Using and saving energy

Calculate running costs

Knowing how much appliances in your home cost to run can help you keep control of your energy bills. To work out the running cost of an electrical appliance, you can use:

  • an appliance power meter, which will give the most accurate result and can be borrowed for free from most public libraries as part of a Home Energy Toolkit
  • our running cost calculator (see below), which will give you approximate daily and quarterly running costs if you know the input power of your electrical appliance
  • manual calculations, which are explained below and can also be used for gas appliances.

The tariff rates used in these tools include GST but do not take into account potential discounts you may get as part of your energy contract with your retailer.

The costs also do not take into account the electricity or gas supply charge that is found on your bill, as the way you use appliances doesn’t affect these charges.

When you're shopping for a new appliance, think about the ongoing running costs as well as the purchase price. Some appliances, such as portable heaters, may have a cheap purchase price but can be more expensive to run than a more efficient model. Use energy rating labels to choose appliances with a high star rating where possible.

You may also be able to find energy use and running cost information for the specific appliance you are looking to buy or have recently purchased using the calculator on the Energy Rating website.

Achieving minimum running cost

The minimum running cost can be achieved by a combination of:

  • selecting an appliance that suits your needs and has the lowest input power – use the energy rating label for larger appliances
  • operating the appliance for the shortest amount of time possible
  • using thermostat controls or energy saving features – eg low energy use settings
  • choosing the best energy deal for you to get the lowest price you can.

Finding the input power of your appliance

An appliance’s input power in watts (W), kilowatts (kW), joules (J) or megajoules (MJ) can be found on a label on the appliance or in the appliance’s instruction manual. In the manuals of some modern appliances, there may also be average energy consumption for different cycles, eg for a washing machine or dishwasher.

If the label shows a range, use the higher number to work out a maximum running cost. Not all appliances run at full power all the time. Appliances with high or low settings or thermostats, like air conditioners or fridges and freezers, can use less energy.

Two appliance label examples. The first appliance shows 1850-2000W and the second appliance shows 1100-1200W.

A gas label example that shows the total nominal gas consumption of 40.9MJ/h.

Electrical appliance running cost calculator

This calculator uses a default price of 35 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) but you can improve the accuracy of your results by typing in the electricity price/tariff used on your electricity bill – find out more about understanding bills.

In the appropriate fields, type:

  • the name of your appliance
  • input power in watts (1kW = 1000W)
  • the hours and minutes used per day.

Click ‘add another appliance’ for additional rows if you would like to add up the costs for multiple appliances.

Electrical appliance running cost calculator

1

What is the cost of your electricity (cents per kWh)?

If you're unsure, the calculator uses 35 cents as its default.

2

Find out the input power rating of your appliance in watts.

The input power (in watts or kilowatts) can usually be found on a label on the appliance or in its instruction manual.

3

Your appliances

List the details below for as many appliances as you would like.

Appliance

Power rating
(watts)

Usage per day
(hours / mins)

Daily
running cost

Quarterly
running cost

Usage per day

Manually calculating costs

Electrical appliances

StepAction Electrical appliance example

1

Find out the appliance's input power in W or kW

Label shows 2400W

2

If necessary convert input power to kW

Divide 2400W by 1,000 = 2.4kW

3

Check your bill for your energy tariff rate – the amount you pay per unit of electricity

If you are unsure you can use 35 cents per kWh for electricity

4

Multiply the input power by the energy tariff to calculate the hourly running cost

2.4 x 35 = 84 cents per hour

5

Multiply the hourly running cost by the number of hours per day you run the appliance to get a daily running cost

If the appliance is turned on 10 hours per day:

10 x 84 cents = 840 cents a day

(To get the amount in dollars, divide it by 100, eg 840/100 = $8.40 a day)

Natural gas appliances

StepAction Gas appliance example

1

Find out the appliance's input power in J or MJ

Label shows 26MJ

2

If necessary convert input power from J to MJ

Convert J to MJ by dividing by 1,000,000. In this case no conversion is required

3

Check your bill for your energy tariff rate – the amount you pay per unit of gas.

If you are unsure, you can use 6 cents per MJ for gas

4

Multiply the input power by the energy tariff to calculate the hourly running cost

26 x 6 = 156 cents per hour

5

Multiply the hourly running cost by the number of hours per day you run the appliance to get a daily running cost

If the appliance is turned on 10 hours per day:

10 x 156 cents = 1560 cents a day

(To get the amount in dollars, divide it by 100, eg 1560/100 = $15.60)

LPG appliances

StepAction LPG cylinder example

1

Find out how much you pay to refill your LPG cylinder (ignore rental costs)

$122.25 to fill LPG cylinder

2

Divide the cost by how many kilograms (kg) the bottle weighs to get the dollars per kg

For a 45kg bottle –

$122.25/45kg = $2.72 per kg

3

To get the cost per MJ, divide the cost per kg by 49.8.

$2.72/49.8 = $0.05 per MJ

Average costs for common appliances

We have estimated the average running costs of a range of appliances commonly found in Australian homes. These costs are only a guide – the most accurate way of working out how much the appliances in your home cost to run is by borrowing a Home Energy Toolkit or doing your own home energy audit.


Related information

On this site

External sites


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Page last updated 29 November 2016

Provided by:
Department of State Development
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/calculate-running-costs
Last Updated:
29/11/16
Printed on:
20/02/17
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016