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Home appliances in Australia: Energy Efficiency and Reducing Your Consumption

Home appliances make life easier. From cooking, to heating your home and water, to washing our clothes, and keeping us entertained, life would be much more difficult without them. Home appliances also consume most of the energy in our home, and using them comes at a cost to our wallets. Discover more about how home appliances affect our energy usage, and what you can do to reduce the costs associated with them, by reading below.


How much energy do I spend on home appliances?

It’s probably no surprise that most of our energy usage goes towards home appliances, heating and cooling our home, and water heating. Here is a breakdown of how the average household in Australia uses its annual energy consumption.

  • 40% heating and cooling
  • 21% water heating
  • 33% household appliances (including refrigeration and cooking)
  • 6% lighting

Of the 33% used for home appliances (not including heating and cooling), most of your energy consumption is done in the kitchen. Between cooking and storing food, over 30% of your home appliance energy usage can be found here. For a full breakdown of what home appliances and use the most energy, see the table below.

Percentage of energy usage for household appliances
Home appliance Percentage of energy usage
(of the 33% above)
Fridge / freezer 18%
Cooking 15%
TV / Home entertainment 24%
Home office 9%
Pool and spa 5%
Microwave 2%
Dishwasher 2%
Clothes dryer 2%
Standby 10%
Miscellaneous 11%

Source: Your Home Government website

Average power usage and running cost for home appliances

How much of your energy bill goes towards your household appliances really depends on a number of factors. The size of your home appliance, how often you use it, and your energy rates all go into the cost of running your appliance. Below is a table of some of the most common household appliances with an average size (in watts), along with the average household’s usage, and estimated running cost per year.

Average power usage for household appliances*
Home appliance Size (average) in watts Usage hrs / year Estimated running cost per year
Stovetop / Oven (electric) 2,100 watts 150 hours $63 / year
Microwave 1,000 watts 100 hours $20 / year
Washing machine 900 watts 400 hours $72 / year
Clothes dryer 4,000 watts 100 hours $81 / year
Dishwasher 2,400 watts 200 hours $97 / year
Fridge (400 litre) 68 watts 8,760 hours $120 / year
Television (80cm, 3-stars) 130 watts 1,400 hours $36 / year
Air conditioning (small, window) 2,300 watts 1,000 hours $464 / year
Heater (large radiator) 2,400 watts 600 hours $290 / year

*Source: Ausgrid home appliance estimator. Your actual energy usage and running costs depend on home appliance wattage, how often you use it, and usage rates.

Want to find out the running cost of your home appliance?

Find the cost of running your home appliance. If your appliance size is in watts, not kilowatts, divide that number by 1,000. For example, if your home appliance size is 2,400W, it would be 2.4kW. You can find your usage rates on your most recent energy bill. If your usage rates are 25c/kWh, for example, use 0.25/kWh

kW
c/kWh
Hours per day
 

Saving energy and reduce your bill with your household appliances

As shown above, your home appliances can cost you a lot over a year. However, by implementing a few energy saving tips and tricks, you can reduce your energy consumption and annual cost. Here are a few ways you can reduce your usage.

 Unplug: Even when your appliances are turned off or on standby (televisions and computers for example, or anything with a continuous display), they’re still zapping energy from your home. Completely unplug your appliances when you’re not using them, or utilize a surge protector with an on/off switch to completely cut their power.

 Change your laundry habits: Most clothes don’t need to be washed in hot water. Switch to washing your clothes in cold water to reduce your energy consumption, and hang your laundry to dry on warm days to avoid using your clothes dryer.

 Adjust the thermostat: Keep your thermostat between 25 and 26 degrees in the summer and between 18 and 20 degrees in the winter. Each additional degree of heating or cooling can increase your running costs by 10%.

 Check your fridge and freezer: Set your refrigerator to 4 or 5 degrees and your freezer between -15 and -18. Make sure your fridge and freezer are in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and ensure there is a least 5cm of space around each for proper ventilation.

 Insulate: Make sure your home is energy efficient by replacing old windows with energy efficient ones, weatherizing your home to prevent drafts, and adding insulation to prevent heat transfer through your walls. For a cheaper option, purchase or make some draft stoppers (also known as draft snakes or draft blockers) to block drafts around door and window frames.

 Replace old appliances: If you have old home appliances, this is the perfect excuse for an upgrade. Purchase new appliances with energy-efficient ratings or “eco” options to reduce energy consumption anywhere from 9% to 25%.

Energy efficiency rating for home appliances

In Australia, it is mandatory for some electrical household appliances to come with an energy rating. These energy ratings use a star system, the more stars an appliance has, the more energy efficient. Originally, star ratings were out of six stars, but now the 10-star system is also in use. This energy rating label allows customers to compare similar appliances in order to choose the best, and most efficient option. While an appliance with a better rating might cost more upfront, the amount of energy (and therefore money) you could save over a year can often be much more.

Energy efficient home appliances
Appliance Energy efficient rating
Dishwasher At least 3.5 stars, with each star reducing your running cost by 30%
Washers and dryers At least 3.5 stars. An energy efficient washer can save you 25% of running costs, and an energy efficient dryer can save you 15%. A washer with energy efficient settings (half-load or “eco” settings) can save you more.
Hot water systems Aim for a 5-star hot water system, which can save you 15% on your running costs.
Fridges and freezers At least 4-stars for a refrigerator, 3.5 for a chest freezer, and 4.5 for an upright freezer. By researching what fridge size works best for you, you can reduce wasted space (and additional energy usage).
Air conditioning At least 4.5 stars, and choosing an aircon with fans and evaporative coolers can use 1/10 the energy of other air conditioning models, such as portable air conditioners.
Ways to Improve TV and Computer Energy-Efficiency
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Ways to Improve TV and Computer Energy-Efficiency

Learn about energy efficiency and home entertainment systems. Discover ways to reduce the energy consumption of your TV or computer and why an Energy Rating Label matters