Maybe you're trying to determine the high-energy appliances in your home with the idea that you'll use them less and be a little more environmentally friendly. Or perhaps you're looking at those appliances with the idea that you want to save a little money on utility bills. Finding the wattage of the appliances is the first step to analysing your home energy usage.
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Your house is full of low-wattage appliances. Clock radios, for instance, draw an average of about 10 watts. DVD players use about 20 to 25. A laptop computer uses about 50 watts of energy to recharge. An electric blanket uses 150 watts, and a window fan uses about 200 watts of energy. A 19-inch television uses around 110 watts, and larger televisions, like those with 53-inch projection screens, use about 170.
Air conditioners, hot water heaters and other appliances with heating or cooling elements are generally high-wattage items. A 40-gallon water heater, for instance, draws between 4,000 and 4,500 watts. The average hair dryer uses more than 1,200 watts and a simple clothes iron can use as many as 1,800 watts to operate. Clothes dryers can use up to 5,000 watts of energy.
The settings that you use for each product will greatly affect how much energy the appliance is using. Using the small burner on the hob, for instance, draws just more than 700 watts, while the average large burner draws more than 1,200 watts. The volume settings on a radio, or the difference between the low and high settings on an electric blanket, also determine how much energy the appliance is using.
Ultimately, the more wattage an appliance draws and the more frequently it is used, the more it will cost you to operate. To calculate an appliance's annual cost, take the average wattage, and multiply it by the number of hours it is used per day. Divide that number by 1,000, and multiply that number by the per-kilowatt-hour rate you find on your utility bill. Multiply that total by the number of days you expect to use the appliance in the course of a year. This figure will be your estimated annual cost.
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