Photo of Paper with Charts on a DeskOnce the summer hits, many of us love to crank our air conditioners as a way to cool down.

Being stuck in a hot, sticky home or office is not fun for anyone.

While air conditioning was once considered a luxury item, it has now become a staple in almost every home in the United States, and with many other countries quickly catching up with this metric.

To help shine some light how air conditioner use has changed over the decades, the amount of energy it consumes and how much it costs to cool down our homes, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of air conditioning facts and statistics.

This list of compiled statistics is the largest and most consolidated resource of its kind.

How do we know this? Because, we scoured the Internet to find all of the air conditioning statistics available!

Feel free to share these facts on your own website, through social media, in presentations, etc. We only ask that you kindly place a reference link back to this web page so that others can make use of these statistics too.

AC Facts and Statistics

  • A 2009 survey showed that 87% of U.S. homes have some form of air conditioning. In 1993, only 68% of all occupied housing units had AC.1
  • In the U.S., it’s more common to have an air conditioning unit that a garage, dishwasher or even dining room.9
  • 18% of households below the poverty line do not have any air conditioning equipment at all.1
  • About a third of households below the poverty line use room air conditioning compared to 15% of households with an income above $100,000.1
  • Only 42% of homeowners call a professional to perform routine maintenance on their air conditioning system. Of those who do, 40% of those air conditioners have a longer lifespan.1
  • Air conditioners emit 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. This averages out to be about 2 tons per home.2
  • Up until the last part of the 20th century, air conditioning systems used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as their refrigerant. In 1995, CFC production was stopped because it destroyed the Earth’s ozone. In the 1980s, halogenated CFCs (HCFCs) were developed as a replacement, but these are also causing damage to the ozone. An eco-friendly replacement for HCFCs is expected by 2030.2
  • In the U.S., households in the South, Midwest and West are most likely to use a central air conditioning system, while those in the Northeast use a room air conditioner.1 (Examples include a window air conditioner and ventless portable air conditioner units.)
  • In the Southern states, 67% of central air conditioning is used all summer long.1
  • Turning on the air conditioner in a hybrid gas-electric vehicle results is a greater loss of gas mileage and vehicle range. Depending on air conditioner load, MPG can drop between 6-40% and vehicle range is reduced between 9-38%.5
  • 6% of all electricity produced in the United States is from residential air conditioning.2
  • Homeowners in the U.S. spend an estimated $29 billion dollars on air conditioning costs.2
  • A programmable thermostat can save up to $180 in air conditioning costs each year.6
  • Due to higher temperatures in the summer, electricity demand is 10-22% higher than in the winter.7
  • In the U.S., 5.5% of passenger vehicle fuel is used for running an air conditioner.8
  • The average household spends about $300 each year on air conditioning and refrigeration.
  • In 1990, 1% of Chinese households had an air conditioner compared to 62% in 2003.3
  • In 2010 alone, 50 million air conditioning units were sold in China.3
  • In 2007, only 2% of India households had an air conditioner, but sales are estimated to grow by 20% each year.3
  • In households with central air conditioning, CO2 emissions can be reduced by adjusting the thermostat. For each degree it’s set above 72 F, 120 pounds of CO2 emissions can be eliminated.4

Note: We are adding additional air conditioning facts and statistics to this list as we find them. Continue to come back to this page to find more statistics on air conditioners.


References

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[1] U.S. Energy Information Administration. Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/reports/2009/air-conditioning.php

[2] U.S. Department of Energy. Air Conditioning. https://energy.gov/energysaver/air-conditioning

[3] American Scientist. Will AC Put a Chill on the Global Energy Supply? https://www.americanscientist.org/article/will-ac-put-a-chill-on-the-global-energy-supply

[4] National Public Radio. The Energy Costs of Cooling and Heating a Home. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13941744

[5] Farrington R. and Rugh J. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Impact of Vehicle Air Conditioning on Fuel Economy, Tailpipe Emissions, and Electric Vehicle Range. September 2000. NREL/CP-540-28960. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28960.pdf

[6] Energy Star. Program Your Thermostat for Energy Savings.  https://www.energystar.gov/about/newsroom/the-energy-source/program-your-thermostat-for-energy-savings-

[7] U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. Energy Consumption. https://toolkit.climate.gov/topics/energy-supply-and-use/energy-consumption

[8] Rugh, J., Hovland, V., and Andersen, S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Significant Fuel Savings and Emission Reductions by Improving Vehicle Air Conditioning. https://www.nrel.gov/transportation/assets/pdfs/etf_ac_fuel_use.pdf

[9] CityLab. What if the Rest of the World Used as Much Air Conditioning as Americans? https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2013/08/what-if-rest-world-used-much-air-conditioning-americans-do/6498/