Explore Energy

Saving energy around the home is an easy way for you to lower your bills and your impact on the environment at the same time. But unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as knowing what uses the most electricity around the house.

Having a clearer understanding of the real costs of using your favourite devices could empower you to make better decisions and save energy. So, without further ado, here’s our guide to some everyday appliances and how much we estimate that they could be costing you.

N.B. Your actual costs will depend on your provider, tariff, location, how much you use your appliances and devices and a range of other factors.

Click on the links below to jump to an appliance:

Mobile phone power consumption

You may think that charging a mobile phone could make a significant impact on your power budget. However, it may barely cause a ripple due to its size and mass constraints – its energy capacity is severely restricted. According to Energy Rating, smart phones use an average of 3kWh per year,1 which may cost less than $1.00 per year.

Keep in mind that the specific cost will depend on your provider, tariff, location, how much you use your phone, and whether you leave your phone plugged in overnight.

Device cost fact: A mobile phone often uses around $1 of energy in an entire year.

Energy-saving tips for mobile phones

A great way to save energy through your mobile phone is to conserve your battery and reduce how frequently you need to charge your phone.

Backlit LCD displays constitute the primary source of power usage for modern-day smartphones. You can significantly reduce your power consumption by decreasing the brightness of your screen. In fact, the auto-dim function that most modern smartphones have installed during calls can save up to 40% of power usage.2

Close applications that you aren’t using; having multiple applications running in the background can eat up your battery. Lastly, don’t leave a fully charged phone plugged in overnight and turn off power outlets that aren’t being used to avoid standby energy consumption.

Standby mode is a function that enables appliances to stay on without using as much electricity as when they’re in use. It enables appliances to “switch on” faster.

couple monitoring their power consumption

Desktop computer power consumption

According to the ACT government, it costs $73 a year (calculated using an energy rate of 26c/kWh) on average to run a desktop computer,3 though this will vary significantly depending on various factors, including:

  • how much you use your computer
  • the size and quality of your monitor
  • how energy-efficient your processor is
  • your energy provider
  • your energy plan and tariff rate.

Add the cost of running a printer, scanner, speakers and other peripherals, and your bill may cost a lot more.

How much electricity does a computer use?

While some computers may use as little as 0.08kWh per year, high-end machines can use up to 0.3kWh of electricity. Assuming that a computer is on for eight hours a day, that’s 0.2kW to 0.9kW per year. Certain PCs are better suited for hardcore gaming, which may use a lot more electricity.

In general, Mac computers use a comparable amount of energy to PC based systems, as processors and components don’t differ much.

Device cost fact: On average, it can costs $73 a year to run a desktop computer.3

Energy-saving tips for computers

The easiest way to bring down the usage cost of computers is to turn them off when they’re not in use, though turning the power off at the wall is always better. One of the most enduring myths about electrical devices is that turning them on and off uses substantially more electricity than leaving them on. This is not true of almost every device in domestic use.

Furthermore, computers have a sleep mode that allows for a faster start-up after a period of inactivity. These standby settings use much less electricity than a computer left turned on all the time.

Device cost fact: It’s cheaper to turn off devices when not in use.

Laptop power consumption

Laptops and notebooks are designed to run on battery power, so in many cases the processor and other hardware are more efficient and less powerful than a desktop model. These devices typically use between 0.025 and 0.060kWh, or around $24 a year in most cases.3 That’s three times less expensive than running a desktop.

Energy-saving tips for laptops

Most modern laptops are made with LCD displays, which takes up a fair amount of energy to run compared to older models. You can make your laptop more efficient by dimming the brightness of your screen. Additionally, configure the settings to trigger sleep mode when you’re inactive for a certain amount of time.

There’s a lot of variation between makes and models, with laptops running optical disk drives and physical hard drives (devices that enable you to run CDs and DVDs) using more energy than those based on flash memory with no optical drive.

Lastly, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities will also draw more power as constantly transmitting a signal is an active function. So, try to keep these off unless you’re using them.

