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What uses the most electricity in a home?

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In this article, Canstar Blue investigates what appliances use the most power in the home. We also reveal tips and tricks to help reduce these costs.

No one likes when their electricity bill arrives – well no one we know anyway. Often the bill is higher than you were expecting. Unfortunately there are a lot of factors at play that determine your power bill, so it can be hard to pinpoint the main culprit that’s driving up your energy usage.

One thing you can look at immediately is the energy efficiency of the appliances you use regularly, and whether they are the main culprits or not. While you may know some of the main energy suckers, you might not know just how much power they use. The results can be surprising! Just by having the knowledge you’ll have the power to make decisions that can save money on your electricity bill.

In the context of rising electricity prices, and with appliances having the potential to be a significant contributor to household consumption, Canstar Blue has gathered some of the top appliances that may be eating up your power bill.

What uses the most electricity in the home in Australia?

Home appliances, particularly those that may be dated, could be the culprit behind your shock power bill, so it is important to know which ones may be contributing more to your energy usage than others. The easiest way to do this is by checking the energy efficiency rating given on your particular appliance in question. But outside of this, there are some home appliances which generally tend to use more power than others, which can be helpful to keep in mind when budgeting for your next power bill. We’ve listed the top six energy draining appliances below, as well as cost guides for each one.

458L Samsung bottom mount fridge [srl457mw]

1. Fridges

The fridge is one of those appliances that you unfortunately have no choice but to run 24/7, which is why getting the right size and efficiency for your requirements can make all the difference to your energy bill. For instance, purchasing a fridge that is too big will see the generation of extra electricity to power unused space. While one that’s too small may see you utilising other spaces (such as that extra fridge in the garage) for storage, which could be adding extra unnecessary dollars to your power bill.

Placement and settings can also play a helpful role in saving energy when it comes to fridges. Keeping fridges in cool spots or adjusting the temperature settings may help to save electricity in the long run.


Want to know how much running your fridge is actually costing you? Find out in Canstar Blue’s refrigerator running cost analysis.


2. Oven

Westinghouse Combination oven [wve645s]

Though used far less often than the trusty household fridge, ovens can prove a sneaky power-drainer depending on its fuel type, size and of course usage. Particularly if you are a household that regularly uses the oven for extended periods of time, it’s important to understand how this may be impacting your energy bill. For example, whether you are using electricity or natural gas to power your oven may play a significant role in how much your usage will cost you. Settings and controls can also impact your usage amounts.

No matter the oven you choose however, to ensure greater energy efficiency it may help to use pots with lids when heating up liquids or food, and to make sure the oven door is kept closed as much possible.


How much is cooking your meals really costing you? Find out with Canstar Blue’s gas vs electric oven running cost guide.


3. Washing Machine

Samsung 7.5kg washing machine

As with refrigerators, how much energy it will cost to run a washing machine will come down to what size machine you choose. Picking the right size washing machine for your needs is an important initial step in achieving energy savings. Using a cold wash option is preferable, while loading the machine fully each time will save on the extra cost of putting another load on.

Energy efficiency can also vary wildly for washing machines, mainly based on if you have a top loader or front loader model. This might be something worth considering the next time you are in the market to buy a new washing machine for your home.


Household washing chewing up your energy bill? See where you could be saving with your laundry habits in Canstar Blue’s washing machine running cost analysis.


8kg Fisher paykel condenser-dryer [de8060p2]

4. Clothes Dryer

When it comes to drying clothes, drying on a rack or the line is the preferred option as dryers are one of the more notorious energy-drainers. Of course, how much energy your clothes dryer will cost you comes down entirely to usage habits. A helpful tip though is to not over-fill the dryer as this will slow down the drying process and lead to greater energy usage. If you’re on a peak/off-peak electricity plan, the opportunity also exists to cut down costs by scheduling washing and drying during off-peak electricity hours.

Energy use can vary wildly depending on what type of dryer you have; not all are equal! So be sure to research which may be best for your household next time you are in the market for a new dryer.


Afraid of your dryer racking up your power bill? See how much it actually costs to run your clothes dryer with Canstar Blue’s dryer running cost guide.


