AC Or Heater – What Uses More Electricity And Why? [How To Lower The Cost Of Heating & Cooling]

Blog, Electrical & HVAC

In the home, we use different appliances every day. The air conditioning unit and the heater happen to be among the most used appliances. But what uses more electricity, the AC or the heater?

Generally, the heater uses more electricity than the AC. This is because the heater needs to generate heat constantly, and this takes up quite a lot of electricity. Unlike AC, which requires less electricity to regulate heat,

I believe many questions are going through your mind now, even doubting them. To answer your questions, I will give a full breakdown of how it is that heater uses more electricity than AC. So, let’s get started.

Which uses more electricity – The AC or the heater?

It may come as a surprise to you, but the fact is that the heater uses more electricity than the AC. A study shows that northern cities (e.g., Minneapolis) use more electricity than southern cities (e.g., Miami). This research was done in a relative comparison of the usage of air conditioners in the summer vs. heaters in the winter.

Why does the heater use more electricity than the AC?

The general theory is that the heater requires more electricity to create heat.

To further explain, let’s look at it this way. The AC’s job is to suck out warm or hot air from the atmosphere. It is important to remember that cold is just the absence of heat; the AC doesn’t create cold rather it sucks out the heat.

On the other hand, when you need to heat a room, the heater doesn’t suck out the cold. Instead, the heater has to create heat to fill the room continually, and this requires more electricity.

To support this point, the study above mentioned that it takes about 3.5 times more electricity to heat a room than to cool it. Shocking right?

Does it mean you’ll always have a higher heating bill?

Not particularly. As I mentioned earlier, the study was carried out between northern and southern cities. That is to say that climate plays a role in which of the two will take more electricity from your home. 

Additionally, other aspects or factors could still affect how much you spend on either of these two. Some of these will be discussed in this section.

1. Where you reside

If you live in hot areas like Florida, it would be no surprise that you’ll spend more money on cooling than heating. This is because the temperature is mostly hot, unlike that of someone who lives in cold areas like Alaska. So, you can see that the area you live in can play a huge part in how much you spend on heating and cooling.

2. Your personal preference

Everyone has their own definition of a perfect weather condition. You may find the temperature of your house perfect, but a visitor might find it too hot or chilly.

So, even if others in your area spend more on one, it might be different for you. Therefore, your personal preference also plays a huge role in how much you’ll spend on cooling and heating.

3. How your home is insulated, and the heating efficiency

Depending on how well your home is insulated, you could pay more or less for heating and cooling. Let’s look at it this way: if you have a window AC unit in a room that is not properly sealed. You are likely to spend more electricity to cool your home.

Likewise, if your heating unit is not efficient, you will spend more electricity heating your room. This is why it is essential to have your appliances serviced occasionally for better efficiency and your home properly insulated.

Can you lower the cost of heating and cooling?

Yes, you can. Certain practices can help you lower the cost of heating and cooling. I will highlight 3 of the best.

1. Make sure your home is properly insulated

Think of it as trying to fill water in a bucket when there’s a leak. The same applies to your home; if there is a leak, the heat or the AC escapes. You’ll keep spending more electricity as they are not working efficiently. So, take a step back and evaluate your home to ensure there is no weak point or leakage.

2. Check your AC and heating unit

Just like I mentioned leaks in the section above, the same applies to your AC and heating unit. Evaluate their performance from time to time, and if the efficiency drops, it is best to get it serviced.

3. Change your habits

Although it may be hard, in the long run, it may prove effective. Try tolerating your home with the degrees dropped a bit lower. Every little bit will help you save money in the long run. Additionally, installing a house fan in your home could help you save a bit on costs.


Does the heater use a lot of electricity?

Yes, it does. Studies show that the heater uses about 1.5 Kilowatts of electricity per hour.

Is It cheaper to run AC or a fan?

A fan is generally cheaper to run than an AC.


Studies show that a heater uses more electricity than an AC. This is because heaters require more electricity to create the heat needed to regulate the cold. Unlike AC which only needs to suck out the hot air.

If you have been struggling with heating and cooling bills, you can lower the cost by adopting some practices. This includes insulating your home properly, regularly servicing your AC and heating unit to allow efficient performance, or adopting the use of fans.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. You might also find this article “Can You Plug the Air Conditioner Into the Power Strip Or Surge Protector?” interesting.

Thanks for reading.

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