What is the annual cost of running your air conditioner or Oil heater?

Have you ever thought about how much energy your AC unit or oil heater will use over the course of a year – or how much this energy will cost you? While sticker prices are the first (and sometimes only) thing that shoppers look at, the savvy electricity user will think about long-term savings in the form of avoided energy bill costs. The Save Energy Save Money website is a useful resource for anyone who wants to compare yearly usage costs for any type of device that you plug into your wall – from televisions to computers to fridges to vacuum cleaners.

For solar homes, understanding and managing how energy is consumed throughout the day is one of the keys to extracting the greatest benefit. Some things – such as the timing of appliance usage – are relatively easy to control with the right systems and/or mindsets in place. One thing that usually cannot be controlled is the energy consumed by a device per use – for example, a 1500 watt (W) vacuum cleaner running full bore for an hour is going to use 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy no matter how you dice it.

It’s possible to keep usage down by using appliances less frequently or for shorter periods at a time, but this arguably defeats the purpose of having them  – which is to use them when they are needed. And in any case, wouldn’t a device that consumed less electricity in the first place be a better option if you were going to take such a stringent ‘energy austerity’ route?

When shopping for products, energy star ratings are a good way to compare the relative efficiency of different brands & makes of comparable devices at a glance. But how much will a more efficient (but more expensive) device save you compared to a less efficient (but cheaper) one? That’s a question that Save Energy Save Money can help anyone answer.

SESM’s platform contains an impressively comprehensive array of products to compare – virtually every electronic device that currently available on the Australian market – but it is also fairly simple to use, and presents answers in an easy-to-understand format. Users can either search products by category or enter a model number into the site’s search bar to begin their comparison adventure.

The products of a search on SESM are comparison tables (like the ones below) that show the yearly cost of running each of these devices based on a typical usage scenario (i.e. X hours of usage per day at X days per year at $X/kWh). While actual costs will of course vary depending on the real-life usage and electricity rates of the home in question, these numbers give shoppers a rough dollar figure to keep in mind as they compare retail prices from various outlets (which, by the way, SESM also enables them to do).

SESM vacuum comparison

A screenshot from Save Energy Save Money’s platform: A comparison of annual energy usage costs between four different barrel vacuum cleaners.

SESM oil heaters comparison

A comparison of annual energy usage costs between five different column oil heaters.

SESM save up to XX with oil heater

Maximum annual savings possible from opting for the most efficient oil heater as opposed to the least efficient one.

With homes looking to maximise the value of the solar energy that they produce, energy-efficient products have become increasingly desirable. Save Energy Save Money is a great resource for anyone searching for appliances, and is a great complement to the energy star ratings seen on devices sold in stores and online. We encourage solar system owners to check out their site.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Jeff Sykes