Approximate Energy Costs of Your Home Appliances

power linesOur homes today are loaded with more electronic media and electric appliances than ever before. According to data published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. household electricity consumption is expected to grow about 29% from now through 2040. But while the added electrical loads continue to provide easier and more pleasant lives for us, it also brings higher and higher electricity bills.

The Anatomy of an Electricity Bill

A large portion of any electricity bill is usually attributable to central heating and air conditioning; I try to temper those costs by simply adjusting my programmable thermostat higher in the summer (78 degrees F) and lower (68 degrees F) in the winter. But what about other home appliances? How much do they contribute to the monthly bill?

To help you answer that question, I’ve put together a couple of simple spreadsheets that approximate hourly and monthly energy consumption of some common household appliances and electronics, as shown in the top and bottom figures, respectively. Simply pick an appliance and then look at the column that best represents your approximate electricity costs. In my case it is currently $0.16/kWhr.

PowerCostsDaily

Hourly power consumption costs. (Click to enlarge.)

Monthly power costs.

Monthly power consumption costs. (Click to enlarge.)

Keep in mind the energy figures are only gross approximations and, as a result, your experience may be different. You should also be aware that these cost approximations do not consider phantom power that many appliances draw when they are switched off. For the most part, these phantom loads only increase the appliance’s energy consumption by a few watt-hours, but extremely frugal folks can still squeeze additional savings from their electricity bill by unplugging these appliances or using a power strip to cut power to them when they are not in use.

Some Interesting Observations

A look at the figures reveal some interesting observations:

  • If you like to drink coffee all day long, your coffee maker could be costing you more in energy costs than your refrigerator! If your coffee maker is on for 8 hours per day then it is, as can be seen in the second figure.
  • Besides the coffee maker, other so-called “energy vampires” include medium and large aquariums, and portable space heaters. As the second figure shows, these items really can add to your monthly electricity bill.
  • I have six ceiling fans in my house running 24 hours a day. At 16 cents per kilowatt hour, those fans are costing me $34 per month. However, they are also saving me money by helping to reduce the amount of time my central air is running.
  • You may be happy to know that cutting back on your television and computer use will provide only minimal energy savings.

And Finally…

If you would like the actual Excel spreadsheet I created to make your own energy cost estimates, send me an e-mail and I will be more than happy to send it to you.

For more information on how to calculate energy consumption and tips on how to save energy, you can also check out this website sponsored by The United States Department of Energy.

Photo Credit: urawa

Comments

  1. 2

    happy says

    I’m reading this post from my I-Phone and it looks great! I like your writing style and you make some excellent points about what does it cost to run my tv.

  2. 3

    Bob L says

    Good article. Your coffee maker does not use it’s full watts continuously, it cycles on and off. Still, you can save a lot by putting your coffee in a thermos as soon as it is ready.

    Your TV may not use a lot of electricity, but if it has a remote (what one does not) then it has phantom loads which can add up. In fact, anything with a clock, remote, power light or whatever has phantom loads. So do things like your GFI outlets, automatic turn on lights, most things with a touch panel, and…. well, lots of things.

    These phantom loads can often add up to more than the daily usage. That is the case with my TV, AND my toaster. Dang toaster has a clock, which uses more electricity in a week than toasting bread (we don’t toast every day).

    Get a Kill-A-Watt meter and check everything out. You will be amazed what some thing use.

  3. 4

    says

    The best thing to do when trying to save extra money is to cut back on your at home bills. To start with you can simply schedule your ac to only run when your home, having it cut off a few minutes after you leave and about 30 mins before you get home. The more creative you get the more money you save.

  4. 5

    Danita Mentzer-McKay says

    Please send me the energy guide (that you worked so hard on).
    Approximate Energy Costs of Your Home Appliances
    Thank you

  5. 7

    chris glass says

    I have to create an annual energy consumption for a domestic premises for my homework i would b grateful if you could send me your excel appliances spreadsheet. great work in creating this it will save my bacon.

  6. 9

    says

    I’ve been thinking about buying an energy meter to see how much appliances use when in use and in standby mode, but this list is a helpful guide. Thanks for sharing. I’m surprised at how much energy a coffee pot uses. We tend to leave the Keurig on all day so it’s ready when we need a cup, but I think I should start turning it

  7. 13

    Greg says

    Just remember that ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. If they are running in uninhabited rooms they are using energy and actually contributing heat to the room in the form of waste heat from the motor. So this would be a double whammy against energy efficiency.

    And Kill-a-watt device is fairly cheap and can help you sniff out those devices that draw power when they’re not even on.

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