Note: The estimates on power usage of appliances in this section are general guides only. All appliances are different and energy use can be impacted by elements outside of the appliance itself including environment, house wiring and other variables. This information is not a guarantee of power saving. Always consult the appliance manufacturer or a registered electrician if you have concerns about your appliance’s power use.

Our appliances all use power, but how much are we talking? This varies greatly based on appliance, quality, efficiency, age, condition and even your home’s wiring itself. This guide provides some general estimates of possible power use for the most common appliances.

In the following sections you'll learn things like:

  • The amount of power your fridge may be using.
  • How to estimate the potential cost of certain appliances in the home.
  • Choosing certain appliances designed to reduce energy consumption.

Which appliances use the most electricity?

There’s a wide range of appliances that we use in our homes. If you’re wondering where the high-use areas are, start with the kitchen and laundry. Here we have the oven & stove, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer.

Given the daily use of these large appliances, it’s a good idea to understand how much your existing models use. From there, you can decide if it’s worth working towards replacing certain appliances with more energy efficient ones.  The Energy Rating website is a great place to start if you’re looking to upgrade.
 
Energy use of an appliance can vary based on a number of factors. For this guide we will focus on the appliance itself, but note factors like environment, home wiring, age, condition of unit and other things can impact the power usage.

How much power does a fridge use?

Fridge

A fridge/freezer upright combo (typical of many households in New Zealand) will vary in its power consumption based on its size and efficiency. An average 350-370 litre fridge might cost around $110-$120 a year  but make sure you check the energy star rating, size and reviews first. You can even get a consumer friendly power usage metre that plugs in between the wall and your fridge to monitor the actual energy being used.

There are ways to reduce the power a fridge uses regardless of the fridge/freezer you have. 

Check seals regularly on both fridge and freezer any gaps could mean extra power used. Make sure the unit is running properly  signs like strange noises and lack of cold despite being set low could mean servicing or replacement is needed.

Another way fridges waste power is when they simply aren’t full enough. Big empty spaces just need cooling for little benefit. Maybe your fridge is bigger than the house needs?

 

How much power does a TV use?

Television

If you’ve got an average size (32, 42 inch) modern LED flat screen TV and it is used sparingly, your power consumption should be fairly modest.

Most newer televisions have energy efficient displays and power saving functions like auto switch-off. Provided use of the TV is moderate (like a few hours across the day and a few in the evening), the annual cost of a newer TV shouldn’t break the bank.

However, if you are a household with multiple TVs that are used for longer periods over the day and evening, the cost can start mounting up. Keep an eye on usage and make sure all TVs are switched off after use. Larger (60+ inch) TVs have to power a much larger screen so these usually use more power.

If your home has CRT or plasma TVs, these will use more energy. Plasma screens are known for being especially demanding on power. Smaller CRT TVs should be okay, but when comparing LED and CRT of the same screen size, the CRT is likely to draw more power.

 

How much power does an oven use?

Oven

Ovens require a lot of power to heat up to high temperatures to cook food. The power used can fluctuate based on temperature.

For a medium-high heat 2,400 watts is a reasonable estimate. If you cook a meal for an hour, including preheat time, you might expect to spend around $0.60 (depending on what your  $/kWh rate is with your power provider).

The cost of running an oven can increase when the door is opened frequently to check food (as the oven then needs to heat back up after closing the door). An empty oven sitting at the right temperature for a long period  is simply a waste of power  so keep an eye on the preheat light!

Always check the seal is in good condition and the fans are working properly for both safety and power efficiency. Consult a trained professional for any repairs

 

How much power does a computer use?

Computer

Computers don’t draw as much power as they once did. Screens (like TVs) have moved towards more energy efficient panels  which can have their brightness adjusted. The computer itself is now more energy efficient too.

Desktop computers are typically plugged into the wall at all times. They also drive larger screens than a laptop and the components are sometimes more powerful. Expect a desktop computer that’s used frequently in the home to draw a bit of power. If you keep usage time down, brightness down, and sleep/switch off the computer regularly, you may reduce the impact on your power bill.  A desktop computer used for three hours a day, then turned off when not in use, may cost around $50-$55 a year to run assuming a $0.25 per kWh rate.

Laptops have batteries and aren’t usually on charge all day long. Newer laptop computers have reasonably good energy efficiency in terms of how long the battery lasts and the charging process itself. If you charge the laptop and maybe top up a bit over the day, this might look like three hours of charging time. This really shouldn’t cost much (maybe as low as $0.05 a day). While many laptops have a function to stop drawing charge once the battery is full, as long as the computer is plugged in, there could be some power usage. Safest bet, unplug when you’re done.

One last thing  some homes have multiple computers and devices. Individually a computer might not be a huge power draw, but a household full of computers plugged in will start to make a difference. If you’re a techy household, get into power-saving habits  starting today!

 

House appliance power usage & cost examples

All appliance models vary in efficiency, wattage and of course your own usage habits. This table is a guide only. Consult the manufacturer or manual for further information.

Appliance

Example kWh rate with power provider

Estimated size of appliance in watts

Typical Daily Running Time (hrs)

Daily kWh

Estimated cost per day

Estimated cost per year

Fridge/Freezer avg size & star rating

$0.25 kWh

100

12 (cycles off and on) at full

1.2

$0.30

$109

TV (LED 42 inch)

$0.25 kWh

80

4

0.32

$0.08

$29.20

Oven

$0.25 kWh

2400

1

2.4

$0.60

$219

Computer (desktop)

$0.25 kWh

200

3

0.6

$0.15

$54.75

Computer (laptop)

$0.25 kWh

60

3

0.18

$0.05

$18.25

 

For the longer list of appliances and power usage, see our resource Appliances and their power usage  list (PDF).

Downloadable resources

 

Other pages in the Saving Electricity hub

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