sa.gov.au

Calculate your appliance running costs

Knowing and adding up how much the appliances in your home cost to run can help you to keep track of your energy bills.

The most accurate way to find out the running cost of an electrical appliance you plug in is to use an appliance power meter. You can borrow a power meter in the home energy toolkit free of charge from most public libraries.

If you know the input power of your electrical appliances, you can use the running cost calculator to estimate the maximum hourly and quarterly running cost. The tables on this page will also show you how to calculate running costs for yourself using an appliance's input power, or give you some estimated running costs for appliances commonly found in the average home.

Purchase costs and running costs

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 be cheap to buy but could cost you a lot more to run over the life of the appliance than a more efficient model. 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.

Calculate running costs using input power

Finding the input power of an appliance

You can usually find an appliance's input power in watts or kilowatts on a label on the appliance (as shown below) or in the appliance's instruction manual.

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

In the case of a gas appliance, find the gas consumption in MJ/h.

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

Not all appliances operate constantly at full power. Appliances with high or low settings or thermostats, such as air conditioners or fridges and freezers, can use less energy.

Electrical appliance running cost calculator

The calculator allows you to estimate the maximum hourly and quarterly running cost for your appliances. The calculator uses a default cost of 33c per kWh, but you can make your results more accurate by using the actual tariff you pay, which can be found on your electricity bill

Type the name of your appliance, then add the input power in watts (not kW) and the hours and minutes you use it for each day. If you would like to know the costs for multiple appliances, use the 'Add another appliance' button to add additional rows.

Electrical appliance running cost calculator

1

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

If you're unsure, the calculator uses 33 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

Calculating electrical appliance running costs manually

Step Action Electrical appliance example
1 Find out the appliance's input power in watts or kilowatts Label shows 2400W
2 If necessary convert input power to kilowatts (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 33 cents per kWh for electricity
4 Multiply the input power by the energy tariff to calculate the hourly running cost 2.4 x 33 = 79.2 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 79.2 cents = 792 cents a day

Divide by 100 to get the amount in dollars 792/100 = $7.92 a day

Calculating natural gas appliance running costs

Step Action Gas appliance example
1 Find out the appliance's input power in joules or megajoules Label shows 26MJ
2 If necessary convert input power from joules to megajoules (MJ) Convert joules to megajoules (MJ) by dividing by 1,000,000. In this case no conversion 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 4 cents per MJ for gas
4 Multiply the input power by the energy tariff to calculate the hourly running cost 26 x 4 = 104 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 104 cents = 1040 cents a day

divide by 100 to get the amount in dollars - 1040/100 = $10.40

These electricity and natural gas costs do not take into account the electricity or gas supply charge which also form part of your energy bill – see Understand your energy bills.

If you use a LPG cylinder instead of natural gas, you can use the calculation in the table below to determine the cents per MJ.

Step Action 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 the bottle weighs to get the dollars per kilogram 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

multiply by 100 to get cents per MJ - $0.05 x 100 = 5 cents per MJ

Average energy use of household appliances

Unless stated otherwise, the following running costs are based on:

  • an average peak electricity tariff of 33 cents per kilowatt-hour (1,000 watts equals a kilowatt) and an off-peak electricity tariff of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • an average gas tariff of 4 cents per megajoule.

Heating appliances

Area to be heated Appliance Typical hourly
running cost
1 or 2 people
in one place
Electric radiant heater
Electric heated rug
Electric blanket
$0.32
$0.04
$0.04
Small room
floor space 12m2
Small reverse cycle air conditioner
Electric panel heater
Electric portable heater
$0.11
$0.38
$0.38
Large room
floor space 36m2
Reverse cycle air conditioner
Gas heater
Electric heat bank (off peak)
Small combustion fire
$0.35
$0.49
$0.53
$0.47
Whole of house
floor space 200m2
Zoned ducted reverse cycle air conditioner
Zoned ducted gas heating
Large combustion fire
$1.88
$1.87
$1.35
Note: Estimated running costs are based on the AGL electricity and Origin Energy gas standing retail contracts. For further methodology information, please contact the Energy Advisory Service

Cooling appliances

The cooling appliances table shows the different types of cooling appliance available, running costs and operating tips. Use this table to help choose the best cooling appliance for your needs.

