Whether it's cooking our food, washing our clothes, or keeping us entertained at night, electricity is needed for all aspects of modern life. Power bills are a huge expense for most people, with domestic appliances accounting for 33 percent of all household energy consumption. Other big contributors include water and cooling at 40 percent, and water heating at 21 percent. Electricity is charged in kilowatts per hour (kWh) units, with some appliances much more expensive to run than others. Let's take a look at some of the best, and some of the worst offenders.
The kitchen is home to many of the biggest energy drainers, with the refrigerator/freezer and oven standing out as the most demanding appliances. While modern fridges can be quite economical, they're also in operation 24 hours a day. According to the YourHome website produced by the Australian Government, the fridge/freezer accounts for 18 percent of all energy consumed by household appliances. Even a small fridge with a four-star energy rating is likely to cost over $100 a year to run.
Your oven is another potential energy guzzler, with a large 8.7kW oven used for an hour a day costing over $1,000 a year to run. While cooking appliances account for just 15 percent of energy consumed by household appliances, this number is low due to the amount of gas ovens in circulation. If you do have an electric oven, it's important to use pots with lids and keep the oven door closed to ensure greater energy efficiency. Surprisingly, dishwashers and microwaves account for just 2 percent of the energy consumed by household appliances each.
The laundry is another place where domestic appliances run supreme, although they don't consume as much energy as you might think. Thanks to infrequent use and more efficient design, washing machines and clothes dryers account for just 2 percent of overall appliance consumption each. While large families and extended households are likely to use much more than that, the laundry is one of the most energy efficient rooms when it comes to appliances. This figure can be deceiving, however, with hot water washes also contributing to water heating costs, which account for 21 percent of all household energy usage.
Whether it's in your lounge room, your family room, or your bedroom, the humble TV is one of the worst offenders when it comes to energy usage. While the exact numbers vary considerably depending on the size of your TV and whether you have a plasma or LED/LCD model, the TV is the single worst offender of any household appliance. According to YourHome, TVs account for 19 percent of all energy consumed by household appliances, with other home entertainment equipment consuming an additional 5 percent.
There are lots of things you can do to reduce your energy usage, some of which can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. Turning off appliances instead of leaving them on stand-by is a great way to save, with overall stand-by consumption accounting for 10 percent of all energy consumed by appliances. The careful selection of appliances in terms of size and energy usage can also help you to save money and reduce your environmental impact without compromising your lifestyle.
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