No modern home lacks the convenience of modern appliances, and few of us can remember a time when dishes were done exclusively by hand or when the washing machine consisted of an agitator and a ringer.
Having appliances in the home helps make the tasks of daily living, from washing clothes to quickly heating up a meal, bearable and quick. These conveniences, however, come at a cost to the consumer in terms of energy consumption. Fortunately, a simple formula can help you determine which of your appliances use the most energy.
Calculating the Energy Use of Various Appliances
The U.S. Department of Energy provides a helpful formula that can be used to calculate the cost of energy consumption. Simply take the wattage of an appliance — Energy.gov provides a range of typical wattage for thirty-four separate appliances — then multiply that number by the total number of hours and days that the appliance is used and divide that figure by 1,000 (to convert watts into kilowatts).
Appliances that remain plugged in constantly, such as your refrigerator, still consume energy when they aren’t being operated. To calculate the impact of these appliances, adjust the number of maximum wattage use by taking the total time they are plugged in (wattage multiplied by 24 hours times 365 days) and dividing by 3. This number multiplied by its rate per kilowatt hour will give you a rough cost estimate for continuously plugged in appliances.
Appliances That Use the Most Energy
Based on the above formula, if we were to take the thirty-four appliances listed on the Energy.gov website, we would come up with the following costs of operation, assuming that all appliances are plugged in constantly every hour, every day of the year. Using the average residential cost per kilowatt-hour of $0.1261, the following would be the top ten most expensive appliances to operate:
• Water heater (40 gallon) = 4500–5500 Watts, 16060 annual kWh, $2,025.17
• Clothes dryer = 1800–5000 Watts, 14600 annual kWh, $1,841.06
• Dishwasher = 1200–2400 Watts, 7008 annual kWh, $883.71
• Hair dryer = 1200–1875 Watts, 5475 annual kWh , $690.40
• Clothes iron = 1000–1800 Watts, 5256 annual kWh, $662.78
• Heater (portable) = 750–1500 Watts, 4380 annual kWh, $552.32
• Vacuum cleaner = 1000–1440 Watts, 4204.8 annual kWh, $530.23
• Toaster = 800–1400 Watts, 4088 annual kWh, $515.50
• Toaster oven = 1225 Watts, 3577 annual kWh, $451.06
• Aquarium = 50–1210 Watts, 3533.2 annual kWh, $445.54
Of course, you must remember that these numbers assume a constant level of energy usage and are calculated based on maximum wattage. If a person were to take their own appliance usage into account, based on their local utility rates per kilowatt-hour, the numbers will change.
The bottom line to all of this is to demonstrate how energy use affects how much you pay. Replacing older appliances with newer, energy efficient models, and adjusting the way appliances are used in you home can help lower your monthly bills. The energy guide that you find when purchasing an appliance can help you save money, and the information provided by various sources, such as the Alliance to Save Energy, can guide your purchasing decisions and help you make energy consumption more cost-effective.
This article was written by Billy Dunham, a home improvement expert who hopes to help you have an even better home. He writes this on behalf of Smart Prepaid Electric, your number one choice when looking for cheap electric companies. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!
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