt unit. there
will be NO cost difference between running either one. The ideal of a difference
is a Myth of the electric world.
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