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How much does it cost to run your household appliances - a breakdown

Kitchen appliances dishwasher washing machine

Energy prices have been climbing in Australia over the last few years and Aussies are feeling the pressure. 

Looking at how these costs are accumulated and which appliances use the most electricity, can help you better understand your energy bills and help you cut down on costs. 

Heating and cooling appliance costs

It’s probably not much of a surprise that heating and cooling appliances such as air conditioning units and fans use up a lot of energy. Especially if you use them pretty consistently throughout the year to stay warm or cool.

According to Ausgrid, on average, 21% of your electricity bill comes from electric heating and cooling costs.

So, just how much does it cost to cool your house down in summer?

A ceiling fan uses about $0.02 per hour, or about $6 over a summer, while air conditioning can cost between $0.30 to $0.40 cents per hour and can add $100 to $150 to your energy bill.

Obviously it’s cheaper to use a ceiling fan, however sometimes it gets so hot that a fan doesn’t quite cut it. If you’re wanting to reduce the amount you’re spending on air conditioning, Ausgrid recommends keeping your aircon at between 23 and 26 degrees when it is turned on. Each degree below this can add up to 10% to your running costs.

Lighting costs

According to Ausgrid, the average household spends only about 6% of their annual energy bill on lighting. 

While lighting is a relatively cheap expense, the costs can vary depending on the type of globe you use. LED lights are the cheapest option, according to Energy Makeovers. An LED downlight costs only $0.012 in energy per day if used for 8 hours, or $4.15 per year. 

In comparison, a less energy efficient lightbulb such as a halogen downlight will cost $0.12 per day or $43.20 per year.

So, if you want to keep energy costs down, switching all of your light bulbs to LED will help. 

Kitchen appliance costs

Most households have a range of appliances in the kitchen. From the refrigerator and freezer to the dishwasher, coffee machine and oven, all of these appliances use energy to run.

According to Ausgrid, kitchen appliances account for around 12% of home energy use. Refrigerators and freezers are the big ones, accounting for around 7% of total household energy because they’re usually plugged in and running 24 hours a day.

According to Appliances Online, the average 2 door, 500L fridge will cost between $11 and $14 per month to run. It’s also worth noting that newer refrigerators tend to have much lower running costs than older models.

To reduce the amount of energy your fridge and freezer are using, make sure your fridge is set between 3 and 4 degrees and the freezer is set between 15 and 18 degrees. If they are set any lower than this, they will use more power than necessary.

Here’s a breakdown of the average hourly cost of other appliances:

ApplianceAverage cost per hour
Oven$0.27 - $0.38
Toaster (2 slice)$0.10
Blender/food processor$0.06

*As per Appliances Online

Digital Appliances

These days almost all homes have at least one television and one laptop or desktop computer. In addition, many homes have other digital appliances such as landline phones, DVD players and video game consoles. The costs can add up! According to Ausgrid, “life appliances” only add up to about 7% of the average household’s energy consumption.

Luckily, things like charging your mobile phone and running your internet modem are relatively cheap, which is lucky because we spend a lot of time charging our phones and modems are usually on 24 hours a day. On average, the energy used to run a Wi-Fi router only costs about $1.04 per month.

When it comes to digital appliances such as TVs, laptops and gaming consoles, the prices are a bit higher. Energy Australia has found that the cost of using an average 50 inch TV screen with a 3-star energy rating is approximately $0.41 per hour of use.

When it comes to using a computer, Econnex has found that using a laptop is much more energy efficient than a desktop TV. This is because laptops consume 80% less electricity by using battery power. Desktop computers use an average of 60 to 200 watts of electricity while laptops typically use 20 to 50 watts.

According to Powershop, a desktop computer that’s used for 3 hours per day and turned off when not in use will cost around $50 - $55 a year (with a $0.25 per kWh rate.) If you charge a laptop for 3 hours a day, the costs can be as low as $0.05 per day which adds up to only $18.25 per year.

When it comes to gaming consoles, the amount of energy needed depends on the system or tech. Most consoles are also connected to a TV so you have to factor in the cost of running the TV as well.

Cost of energy used by various gaming consoles (data from Red Energy)

Gaming consoleEnergy Watts Consumption (per hour)Estimated monthly cost (gaming for 2 hours a day, 7 days a week)
PS490 - 150$1.23 - $2.04
Xbox One X65 - 180$0.88 - $2.45
Xbox One70 - 120$0.95 - $1.63
Nintendo Wii40$0.54
PlayStation Classic2.3 - 2.5$0.03

How to save on the energy used to run household appliances

Now that you know just how much energy your household appliances are using, there are lots of ways you can cut down your energy costs.

If you’re in the market for a new appliance, make sure you check the energy rating. 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.

Another smart way to save on your energy is to compare energy plans and providers and switch to a more competitive plan.

Compare energy plans using our comparison tool below. 


Compare energy plans

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Amelia Hetherington
Amelia Hetherington
Money writer

Amelia studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Non-Fiction Writing at Macquarie University. She has experience writing as an intern for the Sydney Morning Herald where she wrote stories for the lifestyle and news sections. She has now turned to finance and is focused on researching and sharing information in an engaging and educational way.