Calculate appliance running costs

Close-up of a woman using a calculator and writing with a pencil

To calculate how much an individual appliance is costing you to run, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Find out how much you pay per unit of electricity

    In Victoria, we are currently paying about 28 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), for standard ‘peak rate’ electricity.
    1kW = 1000 watts
  2. Find out how much input power the appliance uses in kilowatts (kW)

    The input power is usually marked on the appliance, its packaging or in the instruction manual in 'watts'. Using a portable heater that is rated at 2000 watts as an example:
    2000 watts ÷ 1000 = 2kW
  3. Estimate hourly running cost

    Multiply the input power in kW by the price of your electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh).
    2kW x 28c per kWh = 56 cents per hour.

SO, a portable heater with an input power of 2000 watts, or 2kW, will cost roughly 56 cents for every hour it is on. You can then multiply this by the number of hours per day you use the appliance to calculate a daily running cost.

The wattages of most appliances are on the packaging, or on a label on the back. Use the formula above to calculate the approximate running cost for any plug-in electrical appliance.


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