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Energy Efficiency Biggest User -- Learn how to estimate your home appliances’ energy use to see if it’s time for an upgrade


You’ve had your fridge forever. With the exception of some


crumbling parts of the seal, it’s in pretty good shape and keeps your food cold. Why worry about budgeting for an upgrade? For starters, inefficient appli- ances can have a huge impact on your home’s monthly electric bill. Replacing a refrigerator made before 1993 with a new, ENERGY STAR-rated model could knock $65 to $100 off your power costs each year. When evaluating older applianc- es, one key question emerges: Which is the biggest user? You can usually find the watt- age of most appliances stamped on the bottom or back of the ap- pliance or on its nameplate. The wattage listed shows the maxi- mum power drawn by the appli- ance. Because some appliances have a range of settings—just like the volume on a radio—the actual amount of power con- sumed depends on the setting used at any one time. Keep in mind that as elec- tronics and appliances become more technologically savvy, they often draw power even while turned off. A good indicator of this—called “phantom load”—is to check the device for a light that stays on all the time.


Phantom load will add a few watt-hours to energy consump- tion, but a few watt-hours on each of your many electronic devices adds up. To avoid this silent power draw, unplug the device or invest in a “smart” power strip, which allows certain electronics—like a cable box, which takes time to reboot after it’s been unplugged—to continue using electricity while others can be completely shut down. Here are examples of the range of wattages for common household appliances: • Clothes washer: 350–500 Watts


• Clothes dryer: 1800–5000 Watts


• Dishwasher: 1200–2400 Watts (heat drying feature increases energy use)


• Hair dryer: 1200–1875 Watts • Microwave oven: 750–1100 Watts


• Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cu- bic feet): 725 Watts


Once you calculate how much money you spend to run aging home appliances, com- pare this to what it would cost to use more efficient models. There are other benefits, too. For example, not only have clothes washers become 64 percent more energy efficient since 2000, but the tub size has


increased by 9 percent. With a new model you can wash more clothes for less money every month.


And before any energy ef- ficiency upgrade, remember to check http://energy.gov/savings and http://www.dsireusa.org/ to find if rebates or incentives are available in Oklahoma.


Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Asso- ciation of Home Appliance Manufacturers, ENERGY STAR


35001


To estimate the energy con- sumption of an appliance, use this general formula provided: (Wattage × Hours used per day × Days used per year) ÷ 1,000 = Annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) used


Remember: 1,000 watts = 1 kilo- watt (kW).


Then calculate the annual cost to use an appliance by multiply- ing the kWh per year by rate per kWh used.


For example, a PC and monitor: [(120 Watts + 150 Watts) × 4 hours per day × 365 days per year] ÷ 1000


= 394 kWh × .09 cents/kWh = $35.46/year


Kay Electric Cooperative • 3


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