If you are thinking about replacing or upgrading an appliance, it’s important to know how much energy that appliance uses. Newer appliances frequently are more energy efficient, so the initial cost of upgrading may be offset somewhat by the savings that will be realized due to the decreased energy use. When deciding on a replacement appliance, it’s also important to factor in energy bills over the years because even though appliances with greater energy efficiency can be more expensive to purchase, they may actually be cheaper in the long run due to energy savings.
To figure out how much it costs to run an appliance, you need to know how many watts it uses. Watts is a measure of power and is usually listed somewhere on the appliance. Appliances vary greatly in how many watts they use. Lower power use examples include laptop computers, which use about 50 watts, and flatscreen televisions, which use about 120 watts. Higher power use examples include furnace fans, which use about 750 watts, and water heaters, which can use over 5000 watts.
Once you know the wattage of any appliance, you can calculate its energy use per year by multiplying the wattage by how many hours it is used for per day and then multiplying again by 365. This will give you its watt hours of energy use per year, but the cost of energy is usually given per kilowatt hour, so you’ll need to divide by 1000. To find the yearly cost of energy for the appliance, you then need to multiply by your local utility rate, which varies greatly depending on location.
Regardless of how much energy your appliances use, you can help limit your energy bills by making sure they are being used efficiently. Many electronic devices use a small amount of energy to maintain themselves in stand-by mode even when they are turned off. You can eliminate this energy waste by plugging them into a power strip that can be switched off when they aren’t in use.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about appliances and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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