How much energy does the average HVAC home system use?

All buildings - residential or commercial - require some level of environmental comfort. Perhaps a heater for the cold months and an air conditioning unit for the hotter months. A better option is the HVAC system. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning) systems provide heating and cooling for houses and still go-ahead to provide an improved quality of air from outdoor fresh air.

Sounds good, yes? Also sounds like a lot of energy consumption, doesn't it? Let's see just how much energy these systems consume.

HVAC System Energy Consumption 

An average HVAC system accounts for about 40% of the building’s total energy consumption.


Within the HVAC system, air circulation and ventilation account for about External link opens in new tab or window34% of the total energy consumption. Cooling accounts for about External link opens in new tab or window27%, heating accounts for External link opens in new tab or window17%. The remaining are accounted for by the hot water circulation pumps and cooling tower fan energy.


The energy consumption of an HVAC system depends on several factors including –


  • The efficiency of each component of the system.
  • The weather conditions of the area.
  • The fuel system used.
  • The type and size of the HVAC system relative to the building.
  • How the owner runs the system.


There are different ways of measuring the exact amount of energy consumed by an HVAC –




This is typically used to determine the amount of energy used by the components of the HVAC. For instance, the average central A.C uses around External link opens in new tab or window318 Watts per hour which is around 228 kWh per month at $27.36 (using the average kWh cost of $0.12/kWh).


However, this depends on the weather conditions. You will not expect to use that much power during the colder months.


Other parameters necessary for determining HVAC energy consumption includes –


Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)


This measures the cooling efficiency of the air conditioning unit or heat pumps.


Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, AFUE


This rates the heating furnace. The higher the AFUE, the greater the efficiency. Also, fuel costs are lower with a high AFUE.


A few other parameters exist; however, wattage takes the crown.


Here’s a quick tip for calculating your general HVAC energy consumption


(Total hours used * watts usage in 1 hour) / 1000 kWh


Multiply the value to the electricity cost of one kWh (13.2 cents).


The value you get is your energy consumption cost.


How to save or cut down on HVAC energy costs


  • Change how you run the system. Be a bit more strategic. Perhaps, turn on the AC only when it's hot as opposed to running at full capacity always.
  • Try to regulate the amount of outside air the heater takes up. This can be done by using a central system that ensures the outside air intake matches occupancy levels.
  • Thermal Energy Storage (TES) - this is an ingenious way of cooling a building with ice. Click External link opens in new tab or windowhere for more information on TES technology.
  • Better HVAC practices - controlling the speed of your HVAC electric motors will help you save on energy consumption.
  • Also, ensuring the entire unit is properly maintained and repaired in case of damage ensures they work more efficiently and use less energy.

Ultimately, your comfort levels matter. But that doesn't mean you should break the bank to get that. Calculate how much you spend on energy at home and find ways to cut down on energy costs while maximizing your HVAC system.


If you need any more HVAC advice, support, or service, reach out to External link opens in new tab or windowShriver Mechanical or call 770-975-1927!