Cooling appliance Hourly running costsA,B Works best in Operating tips
Ceiling and portable fans 2–3¢ depending on size Models available for all room sizes and spaces
  • Can be used on their own or in combination with other cooling appliances.
  • Can assist with moving cool natural breezes through your home.
  • Reversible ceiling fans can also help with winter heating.
Portable evaporative 2–3¢ energy
1.34¢ water
Rooms up to 20m2
  • Needs good air flow to operate effectively, so place near an open window or door.
Portable refrigerative 36–46¢ Rooms up to 20m2
  • Not as energy efficient as split systems but more effective in well-insulated homes.
  • Includes indoor and outdoor components connected by a hose passed through a partially open window.
  • Setting the thermostat to 24-27oC or as high as is comfortable for you, will reduce running costs.
  • Direct louvres at the ceiling, as cold air falls.
Window and split refrigerative systems 11–16¢C
(12m2 room)

38–54¢C
(36m2 room)

53–75¢C
(50m2 room)
Windows systems – rooms up to 36m2

Split systems – rooms up to 75m2
  • Work best in well-insulated and draught-proofed homes.
  • The outdoor compressor should be in a well ventilated and preferably shaded area.
  • Setting the thermostat to 24-27oC or as high as is comfortable for you, will reduce running costs.
  • Direct louvres at the ceiling, as cold air falls.
Ducted evaporative systems 36–49¢ energy
8.4¢ water
Whole of house(200m2 home with 125m2 cooledD)
  • Effective in South Australia's dry climate. Can also be used as a large fan.
  • Systems need good air flow to operate effectively, opening some windows and doors will help.
Ducted refrigerative systems $2.26–$2.67C,E Whole of house(200m2 home with 125m2 cooledD)
  • Work best in well-insulated and draught-proofed homes with good quality ductwork.
  • The outdoor compressor should be in a well ventilated and preferably shaded area.
  • Systems with zoning can reduce the size of the area being cooled, using less energy.
  • Setting the thermostat to 24-27oC or as high as is comfortable for you, will reduce running costs.
Notes:
A. Estimated running costs are based on 32.8¢ per kWh (inc GST) for electricity unless otherwise state and water costs are based on $3.36 per kL (inc GST).
B. Estimated running costs for refrigerative air conditioners are based on 125 watts of cooling per square metre.
C. The lower cost is for newer efficient coolers and the higher cost is for older (eg more than 10 years old) less efficient coolers.
D. Cooled areas excludes bathrooms and garages.

Home entertainment and office

Televisions

Some households leave a television as background noise when no one is watching it. While televisions have a reasonably low hourly running cost, the extra time it is left on adds to the overall amount of energy used in your home.

Based on a television being on for 10 hours per day, the typical costs have been provided for a quarter (90 days).

Screen size Type of television Typical watts Hourly cost Quarterly cost
19-35 inches LED 18-123 $0.006-$0.04 $5.40-$36.00
LCD 21-144 $0.007-$0.05 $6.30-$45.00
35-43 inches LED 38-195 $0.01-$0.06 $9.00-$54.00
LCD 53-253 $0.02-$0.08 $18.00-$72.00
Plasma 88-290 $0.03-$0.10 $27.00-$90.00
43-59 inches LED 52-255 $0.02-$0.08 $18.00-$72.00
LCD 69-355 $0.02-$0.12 $18.00-$108.00
Plasma 94-399 $0.03-$0.134 $27.00-$117.00

Older television models

Screen size Type of television Typical watts Hourly cost Quarterly cost
34-35cm CRT 36-65 $0.01-$0.02 $9.00-$18.00
51cm CRT 46-82 $0.02-$0.03 $18.00-$27.00
Greater than 42 inches (2009 models) Plasma 150-420 $0.05-$0.14 $45.00-$126.00
LCD 100-275 $0.03-$0.09 $27.00-$81.00

Other entertainment and office appliances

Appliance Typical watts Hourly running cost
Desktop computer 17-163 $0.006-$0.05
Laptop 10-38 $0.003-$0.01
Printer (basic – multi-function) 25-1200 $0.008-$0.40
Cordless phone less than 5 $0.002
Mobile phone charger less than 5 $0.002
DVD player 10-35 $0.003-$0.01
Digital set-top box 5.4-20 $0.002-$0.007
Game console 15-200 $0.005-$0.07

Fridges and freezers

Most fridges and freezers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore, energy consumption and cost over a year is more informative than an hourly running cost. Newer fridges and freezers and more energy efficient than older ones. If you are buying a new fridge or freezer, check the energy consumption on the energy rating label.

For ways to reduce the amount of energy your fridge or freezer uses, see Fridges and freezers.

Fridge size Typical annual energy consumption (kWh) Cost per year
100-199 litres 358 $118.14
200-299 litres 410 $135.30
300-399 litres 490 $161.70
400-499 litres 495 $163.35
500-599 litres 738 $243.54
600-699 litres 1356 $447.48

Cooking appliances

Electrical cooking appliances

Appliance Typical watts Hourly running cost
Oven 1800-3800 $0.59-$1.25
Cooktop (per element) 1200-2400 $0.40-$0.79
Rangehood 80-140 $0.03-$0.05
Kettle 1800-2400 $0.59-$0.79
Microwave 800-1500 $0.26-$0.50
Toaster 600-1000 $0.20-$0.33

Gas cooking appliances

Appliance Typical megajoules Hourly running cost
Oven 12 $0.48
Cooktop (per burner) 12 $0.48
Griller 6-12 $0.24-$0.48

Dishwashers

As dishwashers have multiple options for the length and type of cycle (for example, eco versus full wash), energy use and cost per cycle are more useful measures than hourly running costs.

