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Appliances: Cost of Operation

How much do your electric appliances cost to operate? For a better understanding read the topics below.

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Estimated Cost of Running the Most Common Appliances

Here is a list of electric costs from our Appliance Calculator to show you the estimated cost of running the most common appliances in your home. This simplified table is based on average appliance usage for a family of four, with an average cost per kilowatt hour of 8.2 cents. You can quickly customize this information for your own home, for your electric company and for the exact number of people in your family by clicking the link above.

The estimates below have been calculated with a cost of: $.082/kWh

Appliance  Explanation  Monthly
Electric cooking appliances Includes most kitchen appliances used in cooking 60 $4.92
Electric clothes dryer About 5 loads per week 85 $6.97
Lighting Normal indoor lighting for 4 to 6 hours per evening 90 $7.38
(and freezer combo)
Average 18 to 22 cubic ft, less than 10 years old 100 $8.20
Electric water heater
(general use)
Average bathing and general use, cold clothes wash 260 $21.32
Electric water heater (additional use for HOT clothes wash) About 5 loads/week, warm to hot wash, cold rinse 100 $8.20
Freezer Small to medium stand-alone freezer 60 $4.92
Small appliances
(normal home)
Other small appliances and electronics inside the home 160 $13.12

Calculate this list for your home and your electric rate: Appliance Calculator

Notes to the table above:

  • The cost per kWh shown may not be accurate for your home. Electric bills will normally have different average costs per kWh, depending on the amount of the bill.
  • “Other small appliances” is a very rough estimate of all the other appliances in your home that use 1 to perhaps 25 kWh per month. This includes normal usage of your TV, computer, microwave oven, clocks, tools and other small users.
  • You will notice that electric heating and air conditioning costs are not included in this list. These two electric users can be a significant portion of your bill, but to estimate these costs, we must consider more details about your home. To estimate your heating and cooling costs, use the Appliance Calculator or the information in Heating Costs & Comparisons.
  • These numbers are estimates based on many averages, and are not to be used as an exact representation of what your actual costs might be. Your exact electric usage may be different from these estimates and your usage will also vary from month to month. Actual electric bills are dependent on your living habits, the weather, the condition of your appliances and other hard to predict variables.

Using your electric bill to estimate your appliance usage

Most of your electric bills will be higher than the estimate above because many of your bills will also include heating costs (at least the furnace fan) or air conditioning. So how can you look at your electric bills and determine if your appliance usage is near average?

In most years with normal weather you will have at least two electric bills that are good opportunities to estimate how much your appliances are costing to operate. For most homes, one bill in the spring and one in the fall will cover a time period with very little, if any, heating or air conditioning costs. Look for your two lowest bills in the past 12 months, average them together and this number is a fair estimate of your non-heating and non-cooling appliance usage.

Electric Appliance Surprises

The condensed list above includes the most common home appliances. Some homes have electric bills that are higher than this estimate, higher than the neighbors bill or perhaps higher than bills from past years. The reason can sometimes be traced back to an electric device that consumes much electricity but is not used in every home and is not on the list of common appliances. Some of these items can be surprising as to how much electricity they use. Here are some items to watch out for and an estimate of how much they might add to your electric bill.

Electric Appliance Surprises: Possible Causes of a High Electric Bill

Appliance The appliance wattage, size and usage assumptions listed, determine the monthly kWh and cost estimate Potential kWh per month Potential
cost per month, at $.082/kWh
Swimming pool pump motor 1 HP, 1400 watts, 24 hrs/day
(cost is for each 1HP)
1008 $82.66
Hot tub water heating, poor insulation
and/or no cover
5.5 kW heater cycling on 50%, outdoors in cold weather 1980 $162.36
Hot tub water heating,
insulated & covered
5.5 kW heater cycling on 15%, outdoors in cold weather 594 $48.71
Dehumidifier 400 watts, always running
in a damp location
288 $23.62
Plug-in space heater 1500 watts, cycling 50%
in a cool space
540 $44.28
Low wattage heat lamp
in a cold location
250 watt heat lamp
on 24 hours per day
180 $14.76
Automobile engine heater 1000 watts, 12 hrs/night
coolant flow heater
360 $29.52
Outdoor flood lights Six 100 watt flood bulbs,
on 12 hours per night
216 $17.71
Furnace fan always on Standard, ¾ HP fan, 750 watts on 24 hours per day 540 $44.28
Old side by side refrigerator that you kept when you got a new one Old refrigerators, especially the frost free, side by sides, are not energy efficient 200 $16.40
Water bed heater 400 watts, cycling 50%
in a cool room
144 $11.81
Water pump for irrigation 1 HP, 1600 watts (varies),
4 hours per day
192 $15.74

The above costs are estimates based on the conditions noted. Your actual electric usage from these devices will depend on many hard to predict usage patterns and other variables and will likely be different from the estimates above.

All the Other Appliances

In the following link, we have gathered an extensive list of electric appliances and an estimate of how much they cost to operate.  For each appliance, we offer an example of how much electricity it may draw (watts), some notes on how it might be used by a typical household, the estimated kWhs of electricity per month and the estimated cost per month.

Electric Appliance Operating Cost List