If you pay for home utilities, understanding the general power usage of your various home appliances is one way to estimate your costs. Estimating the watts of power that each of your home appliances uses is also one way to adjust your lifestyle and lower your living costs. As state and federal government pass legislation regulation the energy efficiency of appliances, knowing the status of your appliances allows you to remain in compliance.

## Calculating Costs

Though general power usage provides estimates and ranges for wattage, a simple calculation provides a more precise measurement for your specific appliances. Any appliance that uses electricity lists the wattage per hour of use either on the appliance, in the manual or on the box. Multiply the listed wattage by the number of hours per day in which the appliance is in use. Since utility companies charge based on daily kilowatt hours, or kWh, divide the number by 1,000, the number of watts in a kilowatt. To estimate yearly consumption, multiply by 365 days per year. To estimate cost, multiply your kWh by the local utility company rate.

## Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances account for some of the largest numbers of home power consumption. The wattage of an oven varies based on the temperature and time during which the oven is heating. Ovens use the most power during preheating, with an average between 2,200 and 2,400 watts. During regular cooking, the wattage is reduced to between 800 and 1,500 watts. Refrigerators range from 180 to 420 watts during the time that the compressor is activated, with older models and larger models being less efficient. Dishwashers consumer an average of 1,200 watts during use, while microwaves range from 1,200 to 1,500 watts based on size and energy output.

## Heating and Cooling

Furnaces are one of the largest power consumers in most households. Central gas furnaces consume around 400 watts while oil-burning furnaces average 1,500 watts, plus an additional 750 to operate the furnace fan. Electric space heaters are also big power consumers, averaging approximately 1,500 watts. Central air conditioners require approximately 5,000 watts of power, while window units average around 1,000 watts. Ceiling and window fans are less conspicuous energy consumers, ranging between 120 and 150 watts.

## Other Appliances

Some miscellaneous home appliances that consume large amounts of power are offset by the infrequency of their use. For example, hair dryers require between 1,500 and 1,600 watts of power, but they are used for only short periods of time. Dryers are also large power users, averaging approximately 3,400 watts. Washing machines require much less power, an average of 450 watts. In general, appliances that generate heat require larger amounts of power. For example, irons, toaster ovens and hobs require between 1,000 and 1,200 watts to operate. Plasma televisions require more wattage at about 350 watts compared with LCD televisions, which require around 215 watts.