How much Electricity does it use?
This page contains some notes and measurements on electricity consumption of various household items. I had to work out the cost of running a server for a year and was surprised at how many units of electricity were used, so I decided to start recording other household items. The items I've listed here are things which are typically left plugged in (on standby).
How much does it cost?
Electricity consumption (at least in the UK) is measured and paid for by units, where one unit is the equivalent of 1 kilowatt hour. So a 100watt light bulb left on for ten hours uses 1unit of electricity (100watts x 10hours = 1000 watt hours = 1kwh) as would a 2kw fan heater left on for half an hour.
The following table is provided as a guide and shows how many units (kwh) devices would use according to their rated power consumption:
So a 100 watt bulb left on 24 hours a day for a year will use 876 units of electricity, which at (say) 15p per unit would work out at £131.40. By adding a time switch to switch that same bulb on for only 8 hours a day would reduce the annual electricity cost down to £43.80 (a saving of £87.60). So if the time switch cost £20 then it would pay for itself more than four times over within a year. Contrast that with a modern high efficiency 15 watt bulb (which gives out almost as much light) that would use 131.4 units of electricity if left on 24 hours all year, or �20 - a significant saving.
If you want to see how long it takes to use one unit of electricity for a device then this is tabulated in the following table:
How much does it use?
The following table lists the power consumption figures that I have measured for a number of different devices:
You may also wonder how much electricity does a water heater use. Well, it depends, on the size of the water heater and the type. Tank water heaters consume more energy then tankless when heating the water and that is why we advice you to select a tankless water heater and read the reviews for each model before you choose one. With tankless water heaters, you consume energy only on demand, only when you need hot water. This is why tankless are better when it comes to energy consuming.
Working it out for yourself if it isn't listed above - how much electricity does it use?
Almost everything which uses electricity will come with or have on it an indication of how much electricity it uses. This might not be obvious, because an indication of electricity usage might take any of the following forms:
Treat the above as a guide, as the actual consumption figure will depend on the conditions in which a device is used and any published watts, amps or BTU typically represent the maximum and not the typical power usage.
Are there alternatives?
If you are concerned about the amount of electricity you are using then there may be alternatives. There is a modern trend towards lower power devices - although you have to balance any cost savings with the purchase cost, so sometimes it will be more economical to wait until something fails and needs replacing.
About the author: Brian Cryer is a dedicated software developer and webmaster. For his day job he develops websites and desktop applications as well as providing IT services. He moonlights as a technical author and consultant.