Does Home AC Use Gas or Electricity?

March 26th, 2023

Most people know that AC units are powered by electricity. Confusion between fuel sources may arise because refrigerant gas is also an integral part of a home’s cooling system and some people refer to air conditioning systems erroneously as “gas-powered”.

All AC systems require an electricity supply to power the components and gas to cool the air (but not natural gas).

Let’s take a closer look at how electricity and gas work together to enable AC systems to cool homes…

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Does home AC use gas or electricity?

For a home AC system to function properly, it needs refrigerant gas and an electricity supply.  Gas-powered air conditioner units don’t exist; an electrical supply is essential to power all components within the air conditioning unit. 

A refrigerant gas serves another key purpose in the cooling process. Either freon (R-22) or Puron (R-410-A) enables the heat transfer process that occurs when AC cools the air in the home (it’s also used in refrigerators).

We should note that freon is no longer produced in the U.S. due to environmental considerations. AC systems that use freon can still be recharged from stockpiles of this gas but Puron is used in all new ACs, which also offer better energy efficiency and reliability.

How does a home AC work?

To better understand the interplay between gas and electricity in a functioning air conditioning system, consider the following:

An air conditioning system cools the air by using refrigerant gas and an evaporator to chill the indoor air. The process utilizes the unique physical properties of refrigerant, which easily condenses and evaporates with pressure variations (produced by a compressor).

The refrigerant absorbs heat as it converts to a gas. This gas is then pressurized by the compressor and cooled for conversion back to a liquid again. The heat produced is released outside the home and the inside air is cooled.

This constant process of heat transfer through evaporation and condensation requires the right equipment, the right gas, an electrical supply, and the free flow of air in the right directions. This must all work together in a delicate balance for a home cooling system to be effective.

New home AC units and greater energy efficiency

In the U.S., the drive for more energy-efficient home appliances has been a feature of modern life for decades. As utility bills continue to rise, this focus remains and, in Florida, nothing uses more energy than air conditioning.

Since 2023, all new central AC units were required to have a minimum energy efficiency rating of 15 SEER. Single-packaged air conditioners must be 14 SEER or above.

SEER refers to the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, a measure of how efficiently the system uses energy.

HVAC systems made in the early 2000s typically had SEER rates closer to 10 or 12. So, by upgrading to a new AC system, you will increase efficiency considerably as well as reliability.

Simply upgrading from a 10-SEER to a 14-SEER system can result in air conditioning costs being reduced by over 25 percent.

How much electricity does AC use?

In Florida, AC costs are high. Homeowners use air conditioning a LOT because of our wonderful climate.

Electricity accounts for over 90 percent of all energy usage in Florida (compared with the national average of 41.3 percent). HVAC equipment accounts for much of this—over 40 percent of the total energy bill in the home

Almost 90 percent of Florida homes use a central air-conditioning system, i.e. the air is cooled in a central location and forced through the rooms using ductwork.

If you’re examining utility bills and trying to figure out why the electricity usage is higher than expected, central air conditioning is a prime suspect. AC systems in Florida homes consume over four times more electricity than the national average for cooling systems.

How much gas does a home AC use?

Once your AC system is “charged” with refrigerant gas, it should not need re-charging unless there is a leak. Air conditioning units are closed systems and should be sealed so that the gas cannot escape.

If you need to recharge your unit, you’ll also need professional AC repairs to fix the leak.

AC installations, tune-ups, and repairs in SWFL

Air conditioning systems and their components are powered by electricity but use refrigerant gas to cool the air.

If anything is out of balance in this cooling system or the power supply has problems, cooling issues can arise in your home.

If you’re in SWFL and have any issues with your cooling system, contact One Way Air to arrange a full inspection and fix.

Need A Free Estimate?

Still have questions about your next air conditioner? Let us help you choose an air conditioner you’ll be excited for.

Need A Free Estimate?

Still have questions about your next air conditioner? Let us help you choose an air conditioner you’ll be excited for.

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