Anyone who’s opened an eye-popping energy bill in the middle of winter or one for air conditioning in the summer has probably wondered which system costs more to operate.

According to analyses, it’s no comparison: heating your home requires four times more energy in the US than cooling your home. However, several variables might change the equation for you.

Find out what makes a difference when it comes to heating or cooling your home.

Is Heat More Expensive Than AC?

Yes, heating your home costs more than cooling it, though homeowners in warm climates spend more on air conditioning since they use their AC much more of the year and their heating system much less often.

For any given home, the bigger the difference between the indoor thermostat setting and the outdoor temperature, the more often the HVAC system will run, raising the energy bill.

In the northern part of the United States, the difference in winter between where we set our thermostat (typically 65 to 75 degrees) and the outdoor temperature (often below freezing) is greater than in the summer. A difference of 30+ degrees (indoor temperature setting vs. outdoor temperature) during the winter means our heating systems turn on more often and run longer than our air conditioning systems operate during the summer.

Why Heating Takes More Energy

By design, home heating systems work harder.

Heating air is energy intensive. By contrast, air conditioners remove heat from the air.

Since ACs run on electricity and heating systems run on different fuels (electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, or propane), regional differences and market fluctuations in the retail cost of electricity and fossil fuels also impact the difference in cost.

Does Air Conditioning Cost More Than Heat in the South? 

The United States is a northern hemisphere country, which means most Americans live thousands of miles north of the equator. However, homeowners in warmer states like Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Arizona spend more annually on air conditioning costs than on heating. These states account for 20% of American households.

Even if a warm-state household pays more for air conditioning than heat, they’re still getting a better deal. A typical central air AC system is 3.6 to 4 times more efficient than the average heating system.

Air Conditioning Use Is Increasing

Even though air conditioner manufacturers have improved the efficiency of their products over the past several years, air conditioning demand is on the rise. More than 80% of American homes now have at least some kind of AC system.

Population shifts to warmer states are also impacting air conditioning use. As a result, more people in more homes are using air conditioning more often.

Climate change is also a factor. The national average temperature is rising along with the frequency and intensity of heatwaves. This further increases the need for AC even in parts of the country that may not have used their air conditioners consistently in years past.

Luckily, AC technology has improved. Products like variable-speed air conditioners can reduce energy consumption by up to 30%.

Make Energy Efficiency a Priority No Matter Where You Live 

Whether your home faces long, cold winters or scorching summers (or both), One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning can help you take control of your energy expenses. Learn more ways to improve your energy efficiency, schedule regular HVAC maintenance, or get fast, expert emergency service all in one place.

Call (800) 893-3523 or request your appointment with a One Hour technician today!