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Device cost fact: An average laptop costs $24 a year to run.3

Tablet power consumption

An average tablet uses 0.015kWh of power, which equates to around three cents per day if plugged in for eight hours. The 11-inch iPad Pro (4th Gen) uses approximately 0.029kWh to charge4. If you charge it for two hours, three times a week, that’s 9.048kW per year or $2.35 (calculated using an energy rate of 26c/kWh).

Device cost fact: An 11-inch iPad Pro could cost $2.35 per year if charged for six hours a week.

Energy-saving tips for tablets

You can extend your device’s battery life by reducing the brightness of your screen. However, tablets require very little electricity to run. With no moving parts, highly efficient components, and limited processing capacity, the energy requirements of tablets are very low.

TV power consumption

Televisions can vary significantly on their power consumption depending on the type of TV, star rating, size and your own TV habits. For example, consider the cost of these TVs assuming you use them 1 hour per day:

TV typeAnnual cost
LCD* (LED**) (90-110cm) 7 Star – 1.5 star$33 (7 star) – $137 (1.5 star)
LCD (90-110cm) 5 star – 1.5 star$87 (5 star) – $196 (1.5 star)
Plasma (90-110cm) 4.5 star – 0.5 star$98 (4.5 star) – $276 (0.5 star)
CRT*** (51cm) 1.5 star – 0.5 star$71 (1.5 star) – $92 (0.5 star)

Source: ACT Government (2020). Actsmart energy saving guide. Accessed 21 April 2021.
*LCD – liquid crystal display
**LED – light-emitting diode
***CRT – cathode-ray tube

How many watts does a tv use?

The number of watts or kilowatts that your TV uses will vary significantly depending on the factors listed above. You can find out the wattage of your TV by checking the back for a sticker, which will list the power rating, power consumption, and other technical information about your TV. The amount of energy your TV consumes per year will also depend on how many hours of the day your TV stays on.

Energy-saving tips for TVs

While it’s convenient to leave our appliances on, even if we’re not paying attention to it, we recommend you turn your TV off at the wall when you aren’t using it.
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Gaming console power consumption

Depending on how much you use the console in a year, this can add up – especially combined with the energy used by the TV, which on its own could easily hit between $28 and $231 depending on the TV type, size and energy star rating.3 Even among the consoles, the energy usage varies widely. For example, a Nintendo Switch may use up to 6.57kwH per year or $1.644* per year; a PS4 may use up to 54.75kWh per year or $14.235* to use.

*We’ve calculated these prices at a rate of 26c/kWh for one hour a day for a year.

Energy-saving tips for gaming consoles

It’s worth remembering that games consoles can draw power when switched off, meaning that leaving your gaming consoles on standby mode could impact your bill – especially considering that they’re usually connected to TVs and other appliances.

Early home computer game consoles like the Atari, and the later Nintendo systems used relatively little electricity, as they had very limited processing power and no moving parts. Modern consoles, however, are much more powerful stand-alone gaming computers and can potentially make a huge dent in a household’s energy usage.

Device cost fact: If combining the console, TV, sound system and internet connection, gaming could be the most power-hungry activity in the home.

Washing machine power consumption

The energy consumption and cost of your washing machine will vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including your washing machine’s make, model, size, energy star rating. However, according to the ACT Government, your washing machine could cost $15 – $93 each year (calculated using an energy rate of 26c/kWh).3

Your provider, tariff and energy plan, usage frequency and whether you do warm or cold washes could also affect your consumption and cost. Check the Energy Rating Calculator to find out how much energy your fridge uses.

Energy-saving tips for washing machines

Consider turning off your washing machine at the wall – leaving it on will keep it on standby mode, which will consume energy. Wash your clothes with cold water to save on the cost of heating up hot water and consider getting a front loader instead of a top loader. Front loaders are more energy and water efficient.

The most impactful tip on saving energy for washing machines is to consider investing in an appliance that has a high energy rating.

Read our blog about whether energy-efficient appliances can make a difference to your bill to find out more about energy ratings.

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Dishwasher power consumption

According to the ACT government, the annual running cost of a three star dishwasher could be $80 per year (calculated using an energy rate of 26c/kWh),3 depending on:

  • make and model
  • energy star rating
  • your habits
  • tariff
  • provider
  • energy plan.

