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How Much Do Electrical Appliances Cost to Run?

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How Much Does Electricity Cost?

With the cost of electricity rising all the time, it is nice to know how the various electrical appliances in the home are contributing to the cost of your electricity bill.

In this short hub, I try to give a comprehensive list of appliances and an estimate of the cost of running them. The power used by an appliance can differ somewhat from the values quoted but these are typical values. The cost per hour is based on a price of 10c per unit, you can scale up depending on what your electricity supply company charges you.

Power and Energy Consumption

To work out the cost of running an appliance, use the equation below:

Cost = (Power in watts / 1000) x (cost per unit in cents) x time in hours

E.g. An electric heater with a 2000-watt rating is switched on for 2 hours. If electricity costs 10 c per unit, how much does it cost to power the appliance for this period?

Cost = (2000 / 1000) x 10 x 2 = 40 cents

The heater is rated at 2000 watts. This means it uses 2000/1000 = 2 units or kilowatt hours (kwh) in 1 hour. If it was switched on for 15 minutes, it would have used 2000/1000 x 0.25 = 1/2 a kwh. So basically you just need to work out the power in kilowatts by dividing the power in watts by 1000 and then multiply the result by the number of hours followed by the the cost per kwh in cents (or whatever your local currency is)

Kilowatt hour meter
Kilowatt hour meter | Source

How Do I Know the Wattage of an Appliance?

The voltage, wattage and possibly the current will be specified on the appliance. This information may be impressed into the casing or printed on a label/metal panel. Sometimes this label is located at the back of the appliance e.g. on washing machines, freezers or other white goods. On kettles, food processors, etc, this information may be printed on the underside.

Typical electrical appliance labels/panels
Typical electrical appliance labels/panels | Source

Which Appliances Use The Most Power?

Air conditioning, driers, room heaters and water heaters (immersion heaters) are the most energy hungry appliances. Kettles are also high powered appliances, however since they are turned on for a relatively short period of time, the overall energy cost isn't too high.

The Most Common Appliances in the Home and the Cost of Running Them (Assuming Electricity is 10c per Unit)

(click column header to sort results)
Appliance  
Power in watt  
Cost per hour in cents  
Notes  
Kitchen range/cooker
2000 to 6000
20 to 60
Depending on number of hotplates and whether oven is switched on
Tumble drier
2500
25
 
Washing machine
1000 on average
10
 
Fridge
60
0.5
Depends on ambient temperature
Freezer
80
0.3
Depends on ambient temperature and capacity of freezer
Kettle
2000 to 3000
20 to 30
 
Food processor
500 to 1500
5 to 15
 
Laptop
25
0.2
 
Desktop computer
100
1
Cost is less with LCD monitor
Large TV CRT
100 to 150
1
 
Large TV Plasma
200 to 300
2 to 3
 
Large TV LCD
100 to 200
1 to 2
 
Large TV LED
120
1.2
 
Alarm system
15
0.15
 
HiFi
30
0.3
 
Transistor radio
4
0.004
 
Hair drier
1500
15
 
Microwave oven
1200
12
 
Air conditioning
5000
50 max
Depends on temperature setting on unit
Broadband internet router/modem
14
0.14
 
100 watt light bulb
100
1
 
Cordless phone
<1w
0.001
 
Computer printer
12
0.12
 
Toaster
1000
10
 
Water tank heater
2000 to 3000
20 to 30
 
Electric shower
7000 to 10000
70 to 100
 

Vampire Power

Many devices draw so called vampire power when on standby. These include sound systems, TVs, HiFis, video and DVD players/recorders, Computers, radios etc. Power drawn on standby can be up to 25% of that when fully turned on. If you want to save money - pull the plug.

Power monitoring adapter
Power monitoring adapter | Source

Power Monitor Adapter Socket

A power monitor adapter is a useful device for tracking electricity usage and helping you save energy. These can be plugged into a wall socket and then the appliance is plugged into the adapter. The device then displays power consumption and tracks energy use over time.

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