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Hundreds of ways to keep your energy dollars



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Something to consider: Cost vs. Power Use

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What's using the most energy of all types?

U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency

and Renewable Energy Energy Savers


Appliances account for about 20% of your household's energy consumption with refrigerators, clothes washers, and clothes dryers at the top of the consumption list.

When you're shopping for appliances, think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price—think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You'll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 13 years; room air conditioners and dishwashers, about 11 years each; clothes washers, about 9 years.

When you do have to shop for a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR products usually exceed minimum federal standards by a substantial amount. The appliance shopping guide lists some of the major appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label and provides helpful information on what to look for when shopping for an appliance.

To help you figure out whether an appliance is energy efficient, the federal government requires most appliances to display the bright yellow and black EnergyGuide label. Although these labels will not tell you which appliance is the most efficient, they will tell you the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance so you can compare them yourself. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy lists the energy performance of top-rated energy-saving appliances on its Web site.

What's a kilowatt?

When you use electricity to cook a pot of rice for 1 hour, you use 1000 watt-hours of electricity! One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kilowatt-hour, or 1 kWh. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. The average residential rate is 8.3 cents per kWh. A typical U.S. household consumes about 11,000 kWh per year, costing an average of $900 annually.

How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use?
The chart above shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost based on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity the average television uses.


Typical Wattages of Various Appliances

Here are some examples of the range of wattages for various household appliances:

  • Aquarium = 50–1210 Watts

  • Clock radio = 10

  • Coffee maker = 900–1200

  • Clothes washer = 350–500

  • Clothes dryer = 1800–5000

  • Dishwasher = 1200–2400 (using the drying feature greatly increases energy consumption)

  • Dehumidifier = 785

  • Electric blanket- Single/Double = 60 / 100

  • Fans

    • Ceiling = 65–175

    • Window = 55–250

    • Furnace = 750

    • Whole house = 240–750

  • Hair dryer = 1200–1875

  • Heater (portable) = 750–1500

  • Clothes iron = 1000–1800

  • Microwave oven = 750–1100

  • Personal computer

    • CPU - awake / asleep = 120 / 30 or less

    • Monitor - awake / asleep = 150 / 30 or less

    • Laptop = 50

  • Radio (stereo) = 70–400

  • Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cubic feet) = 725

  • Televisions (color)

    • 19" = 65–110

    • 27" = 113

    • 36" = 133

    • 53"-61" Projection = 170

    • Flat screen = 120

  • Toaster = 800–1400

  • Toaster oven = 1225

  • VCR/DVD = 17–21 / 20–25

  • Vacuum cleaner = 1000–1440

  • Water heater (40 gallon) = 4500–5500

  • Water pump (deep well) = 250–1100

  • Water bed (with heater, no cover) = 120–380 has been developing for months. But the actual construction of this site was begun on February 11, 2009.

The site will be THE comprehensive site for consumers, showing them the myriad of ways they can save on their utility expense.

This column will be available to those wishing to advertise their utility, their product, or their service. Contact us at: to arrange for your ad. The site will be substantially completed within a month, but if you wait until that moment, space may well be taken. This is the time to strike a deal for a bargain ad. We have posted the site early for this purpose.