Appliances that chew through your money

Kate Wick

By Kate Wick

4 min read

Are you fed up with exorbitant power bills? Rather than relying on your credit card or savings account to pay your electricity provider, consider changing your power consumption. 

Recent data by Tony Wood, Grattan Institute Energy Program Director, revealed over the five years to 2013 the average Australian power bill increased by 70 percent. This is a substantial increase – felt by many Australians in their hip pocket.

By targeting appliances that chew through electricity, you might be able to drive down your monthly bills, putting more money in your pocket (or your savings account!).

The main offenders

Energy.gov revealed the main energy-guzzling appliances, listing a range of average wattages for everyday appliances and says you should take into account the usage of each appliance, the wattage and the operating settings when trying to cut down on your electricity bill. 

Topping their list of the highest appliance wattages are; clothes dryers (1800–5000 watts), dishwashers (1200-2400), clothes iron (1000–1800), vacuum cleaners (1000–1440), toasters (800–1400), portable heaters (750–1500) and hair dryers (1200–1875). 

However, saving on energy doesn’t mean you have to go without your game console, wear crumpled shirts to work or let your hair dry naturally. There are ways to use your favourite appliances more efficiently – which in return, will save you money.

Switch it off

Leaving mobile phone, laptop and tablet chargers plugged into the wall with the power on could be running up your electricity bill even when you aren’t utilising them. Getting into the habit of switching off ‘all’ electrical appliances and chargers can help drive down your power bill as appliances, such as your plasma screen television, still use energy even when on standby mode. 

Cutting big item costs down

Most Australians couldn’t live without their microwaves, fridges and washing machines. Luckily you don’t have to – there are ways to manage these big items so you consume less energy and lessen the dent in your wallet. 

Fridges are a staple appliance in Aussie households, one you can’t switch off periodically. But you can save money on the electricity it uses by controlling its temperature. Energy Australia recommends keeping your fridge temperature between 4-5 degrees and your freezer set at -15 and -18 degrees celsius. 

When it comes to heating up your food, while microwaves use less electricity than ovens, it’s still wise to leave your food in the fridge to thaw instead of using the microwave. And when you are using the oven, try to leave your oven door alone. Each time you don’t open the door to peek a look at your baked goods the more money you’ll be saving. 

As for cleanliness, Energy Australia advised it’s best to only run washing machines and clothes dryers on full loads. Another hot tip is to avoid hot water! You’ll save on energy costs by using cold water when washing your clothes.  

New report has bright ideas

A recent report from the Grattan Institute has suggested a new way of charging electricity consumers.

The proposed solution could drastically lower required electricity network investment, resulting in cheaper bills for customers. 

The Fair Pricing for Power report suggests changing the way power bills are calculated. At present, households pay for electricity based on their total energy consumption. 

A massive 43 percent of consumers’ power bills fund the electricity network. The Grattan Institute has suggested this proportion of consumers’ bills should be calculated by the load households put on the network. 

“Calculating bills based on a household’s maximum load far better reflects the real cost of running the network. If we can get this cost down, we can get consumer prices down,” explained Tony Wood, Grattan Institute Energy Program Director.


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