Approximate Energy Costs of Your Home Appliances

Our 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 increased at an average rate of 1.4 percent per year from 1970 through 2007.   But while the added electrical loads result in 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 $0.08/kWhr.

Hourly power consumption rates for selected appliances

Monthly power consumption rates for selected appliances

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 eight cents per kilowatt hour, those fans are costing me $17 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.

Hey! If you liked this article, please be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed!   :-)

10 comments to Approximate Energy Costs of Your Home Appliances

  • Jon

    i had no idea that the coffee maker uses so much electicity. I will not keep it on for so long any more. Good article

  • 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.

    • How do you like your I-phone? I’m still not convinced I want to spend all that money for one yet. Then again, I didn’t own a DVD player until a couple years ago.

  • Bob L

    You ned to measure your appliances. 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.

  • 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.

  • Danita Mentzer-McKay

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

  • Darnell

    Please send me your excel appliances spreadsheet.

  • chris glass

    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.

  • i had no idea that the coffee maker uses so much electicity.

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