How much electrical energy does your air compressor use?

Published: 23rd June 2011
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How much does your air compressor cost you in electrical energy?

Have you ever wondered how much of your electrical bill goes to run your air compressor? Read on and we'll show you how to find out.

Before we see how much electricity costs, we should to understand how it’s measured. When you buy gas they charge you by the gallon. When you buy electricity they charge you by the kilowatt-hour (KWH). When you use 1000 watts for 1 hour - that unit of energy is called a kilowatt-hour. The kilowatt hour is most commonly known as a billing unit for energy delivered to consumers by electric utilities.

Once you know how much it is costing you in electrical energy…what can you do to REDUCE those costs and save money?

Seven Steps to figure the electrical energy cost of running your air compressor:

Take these first 3 steps to figure your Electrical Cost per Kilowatt Hour (KWH)

(we shall use some average examples to help you see how this works)

1. Find your electrical utility bill for the facility where your air compressor operates and find your total amount due on your utility bill.

2. From you utility bill, find the total kilowatts used

3. Use this FORMULA: Total Amount Due ÷ Total KWH Used = KWH Cost


Total Dollar Amount Due Ex: $300.00

Total KWH Used Ex: 2500

Amount Due Divided By Total KWH Used

$300.00 Due ÷ 2500 KWH Used = 0.12 Per KWH

Results: Your Cost Per Kilowatt Hour is $0.12 Cents

(you will use your cost per KWH in the next formula)

In the next 4 Steps – let’s figure the ELECTRICAL ENGERY COST of running your Air Compressor

(we shall use some average examples to help you see how this works)

4. Determine your TOTAL HORSEPOWER (TOTAL HP) using this formula:

Motor Data Plate HP (EX: 25HP) X 110% = (27.5 HP)

NOTE: Most air compressors @ Max PSI use 110% of the rated horsepower

5. Figure your YEARLY HOURS of operation:

# Hours running per day X # days per week X # weeks per year running = The total time the equipment runs in a year. (Example: 10 Hours Per Day X 5 Days Week X 52 Wks = 2600 HOURS)


MOTOR EFFICIENCY can be found on the motor data plate as a percentage. (Example=.90 %) It is the ratio of input power minus the output power.

7. Use this FORMULA:

Total HP x .746* x yearly hours compressor operates x KWH cost ÷ motor efficiency = Your Annual Electrical Cost to Operate Your Air Compressor

Using our EXAMPLES given…you can see how to figure your annual electrical costs:

27.5 hp x .746* x 2600 hours x $.12 ÷ .90 = $7111.87 per year to run your air compressor


Most likely – your air compressor’s electrical costs will be a lot more than you might think. But there are ways to drastically reduce those costs and save money. In today's economy - it's worth looking into energy-saving options

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