If you live in Phoenix, you probably know that summers here can be very expensive. Temperatures can climb as high as 105°, which will send even the most seasoned Phoenicians running for the thermostat and may even cause your air conditioner to fire up when left unchecked. In this post, we’ll take a look at the average electric bill in Phoenix during the summer. We’ll also give you some tips on how to reduce your energy expenditure this time of year.
Average Electric Bill in Phoenix During the Summer
According to Electricity Local, Phoenix residents pay an average of 11.96 cents per kWh of electricity. As you’ll recall from our post on air conditioner energy consumption, Arizona’s blazing summers play a very large role in that comparatively high figure (see stats from across the United States here).
With that in mind, it’s not uncommon to see your electricity bill more than double during the summer months. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one-quarter of all household energy consumption in the state of Arizona goes towards air conditioning. That’s quadruple the national average!
Unfortunately, however, determining the average electric bill in Phoenix during the summer is tricky given a lack of specific data. We can speak empirically, however, having been servicing air conditioners in Phoenix for more than 35 years. People living in 2,000 square foot homes (just slightly larger than the city’s average of about 1,600) typically spend within the ballpark of $450 per month during the peak summer months.
How Much is the Average Electric Bill in Arizona?
Now, if you’ve stumbled onto this page because you’re considering moving to Arizona, don’t let these numbers scare you. The state makes up for these expensive summers in the form of mild winters (if you can even really call them that). The temperature almost never dips below 40 and your lower-than-average heating costs will help even out your monthly bills to an annual average of $128. That’s still higher than the country’s $111 per month average but nowhere near what newcomers might expect after witnessing our astronomical summer cooling costs.
Average Electric Bill in an Arizona Apartment
Apartments are, unsurprisingly, easier to cool during the summer months than houses. You might even be able to get away with just one window air conditioner if you live in a particularly small place. To be on the conservative side (once again, we’re relying on empirical data here), you might pay anywhere from $200 to $250 during the summer months and well below $100 for heating during the cooler season.
In other words, the average electric bill in a Phoenix apartment will still be comprised largely of air conditioning costs but at a much more proportional rate. Some residents prefer using heat pumps over air conditioners to lower the indoor unit costs.
How to Lower Your Summer Energy Costs in Phoenix
There’s no denying that paying $450 or more per month on electricity alone is quite prohibitive for some people. Rather than taking on debt or forcing your family to suffer through the sweltering heat, try some of these strategies for slashing that bill.
#1. Upgrade Your AC
Newer air conditioners such as Trane HVAC units come with much higher efficiency ratings (know in the industry as SEER ratings). They’ll cost you much less to run, making their higher upfront cost more than worth it in our experience. Older air conditioners have SEER ratings as low as 8 or 9, whereas newer ones in the American Southwest must have a minimum rating of 14.
#2. Clean and Maintain Your AC Regularly
Even a brand new air conditioner won’t achieve peak efficiency if you don’t take care of it properly. Based on our expertise, that means getting it serviced at least twice annually. Now, that might seem like overkill. But over the course of your air conditioner’s lifespan, you’ll find that these regular appointments uncover hard-to-spot issues that decrease your air conditioner’s efficiency and cost you even more in unexpected repairs.
Aside from having a professional service your unit twice yearly, there are several things you should be doing yourself regularly. Chief among these is cleaning your AC filter as clogging can severely impact airflow. Check out this post for some more tips on cleaning.
#3. Pay Attention to Your Home’s Insulation
Poor insulation (particularly in your ductwork) can send your electricity bills skyrocketing in the summer. As part of your bi-annual inspections, a professional should gauge whether you might be having this issue and take steps to remedy it if so.
#4. Automate Your Thermostat as Much as Possible
Little-known-fact: Adjusting your thermostat frequently can increase your electricity bill more than you might think. There’s really no need to be tweaking the dial constantly, anyway. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78° when you’re at home. Automate a higher temperature when you’re not home (but don’t switch the unit off completely). In the other hand, adjusting your water heater settings can have the opposite positive effect if you set it to maximize efficiency.
It’s also worth mentioning that setting your air conditioner to full blast won’t help cool your home down faster. This is a common misconception people have that’s rooted in a complete misunderstanding of how air conditioners work. The temperature you set on your thermostat does not represent how cool the air will be when it leaves your air conditioner. Rather, it is a target room temperature that your air conditioner will attempt to reach. The air coming out of your vents will only ever be 15-20 degrees cooler than when it entered. All you’re doing by cranking the thermostat up is prompting the unit to run more cycles. Check out this post to learn more.
#5. Use Blackout Curtains Where Possible
You probably don’t occupy every single room of your house at once during summer. Use blackout curtains in the ones that are vacant to limit the effects of the hot Phoenix sun. You can always just open the curtains when you need to use that room.
#6. Budget Billing
Phoenix’s huge swings in electricity costs can be hard to budget for, particularly if you’ve moved here from a place with a less extreme climate. Budget Billing from Arizona Public Service Electric can even that out and have you pay a more consistent and predictable rate each month. The service will review your electricity usage throughout the year and give you an average monthly quote. It’s a really handy feature for those who are eligible. It won’t reduce your annual amount but rather ease the burden during the summer months.
If you have the qualifications, take a moment to look at our Phoenix careers service plumber listing