Don’t be in the dark about your electricity usage.
Power is a basic need and for some a grudge purchase. Often it’s only when the power goes out that we realise just how important it is to us. We need power to charge our phones, cook food, and heat hot water for a shower. Cavemen lived quite happily without power, but now that it has become available at the touch of a button, we can’t do without it.
You might be wondering how much power you actually use. This article provides some guidelines about energy use. Note that the exact amount of energy consumed will depend on the size of an appliance, your personal preferences, and other factors.
Different tariffs apply in different States and Territories and that will affect the dollar amount of your actual bill. Electricity is charged in kilowatts per hour (kWh) units. Thermostat settings may also influence how much you’re being charged.
How much power does your home use?
If you want to keep your electricity usage in check, it’s important to first understand which appliances are contributing the most towards your bills. This knowledge will come in handy when deciding on where to cut back.
The average Australian household heating and cooling bill amounts to approximately 40% of the total energy bill 1. Hot water heating amounts to about 21% of that, while lighting accounts for roughly 6%. Cooking, refrigeration and other appliances usually make up the remainder of your energy consumption. In most households, refrigeration, cooking, and television use most of the 'appliances and equipment' portion of your bill. 2
Let’s look at some common household appliances to better understand how much electricity you use.
How much electricity does a fan use?
Operating costs differ by the type of fan and its size. If you use a fan to cool your home, here’s how you can calculate how much electricity it might be consuming:
You can find out how much power your ceiling fan uses by checking the label on the fan, or in the instruction manual. Input power will be displayed in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). Once you have established the fan’s input power, you can manually calculate operating costs:
- Check the fan’s input power in watts or kilowatts, eg. 2400W.
- Convert it to kW by dividing it by 1,000; eg. 2400 divided by 1,000 = 2.4kW.
- Find your area’s energy tariff rate by checking your bill, eg. 35 cents per kWh. 3
- Multiply the input power by your energy tariff to find the hourly running cost, eg. 2.4 x 35 = $0.84 cents per hour.
Once you know the approximate running costs of your ceiling fans, you may reconsider the amount of time you run it for. Apart from fridges and other essential equipment, it’s usually best to switch fans, lights, and televisions off when they are not in use, or when the room they are in is unoccupied.
How much electricity does a TV use?
Televisions sold in Australia are subject to Energy Rating label requirements as well as Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), and all imported televisions must meet Energy Rating Label and Tier 2 MEPS standards. 4
You can use the same method that we used to calculate the running cost of a ceiling fan to calculate how much electricity a TV uses.
A useful way to save energy on your television is to run it only when you are actively watching a show. Don’t leave it on all day.
How much electricity does a fridge use?
What would we do without our fridges? They run 24/7, working hard to keep our food and drinks fresh and cool. Whether you’re looking to buy a new energy-efficient fridge, or wanting to find out how much electricity your fridge uses, you can use the government’s Energy Rating Calculator5 to compare different models.
Modern fridges are equipped with high-end features, such as LCD/LED screens, ice makers and other intuitive functions. These fridges usually come with high price tags to match the extra features.
You can save money on the electricity your fridge uses by keeping it fully stocked, but not overfull, and by ensuring that it is sealed properly. 6
The final word
Household appliances make up a large part of your total energy bill, but they also make up a large part of your greenhouse gas emissions. Educate yourself on how much energy your household appliances use, so you can make responsible and informed decisions about the products you use and buy.
- "Heating and cooling | YourHome." http://www.yourhome.gov.au/energy/heating-and-cooling. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.
- "Appliances | YourHome." http://www.yourhome.gov.au/energy/appliances. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
- "sa.gov.au - Calculate running costs." https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/calculate-running-costs. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.
- "Televisions | Energy Rating." http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products/televisions. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.
- "Energy Rating Calculator | Energy Rating." http://www.energyrating.gov.au/calculator. Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.
- "Tips for saving energy at home | Australian Government." 3 Aug. 2017, https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/control-your-costs/save-money-reducing-energy-use/tips-saving-energy-home. Accessed 12 Dec. 2017.