If you use your dishwasher frequently, the energy star rating could make a significant difference to your bill. Get the most out of your dishwasher by using our energy-saving tips.

Energy-saving tips for dishwashers

Dishwashers will use the same amount of water and energy whether you’ve thrown in two plates or filled the racks. To get the most out of each cycle, only use the dishwasher if you can fill it to capacity and consider handwashing if you don’t have many dishes to wash.
Dishwashers that have both hot- and cold-water connections will use less energy than one with only hot connections.

Read our blog about whether energy-efficient appliances can make a difference to your bill to find out more about energy ratings.

woman using the dishwasher after checking its power consumption

Fridge power consumption

Your fridge’s power consumption may also vary considerably depending on the make, model and energy rating. According to the ACT government, a 400 litre, three star fridge/freezer may cost between $59 and $201 each year (calculated using an energy rate of 26c/kWh).3

Device cost fact: The cost of your fridge could vary depending on its temperature settings.

Energy-saving tips for fridges

Your fridge is one of the few appliances in your home that requires a constant supply of energy. While the power consumption is usually steady, you can put your fridge on overdrive by overstocking your fridge. If you fill your fridge or freezer to max capacity, your fridge may have to work harder to maintain the same temperature.

The ideal temperature for your fridge is three to four degrees Celsius and for your freezer, it’s between -15°C and -18°C. Consider configuring the temperature to these numbers to prevent excess energy usage.

Read our blog about whether energy-efficient appliances can make a difference to your bill to find out more about energy ratings.

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Cooling and heating power consumption

According to Sustainability Victoria, air-conditioning could cost anywhere between $35 and $315 per year6 depending on the size of your house and your cooling system. Heating could cost between $580 and $4,280 per year.

The annual cost of air conditioning could vary beyond these numbers significantly, however, depending on various factors, including:

  • the size of your home;
  • whether your air-conditioning system is ducted or not;
  • your home’s NatHERS rating;
  • if your home is insulated;
  • whether you keep the doors or windows open while the aircon is running;
  • if you cool or heat the entire home or just a room at a time;
  • how often you run the air conditioner;
  • the energy rating of your cooling and/or heating system; and
  • your tariff, provider, energy plan and energy rates.

Energy-saving tips for air conditioners

There are a number of ways to save energy with air conditioning. You could simply reduce your usage and wear climate appropriate clothing. Other tips include:

  • keeping your windows and doors closed while the aircon is running;
  • using draught stoppers;
  • insulating your home;
  • closing the curtains to stop the sun from warming your home;
  • using a fan instead of air conditioning; and
  • investing in an energy-efficient cooling and/or heating system.

You can also reduce your air conditioner’s power consumption by setting the temperature to one that consumes less energy. Find out more about the best temperature for air conditioning.

Couple using airconditioner after checking power consumption

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Save energy by comparing plans

Another way to save on your bill is to compare energy plans, and you can do that through our comparison service! Through us, you can compare the price, discounts and other details from some of Australia’s favourite energy providers.

The best part is that we don’t charge a cent for using our service, meaning you can get a free quote in minutes!

So, what are you waiting for? Compare energy plans today!

We don’t have access to all of the products available in your area: we do not compare all brands in the market, or all products offered by all brands. At times certain brands or products may not be available or offered to you. From time to time we may have access to better offers that are only available over the phone. Call us to see if you are eligible. Learn more.

Sources

Sources

1 Energy Rating (2013 – last updated 2020). Product Profile: Battery Chargers. Accessed 19 October 2020.

2 Aaron Carroll (2017). An analysis of Power Consumption in a Smartphone. Accessed 19 October 2020.

3 ACT Government (2017). Actsmart energy saving guide. Accessed 19 October 2020.

4 Apple (2020). iPad Pro. Accessed 5 May 2021.

5 Energy Use Calculator (2020). Electricity usage of a Game Console. Accessed 19 October 2020.

6 Sustainability Victoria (2020). Cooling running costs. Accessed 9 November 2020.

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