Running costs of your household appliances: How much are you in for?

Kitchen appliances dishwasher washing machine

Energy bills tend to come in one round number that we don’t look into much further.
Taking a deeper dive into just where these costs are coming from, however, can help save money and bring those energy bills down.

Some appliances will chew up more energy than others, so understanding what appliances chew up the most energy in your home can help you cut down on costs.

Heating and cooling can be big expenses

No surprises here, as heating and cooling still chew up the largest costs of common appliances. It can be expensive to keep your house warm in the colder months of the year, or cool yourself down during the summer.

We’ve previously written about how air conditioners may be the cheapest heating option in the home, with energy costs lower than for their gas or portable heating counterparts. Operating an air conditioner for either heating or cooling will still cost you a bit of money, with a large wall unit coming in at around 70.7 cents per hour to operate and a ducted unit up at 121.2 cents.

With Ausgrid listing the typical air conditioner usage per quarter for a household at around 250 hours, those costs add up to $176.80 or $303 respectively.

If you use fans to cool down during summer, costs will be pretty low. Running costs of a ceiling fan sit at around 1.8 cents an hour, and just 1 cent for a pedestal fan. With the typical household fan usage at 120 hours per quarter, you’d be seeing costs of just $2.20 or $1.20 respectively on your energy bill.

A balance of efficiency and cost is important in deciding your energy needs. While a fan might be cheaper to run, keep in mind the reach and cooling ability will be far less than that of an air conditioner. You may end up compensating with multiple fans or more operating hours, which could change how your energy costs add up.

There’s a range of lighting costs

Lighting is a relatively cheap expense, but there are a range of costs that depend on the type of globe you use. An LED downlight is the cheapest option, with an 11-watt globe costing just 0.2 cents an hour. A halogen downlight will traditionally be a bit more expensive due to their higher wattage. A typical 50-watt halogen globe would cost around 1.3 cents per hour.

An outdoor security light with a 150-watt globe has an operating cost of around 3 cents per hour, while a bathroom light/heater unit tops the lighting costs with a typical four 275-watt lamp setup using around 22.2 cents per hour. With a typical household usage of 25 hours per quarter, the bathroom light/heater unit would still only add up to $5.60 on your energy bill, while the 250 standard hours for an outdoor security light would cost $7.60 per quarter.

Kitchen costs

Most households have a range of appliances in the kitchen. Whether it’s a rice cooker’s 6.1 cents per hour or a toaster’s 20.2 cents per hour, there’s quite a bit of range when it comes to kitchen appliances.

A 600-watt coffee machine isn’t a big power user at 12.1 cents per hour, with a standard 600-watt blender hitting the same costs. On the top end of the scale, an electric oven and large hotplate on an electric cooktop use 42.4 and 44.4 cents per hour respectively. A dishwasher running at 2400-watts costs about 48.5 cents per washing cycle. With a household average of 50 wash cycles per quarter, that would add up to $24.20 on your energy bill.

A microwave oven running at 1000-watts costs around 20.2 cents per hour of usage, while an electric frypan operates at a higher cost of roughly 34.3 cents an hour. On the flip side, a rangehood only costs around 2.8 cents per hour as one of the cheaper kitchen appliances.

A refrigerator offers some room to move depending on the size and age of the appliance. A small 150L bar fridge costs around just 0.8 cents an hour to operate, while a much larger 650L fridge would see hourly running costs of around 1.9 cents.

In terms of age, newer refrigerators tend to have much lower running costs than older models. A current 400L model refrigerator runs at operating costs of around 1.4 cents per hour, compared to a 20-year-old model of the same size costing roughly 3 cents an hour to run. With a household average of 2190 operating hours per quarter, the new model option would cost $30.10 on your energy bill compared to the 20-year-old model’s $65.50.

Entertainment comes relatively cheap

They’re the little luxuries that most of us would now consider essential. Televisions, phones, video game consoles and more forms of entertainment can keep us occupied for hours at a time, and thankfully their energy usage isn’t going to add exorbitant amounts to your energy bill.

Mobile phone chargers and internet modems have two of the cheapest running costs, which is thankful when you consider these devices are more than likely plugged in 24/7. Both the charger and modem use just 0.1 cents per hour, which for the standard 2190 household operating hours per quarter comes out to just $2.20 on your energy bill.

Game consoles aren’t the large energy-drainers you might think, either. In the example of a Nintendo Wii console, it costs just 1.2 cents per hour of operation. The television you run it on, however, will differ depending on the star-rating of the unit you choose. A medium-sized (80cm) flat-screen TV at a 3-star rating will use around 2.6 cents per hour in operating costs. The same sized television with a 6-star rating will bring costs down to just 1 cent per hour. With the average household using their television for 350 hours in a quarter, those options would see costs of $9.20 or $3.50 respectively.

Choosing newer appliances or those with a better energy rating may have a higher upfront cost in some instances, but the money they’re able to save you on your energy bill may be worth it in the long run. Consider how many hours your household uses certain appliances, and how long they might last you, before you determine the kind of savings you may be able to make.

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