5. Air Conditioner

Fujitsu 2.5kw reverse-cycle split-system inverter air-conditioner [astg09kmca]

Air conditioners are again one of the more notorious appliances for their energy-draining qualities. You might have one in your bedroom, but they’re also commonly found in the lounge room to prevent you sweating through the latest horror movie. One of the more popular types of air conditioner is the split-system air conditioner, which is generally more energy-efficient than other types of air conditioning, but they can still be a big energy-drainer.

Keeping an eye on the temperature and settings may help to reduce some of the costs associated with using your air conditioner, particularly during those warmer months. Setting a timer for usage and keeping doors and windows closed to isolate the cooling to a smaller surface area may also help to keep costs to a minimum.


Don’t fear using the air conditioner this summer. See what types of air conditioners are the cheapest to run in your home with Canstar Blue’s summer cooling costs analysis.


6. Home Entertainment

Samsung 50-inch Smart Ultra HD TV [ua50ku6000]

While individually devices that fall under ‘home entertainment’ may be fairly innocuous when it comes to your energy bill, together they work as a team to drive up energy use. Adding to that, these devices are also typically left on at least standby 24 hours a day, and see significant usage in peak times. That being said, it could be surprising just how much energy leaving your appliances on standby could cost you.

Undoubtedly, the biggest energy-drainer in home entertainment however is the television. This also varies depending on if you have plasma or an LED/LCD television, but no matter what, it can pay to monitor the humble TV’s energy consumption.

Since televisions are one of the biggest energy consumers, when making a purchase, you should opt for the more energy efficient option amongst your preferred display technology. Apart from that you can also save energy by turning appliances off at the power outlet when they are not in use. They can still consume energy when in standby mode, potentially making up a significant percentage of household energy use.


How much is your weekly movie night costing you? Find out with Canstar Blue’s TV running cost guide.


Are you paying too much for power? Compare cheap electricity plans now

Identifying the energy drainers in your home can only get you so far if you find you’re still on a dud energy plan. Below are some of the cheapest plans in each state according to our database. Could there be more savings for you to have?

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4613kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4011kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

How to find out which appliances are using too much electricity

The government’s Energy Rating website is a good place to start when seeking to determine the electricity consumption and subsequent running costs of a major appliance in your home, or a prospective new one. Of course, when assessing how much energy appliances use, you should take into consideration any individual usage requirements that may put them outside of the range of the “average user”.

Most importantly, it will help if you know how to read the electricity ratings on each of your appliances to determine how energy-efficient they are. These rating can be found either in the user manual or, in most cases, via a sticker located on the front or side of the appliance.

Alternatively, you may be able to track the usage of you home appliances through the use of a home energy monitor or mobile phone app from your power provider.

Tips to save on your home energy bill

Figuring out how your electricity bill got so high can be a bit of a headache at the best of times. Besides going to the trouble of installing energy monitoring and saving gadgets, you can:

  • Look to some of the typical energy-drainers in your home
  • Find out their energy usage per year, or quarter
  • Approximate your own use of these appliances and gadgets
  • Find out how much your provider charges per kWh of electricity
  • Calculate approximate costs of running these energy-drainers in your home

Once you’ve undertaken these steps, you can then employ various energy-saving methods, such as turning appliances and gadgets off at the wall, and being more mindful about your usage in general. By simply looking out for these typically notorious energy-drainers in your home you can be on the path to a more manageable electricity bill next quarter. You can also consider the more energy-efficient appliances out there.

Compare electricity providers

Original Author: Jared Mullane

Of the appliances making up the average Aussie kitchen, the refrigerator/freezer and the oven stand out as the most used and most energy demanding. So when it comes time to making your next purchase, it’s certainly worth paying more up front for these appliances if it means greater energy efficiency, especially given their comparatively long lifespan.

Though these are the biggest energy drainers, it may also be worth noting how much energy boiling your kettle will cost you too! You may be surprised at just how much your morning cuppa is costing you.

Of the appliances making up the average Australian laundry room, washing machines and clothes dryers are clearly the most energy draining.

The lounge room in a typical Australian home consists of a variety of appliances ranging from the various home entertainment gadgets you’ll find, along with an air conditioner. While it may shock you just how much energy that flashy fish tank could be costing you in the lounge room, it’s safe to say that the TV and air conditioning unit remain the biggest energy drainers in this space.

Kelseigh Wrigley
Energy Specialist
Kelseigh Wrigley was a content producer at Canstar Blue for three years until 2024, most recently as an Energy Specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology.

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