Top five appliances that drain your wallet - Compare The Market

Top five appliances that drain your wallet

 
 
 
 
 

When it comes to household appliances, they are not all created equal. Some labour saving devices are heavy energy users, while others are far lighter on the juice. With electricity being the biggest bill for most homes, electricity usage is an obvious place to make savings, and in most homes, there are some clear black spots in energy use.

Perhaps surprisingly, the first place to start looking for savings is any machine that makes things hot or cold, and then move on to some of the other potential electrical vampires that may be lurking in the house.

Air conditioners

Cooling air uses a lot more energy than heating it, so air conditioners are the most energy intensive appliances in most houses. The best way to save electricity in this case is not turn them on, and keep the house cool in other ways on predicted hot days:

  • Shut curtains during the day
  • Keep doors and windows closed as soon as the sun rises
  • Seal up any gaps under doors and around windows and pipes
  • Outdoor awnings and carefully planted shade plants can make a huge difference

When you do need to switch it on, the higher the thermostat is set, the less work the air conditioner has to do, so keep it comfortable, but not Arctic.

Energy Fact: A ducted refrigerator system heating 140m2 of a 200m2 home costs an estimated $2.07 – $2.59 to run per hour. This calculation is based on electricity costing 36.5 cents per Kwh.

Related: Do you know what energy-saving lighting solutions are on the market? Read up on them here.

warm clothes

Heaters

Like cooling, heating all the air space in a house can use a lot of energy, and electric heating elements are among the most electricity hungry devices in the home. Again like air conditioners, avoid turning them on until absolutely necessary by keeping warm in other ways:

  • Seal up all the gaps
  • Close off unused rooms
  • Put on warmer clothes
  • Open curtains during the day and close them at night
  • Use the lowest heat setting that’s comfortable

If possible, move to gas powered heating, which is a more efficient and less expensive energy source than electric options.

Energy Fact: A small reverse cycle air conditioner working over a space of 12m2 is estimated to cost around 11-15 cents per hour. This is based on a cost of 33C per kWh for the electricity.

Looking for a better energy plan? ?Grab your latest bill and try comparing providers here.

Fridges

The older a fridge is, the more money it costs. This is partly due to improvements in refrigerator efficiency in recent years, but ageing mechanisms and faulty door seals make the fridge work harder than necessary. There are ways to improve the efficiency of fridges:

  • Check door seals and replace if necessary
  • Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the fridge and freezer
  • Adjust the thermostat to the warmest setting that keeps food fresh
  • Position the fridge in a cool spot out of direct sunlight

Of course, if a fridge is older than about ten years, it is likely to be time for replacement, as described in this article from Home Improvement Pages. Modern fridges will generally save enough electricity annually to pay themselves off in a few years.

Energy Fact: A medium size fridge costs an estimated $166.60 per year in electricity. This calculation is based on a 300-399 litre fridge running 24 hours a day, consuming 490 kWh of energy.

insulation

Water heaters

Water heaters are generally more efficient than heating air in a house, as they are often well insulated, but there are some tips that can save energy:

  • Adjust the thermostat so water is not over-heated
  • Insulate hot water pipes that lead into the house
  • In smaller households, move to on demand hot water systems
  • Investigate solar boosted hot water systems
  • Use low flow shower heads and taps to reduce the amount of heating required in the tank

Ultimately, as with space heating, gas is generally cheaper and more efficient at heating water than electric elements, and should be considered if possible.

Energy Fact: Water heating often accounts for 25% of the energy used in the average home. Depending on your system type, heating water can cost around $2,964 for Electric Storage, or $1,287 for a natural gas instantaneous system; for more detail on estimated costs, see this article.

Ovens

Most people don’t use their oven every day, but due to the sheer size of the appliance, it can use and waste a lot of energy, and there are ways to reduce that consumption too:

  • For smaller cooking tasks, a toaster oven may be more efficient
  • Think about whether the microwave or grill might be a better option
  • Avoid using the oven in summer where possible, it will compete with the air conditioner
  • Try “time stacking” your meals to cook several courses – as it heats, at its peak, as it cools
  • As with fridges, oven seals should be checked and replaced if necessary

As with other kinds of heating, gas is a cheaper and more efficient way to cook, and should be seriously considered, especially if replacing an old oven.

Energy Fact: A gas cooker or cooktop typically uses around 12 mega joules per hour, which roughly equates to $0.48. Electric ovens often cost significantly more; though fan assisted ovens can save energy.

A final word…

Of course there are other electricity users in most homes, so perhaps investigate which of your appliances is using the most power by taking a look at their energy rating labels. This labelling has been around since 1986, and according to RenewEconomy.com.au has made significant differences to Australian’s ability to make energy savings. Additionally, this Electrical Appliance Running Cost Calculator from sa.gov.au allows you to enter the information on the label for your appliance, and calculate your quarterly running costs.

Whether you have the most efficient home, or the least, getting a great deal from your energy company is a top way to make savings, compare providers here.

Author comparethemarket.com.au

Launched in September of 2012, Comparethemarket.com.au – operated by Compare the Market Pty Ltd (CTM) – has teamed up with a range of Australia’s insurance providers so you can compare some of the latest deals, in one place, side-by-side. The team behind comparethemarket.com.au have experience in insurance, comparison, customer service and digital. If this was a stuffy corporate monologue, we’d tell you that we’re a bunch of subject matter experts specialising in User Experience, Customer Insights & Online Strategies. But to be honest, it’s just as accurate (and a whole lot easier) to say that we’re a bunch of people who want to make your experience with online comparison better. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re forward-thinking, that we share an entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that we like to have a bit of a laugh too. We’re all a bit too addicted to chocolate, but no one’s perfect, really.

More posts by comparethemarket.com.au

On this website you can compare quotes and purchase products from participating brands for health insurance, car insurance, travel insurance, life and income protection insurance, home and contents insurance, energy plans, roadside assistance products, home loans and credit cards.

We do not compare all products in the market and at times not all brands may be available. Visit each product page, as well as our Website Terms of Use, Financial Services Guide (Car, Home and Travel Insurance Products), Financial Services Guide (Life Insurance Products) and Credit Guide for detail about who we compare, how we make money and how our comparison service works for each product.

The Compare The Market website and trading name are owned by Compare The Market Pty Ltd ACN 117 323 378.