How to calculate the power used by your appliances
If you want to pinpoint the energy suckers in your household, there are a few ways you can calculate which appliances use the most power.
With appliances making up around 30 per cent of the average Australian household's power bill, according to the Department of Industry, it could be worth seeing which of these items you can make more efficient.
Use energy star rating labels
These handy guides are incredibly useful, so give them a second glance if they are there. They will give you the kilowatt hours (kWh) per year the appliance uses.
Goods that come with this label include computers, air conditioners, televisions, washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, fridges and freezers.
An appliance with a six or higher star rating is more efficient than an appliance with a one or two star rating, so look out for products with more stars.
How to do the maths
To calculate how much these items will set you back, you need to look for the energy consumption on the energy star label and the amount you are paying per kW from your power bill.
If you are paying 20 cents per kW and your TV uses 260kW per year, you need to do some multiplication. The telly would cost you around $52 per year to run as $0.20 x 260 = $52.
The star ratings are also great if you are looking at purchasing new products, as it allows you to do an electricity comparison to see which of two items will be cheaper over the long run.
Electrical appliances without a star rating
This can be a little trickier to calculate, but it is manageable and you could see savings on your power bill if you do the maths.
It will require a bit of study on your part, as you will need to look at your current bills to calculate your usage habits.
Once you have worked out how much power your household churns through, you might be able to work out the impact of specific appliances on your electricity prices.
How to do the maths
Once again, you need to know how much you are paying per unit of electricity. This should be easy to find on your power bill.
If you don't have a power bill handy, contact your electricity suppliers who should be able to tell you the amount over the phone. In some instances, this figure might also be on their website.
The next step is to work out the amount of power the item uses in kWs. This can usually be spotted on the packaging or in the manufacturer's information in 'watts'.
Now that you have the figures you need, it's time to crunch the numbers. Multiply the input power in watts by the price you pay per kW and you should find out how much you are paying per hour.
If your air conditioning unit is costing you an arm and a leg, you may want to see if there are other ways to cool down this summer. Consider using a ceiling fan instead, or minimising the amount of time the aircon is left on.
Posted by Liam Tunney.