The cost per year is based on a dishwasher that is run four times a week.

Installation type Capacity kWh per cycle Cost per cycle Cost per year
Built-in less than 10 place settings 0.35-1.02 $0.12-$0.34 $24.96-$70.72
10-15 place settings 0.54-1.56 $0.18-$0.51 $37.44-$106.08
Free-standing less than 10 place settings 0.52-1.10 $0.17-$0.36 $35.36-$74.88
10-15 place settings 0.57-1.61 $0.19-$0.53 $39.52-$110.24
Benchtop less than 10 place settings 0.52-0.84 $0.17-$0.28 $35.36-$58.24
10-15 place settings 0.73 $0.24 $49.92
Mobile 12 place settings 1.05 $0.35 $72.80

Clothes washers and dryers

As clothes washers and dryers have multiple options for the length and type of cycle (for example, eco versus full wash) and the temperature they wash at, energy use and cost per cycle are more useful measures than hourly running costs.

Clothes washers

Capacity of machine Type of machine kWh per cycle – cold wash Cost per cycle – cold wash kWh per cycle – warm wash Cost per cycle – warm wash
less than 5kg Top loader 0.02-0.25 $0.007-$0.08 0.47-1.71 $0.16-$0.56
Front loader 0.16-0.6 $0.05-$0.20 0.36-1.79 $0.12-$0.59
Twin tub 0.11 $0.04 1.22-1.29 $0.40-$0.43
5kg-10kg Top loader 0.11-0.48 $0.04-$0.16 0.74-3.86 $0.24-1.27
Front loader 0.15-2.4 $0.05-$0.79 0.37-2.4 $0.12-$0.79
5kg-8kg Twin tub 0.11-0.35 $0.04-$0.12 0.9-1.92 $0.30-$0.63

Clothes dryers

Capacity of machine Type of machine kWh per cycle Cost per cycle
less than 5kg Condenser 1.48-4.5 $0.49-$1.49
Vented 2.79-5.02 $0.92-$1.66
5kg-9kg Condenser 1.98-6.88 $0.65-$2.27
5kg-10kg Vented 4.73-9.23 $1.56-$3.05
Notes:
Condenser dryers – heated air is continually passed through the load. Instead of exhausting the air, the dryer uses a heat exchanger to cool the air and condense the water vapour into a drain or collection tank. The air is then reheated and passed through the load.
Vented dryers – heated air is passed through the load, with the moist air vented out of the front of the appliance or through a venting duct.

Other small home appliances

Appliance Typical watts 15 minute running cost
Hair dryer 1200-2400 $0.10-$0.20
Iron 1200-2400 $0.10-$0.20
Vacuum 1200-2400 $0.10-$0.20

Stand-by power consumption

In Australia, the average stand-by power use in a household is 81.8 watts per hour, which can add up to $236.47 per year. Home entertainment and computer appliances contribute over 60% to this figure. Every additional one watt of stand-by power will add approximately $2.89 to your annual electricity bill if left on all the time.

The following table shows the average active and passive stand-by energy use for some common household appliances.

Appliance Passive stand-by power use Active stand-by power use
DVD player 1.5W 8.7W
Game console 5.4W 44.9W
Television (LCD) 3.5W n/a
Printer (laser) n/a 8.8W
Clothes washer (front loader) n/a 5.8W
Clock radio n/a 2.1W
Set-top box – Pay TV 15.8W n/a
Total 26.2W 70.3W

The cost of stand-by power for these appliances alone on passive stand-by is $75.74 per year and active stand-by power is $203.22 per year. If you consider how many appliances you have on stand-by in your home, you can see how the cost can start to add up.

Check the manufacturer's information for stand-by power information. If stand-by wattage is provided, you can calculate the running costs.

An appliance meter, such as the one available for loan in the home energy toolkit, can determine exactly how much electricity an appliance is using in all power modes. See Stand-by power for more information.

Lighting

Lighting your home can also use a lot of energy. While the cost of an individual light globe is very low, the average Australian home has 48 globes. To find out how much your lighting may cost to run and how you can make your lighting more energy efficient, see Lighting.

Swimming pools and spas

See swimming pools and spas for running costs and information on how to reduce the energy used by pools, spa pools and indoor spa baths.

Water heating

Heating water for showers, baths and washing accounts for 25 percent of the energy used in an average home – see Choosing and buying a water heater for information about choosing a water heater that suits your needs and the approximate lifetime costs of different types of water heaters.

Achieving the 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 watts or megajoules – 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 lowest appropriate energy tariff – compare electricity and gas prices and plans.

Need more help?

Contact the Energy Advisory Service for free help and advice on a range of energy topics.


Page feedback

Was this page useful?
What did you like about it?
How can we make it better?

We cannot respond to any comment made here. If you need a response, please use our contact page.

You can also help us improve the website by completing a short survey.

Page last updated: 16 March 2016