With Autumn’s arrival—and Wintry weather just around the corner—now is the time to really stay on top of your electric bill. DomiDocs constantly sees that far too many homeowners do not realize just how much electricity everyday household items really use each day. For this reason, especially now that the weather is changing and cooler days are coming, keeping an eye on these items (and understanding how best to maintain them for optimum efficiency) will help you keep your electric bill from escalating as temperatures continue to drop.
DomiDocs has gathered a list of the most common everyday household items, and broken down just how much electricity each uses. Also included are helpful tips on how to best maintain these items, so that you can keep them running smoothly and saving you money when that electric bill shows up.
When it comes to your refrigerator and how much electricity it uses, size matters—as does age. In general, newer models (like Energy Star certified refrigerators) will cost you roughly $3.80-$6.60 per month on your electricity bill each month. For older models, the price relatively soars, and you can expect to see charges from $9.90 to upwards of $16.50 per month.
To help you save on refrigerator costs, consider upgrading your current refrigerator model to a new model, which will save you a great amount of money in the long run due to its greater energy efficiency (using less electricity in the cooling process). If it’s a viable option for your household, opt for a mini fridge versus a full-size fridge. Or purchase a mini fridge as an “extra” appliance to keep mostly used items that you often go into the fridge for, such as sodas or fruits. This will limit the amount of times you open your larger fridge’s door and will save you a considerable amount of energy in that process.
Cell Phone Chargers
The average Smartphone charger will use roughly 15-20 watts when plugged in. This translates to $0.06 per month if you charge your phone with a 20-watt charger for one hour each day. One good tip is to be sure to unplug your phone when you are not actively charging it. This will avoid wasting energy (a cell phone charger plugged in will use 0.1 to 0.5 watts per hour). Even though this amount may seem negligible to you, it does add up. Besides, saving energy is always a good thing—any way you can.
Even though you probably won’t be using your AC during the coming months, when summer rolls around, this information will be good to know. On average, air conditioners use between 2,000 to 4,000 watts each hour. Central air uses about three kWh each hour (which translates to an hourly cost for electricity of $0.33). To give you an idea, a standard 24,000 BTU central air conditioning system using roughly 3,800 watts of power per hour at $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, translates to an electricity cost of $0.46 an hour to operate. When all is said and done, these costs can quickly register into the hundreds, especially at the height of summer.
For this reason, you may want to avail yourself of some alternative options to lower costs, such as using fans to circulate air in lieu of AC, opening windows allowing natural air flow to cool the home, and even exploring the idea of using a programmable thermostat that will keep your home temperature at lower, energy-saving levels while you’re asleep or away from home.
Each hour, your desktop computer costs between $0.01 to $0.03 per hour to use. Laptops are a bit more energy-conscious, using no more than a penny’s worth of electricity per hour. You can make your computer more energy-efficient by setting it to the sleep/standby mode or unplugging it altogether when it is not in use. You can also save electricity by utilizing a power strip.
Light bulbs’ electricity usage varies wildly depending on the type of bulb you purchase. Incandescent light bulbs use 60 watts ($0.60 cents an hour cost), while an LED bulb uses much less (7 to 10 watts on average). Compact fluorescent bulbs use $0.08 per kilowatt-hour (about 75 percent less energy than their counterparts). These types of bulbs also are known to last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. But the longest lasting are LED bulbs, and they use even less energy to boot.
The average TV costs anywhere from $0.01 to $0.05 each hour to operate. This, of course, depends on the type of TV you own, as TVs also consume energy even when you are not actively watching them and they are turned “off”.
The average electric oven costs roughly $0.25 to operate each hour. This cost varies based on the number of burners you use, as well as the temperature they are set on. Your specific oven’s self-cleaning capabilities can also be a factor in raising electricity costs a bit each month. One other thing that many homeowners may not think about or realize is that using the oven can make your home very warm, which in the summer may cause your AC use to increase along with costs unknown to you. To avoid this extra cost, opting to use the microwave or toaster to prepare food whenever possible will save you energy and money.
Many households utilize their dryer several times a week, especially those with children or several people residing in them. The average cost to use a standard dryer is $0.33 per hour, which can really add up with that amount of usage. A few things that you can do to decrease your electricity output is to only wash (and dry) full loads of clothes. And when you go to dry them, opt for the drying sensor feature versus the timer if your model has it. Another surprising tip that saves energy (since it makes your drying more efficient) is to be sure to always clean the lint from your lint trap after each use. However, the ultimate cost and energy saver would be to do things just like the pioneers did and use the power of the sun or air to naturally dry your duds.
A standard dishwasher costs from $0.06 to $0.24 cents per load. To lower your overall costs with this appliance, be sure to only run your dishwasher when it is completely full, opting to hand wash in between loads. If your dishwasher has an energy saver cycle option, this is also a great idea to save on costs. You can even take the leap and go for an upgrade to a more modern, much more efficient model.
For coffee fanatics, you may be shocked to discover that on average, your coffee addiction is costing you about $6.10 per month when you make your brew at home, which translates to a whopping $73 annually. And for those whose coffee preparing choice is a single-use pod, that will cost you even more each month ($5). While this is still less than purchasing a cup of Joe at the local cafe each day, it still adds up. Our best advice to you is simply to cut back on the coffee.
Now that you have all of the info on costs and tips for how to optimize your appliances for energy efficiency, we here at DomiDocs wish you luck (especially with that last tip)…
Author: Andy Beth Miller