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Breaking down your household energy costs

Reduce energy use in your household 16000646 800513710 0 0 14090874 300

Electricity prices are high, but there's no need to despair. There are plenty of ways in which you can monitor your energy use and figure out areas where you cut back and make savings.

Get appliance-wise

Small changes can influence your power bill - and knowledge is power. Items like your fridge, washing machine and television all use electricity, but energy efficient models can use less.

Check your appliance for an Energy Star rating. The higher the star rating out of five, the more efficient the appliance. If your item is of a low efficiency, consider buying one with a better rating next time you are in the market for something.

You can actually even work out how much your specific machines are costing you. Some power companies, and even the Australian government website Living Greener have calculators that can help you to work this out. Otherwise, here's the information you need to know to do it yourself.

First, check your power bill to see the amount you pay per unit of electricity. You should also be able to find this on the website of your electricity retailer.

Next, choose an appliance. Find how much input power the product uses in kilowatts (kW). This is usually indicated on the product's packaging or on the manufacturer's information in watts. The amount of 3,000 watts equals 3kW.

After this, to estimate the appliance's hourly running cost, you multiply the input power in kW of the item by the price of your electricity per kW hour.

Multiply this cost per hour by the number of hours that you use the appliance for. Then you can work out how much it costs you per day, per week, month or year.

This empowers you to reduce usage and cut your costs as you like.

The next step

Once you know what all of your main appliances cost you, you can make some decisions. Will you leave the television unplugged until you need it? You could even cut down the amount you watch it altogether.

You may also be encouraged to purchase an appliance that is more eco friendly and will help to bring those costs down.

If you have a larger household, maybe you'd like to encourage everyone to make a habit of using devices less and unplugging them more often.

Posted by Matthew Cole