How Much Do Electrical Appliances Cost to Run?

Updated on August 4, 2018
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Eugene is a qualified control/instrumentation engineer Bsc (Eng) and has worked as a developer of electronics & software for SCADA systems.

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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)

What is a Kilowatt Hour Meter or Electricity Meter?

The utility company that supplies you with electricity keeps track of your energy usage using a kilowatt hour meter, fitted inside your home or on the wall outside. This meter measures voltage, current and time and displays the result in units or kWh on a mechanical counter display. Newer meters are replacing the older electromechanical types and have electronic displays that plus they can also be read wirelessly.

Kilowatt Hour Meter

An electromechanical kilowatt hour meter
An electromechanical 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 embossed 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.

Information Labels on Appliances

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

Which Appliances Use The Most Power?

Air conditioning, electric showers, clothes driers (tumble 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
0.3
Depends on ambient temperature
Freezer
80
0.4
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
0.25
 
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
80
0.8
 
Alarm system
15
0.15
 
HiFi
30
0.3
 
Transistor radio
4
0.04
 
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
0.01
 
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
 

What is Vampire Power or Phantom 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.

What is a Power Consumption Monitor?

A power monitor is a useful device for tracking electricity usage and helping you save energy. The monitor is plugged into a wall socket and then the appliance is plugged into the adapter. The device then displays power consumption in watts and tracks energy use in kWh over time. It can also display voltage, current and length of time the appliance is powered on. This is useful for checking the duty cycle or percentage on time for devices that cycle on and off (e.g. fridges, freezers and air conditioners).

Power monitoring adapter
Power monitoring adapter | Source

Questions & Answers

  • How much wattage or power has my e-bike charger consumed in 9 hours? The input specifications are: Ac 180 to 260 V & 4 Amp. Max. The output specifications are: 54.6V & 6Amp. My e-bike battery is 48v, 24 Ah.

    It depends on your supply voltage and the actual current drawn by the charger, but this will vary during the charging process.

    So let's assume the voltage is 230 volts, and current is maximum, i.e. 4 amps.

    Then max power input is 230 x 4 = 920 W

    Max energy consumption is (230 x 4 /1000) x 9 = 8.28 kWh or units.

    However, if the batteries are lithium ion, charging current varies, and a multi-stage charger will charge at a constant current during the first stage until the voltage reaches a certain level. Then the current decreases as the charger puts out a constant voltage during the second stage of charging. So actual energy use will be less than this, maybe half.

    http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/chargin...

    Energy = Power x time, so for a constant load e.g. a heater you simply multiply the power by time to get a figure for energy consumption. For a device like the charger above where the power varies, the best way to measure actual energy consumption is to use a power/energy adaptor which will give a more accurate figure as it continually measures instantaneous power and does an integration calculation and comes up with a total figure for energy use.

    Take a look at this article for more info:

    https://dengarden.com/appliances/Tracking-the-Powe...

© 2012 Eugene Brennan

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    • profile image

      K N S Prasad 

      9 months ago

      Very nice for explaining thanks so much.

    • profile image

      Delores Wiley 

      19 months ago

      thank you very much I could not read a lot of my appliance wattage and this is very helpful

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