What does it cost to operate?

You want to determine the value of replacing an old appliance with a new one. For example, you have a refrigerator manufactured in 1984. Since you don't have a kWh meter, you look in the table below and get 1457 kWh/year for the average refrigerator sold that year in Canada. The new appliance has a label claiming it uses only 410kWh per year. The potential savings are 1457 - 410 = 1047 kWh per year.

The annual cost savings are 1047kWh * $0.10/kWh (your power rate) = $105

Assume the new refrigerator will last 15 years. Assume you can sell the new appliance 15 years from now for $100. Using a spreadsheet or financial calculator, you next determine the present value of saving $105 a year for 15 years and then selling it for $100. In Microsoft Excel, the formula would be =PV(0.07,15,105,100) and it will yield $993. The link below will also calculate this for you.

Appliance Savings Calculator with database lookup This means that spending $993 on this new refrigerator now will yield a return of 7%, which is the average growth of the stock market over the last 200 years. If you can get the refrigerator for $993 or less, then it is a good use of your investment dollars. If you pay more than this, then your money might have been better invested elsewhere.

The table below of actual values (as opposed to government averages) will grow as I have time to collect more data. The intent is to be able to make accurate economic decisions about appliance replacement.

Average appliance energy usage (from EnerGuide). These averages are good for general estimates of what an older appliance might use. See below for actual, real world measurements.

Annual kWh 1984 1990 1997 1999 2004 energy star
Fridge 1457 1044 664 664 465 411
Dishwasher 1213 1026 649 640 457 422
Clothes washer 1243 1218 930 860 573 267
Standard clothes dryer 1214 1103 887 908 912 413
Chest Freezers 813 658 342 337 344  
Self cleaning Ranges 790 727 759 742 622  

These are actual kWh readings from appliances. It is important to figure out what draws the power you pay for every month, so that you can make informed decisions about where to direct your efforts. Many devices are intermittent (like a refrigerator that cuts in and out) and seldom draw the "rated power" listed on the label, so determining usage requires electrical test equipment.

For simple devices like light bulbs, multiple the wattage times the hours of usage and divide by 1000 to get kWh. For example, a 60W bulb running for 10 hours burns (60W x 10hr)/1000 = 0.6kWh. For complicated things like dishwashers, computers or  refrigerators you need a kWh meter to monitor it over time. Since most people don't have a kWh meter, we started this reference list. Please feel free to contribute to it -- you can send us your measurements via the "contact us" form.

Name Model kWh Measurement Period Comments Picture
Toaster Grocery store
0.03 Single use, white
toast came out
medium brown.
2 slice toaster
Toaster Krupps 0.07 Single use, white
toast came out
medium brown
Quartz element,  2 wide slots, capacity 4 slices
Kettle Philips 0.09 Single use, boil 1 liter water
until auto-shutoff
Deep Fat Fryer
Grocery store
0.30 Preheat then cook
chicken strips for 8 minutes at 180°C / 350°F.
deep fat fryer
Clothing washer LG TROMM
WM1814CW circa 2005
0.08 Single wash Front loader, warm
wash, cold rinse, high speed spin. Settings as pictured.
LG Washer
Clothing washer Whirlpool model LXR7244JQ3 circa 2004 0.22 Single wash Top loading, regular cycle.
Whirlpool washer
Dish washer Kitchenaid
Superba model
Single wash Smaller figure is for
energy saver dry.
Kitchenaid dishwasher
Fridge Kitchenaid
Superba model
3 mfg date
45 per month (based on 3 days of
Room temp was 22C, no children!. Energuide 616kWh/year or 51kWh per month.
KitchenAid refrigerator
Fridge Whirlpool model ET8WTMXKQ0 mfg date 02/04   Room temp 21C. EnergyGuide and EnerGuide labels estimates 482kWh per year or 40kWh per month.
GE refrigerator
Fridge Danby mini-fridge
model DAR452BL  circa 2002
17 per month (2 day measurement, door never opened) Room temp 21C. 343 kWh/year or 29 kWh/month.
Danby mini fridge
Fridge Danby wine cooler circa 2002 23 per month (1 day measurement) Room temp 21C, inside light off.
Danby wine cooler
Water cooler Oasis hot and cold, circa 2001 95 per month -- regular use with 3 people, cold water and tea - measured for 24 hours Room temp approx 20C. Boiler and chilling chamber are very close together.
Oasys water cooler
Heat exchaner Venmar
Constructo heat exchanger
89 per month Draws 124W at 110 volts on high with an airflow of 150m3/hr.
Venmar Constructo
Internet Dlink ADSL
modem, Dlink
wireless N
no-name 8 port
switch (2008
7.0 per month On 24*7. Older
equipment probably draws twice this, especially if the
transformers are bulky and run warm to the touch
Structured wiring closet
Security system DSC 1832 with
zone expander,
escort module.
7.6 per month Includes transformer losses.
DSC 1832
Security System DSC Power
7.2 per month Includes transformer losses
Generic tower PC Pentium 4,
2.6GHz, two
3.5 drives, all
slots full.
84 per month.
Observation period 8
hours with about 1
hour of active use.
Does not include
monitor power.
On 24*7. No special
power saving features.
Circa 2005.
Tower PC
Pico ITX form
factor, 250G
serial ATA.
12 per month On 24*7. Circa 2008.
Runs Debian.
Deep Freeze Deep Freeze Frigidaire
model FF014F3AW0
May 2001
63 per month (based on
1 day of measurement)
Door seldom opened. Room temperature 22C.
Deep Freeze