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How can I tell how much electricity I use each day?
Alongside heating, cooling, and lights, every appliance or electronic device you use is reflected in your monthly energy bill. While climate control and lights are harder to manage, it’s easy to find out how much those devices are costing you. You can adjust your usage – and lower your bill – by unplugging or simply using those devices less. To calculate your power consumption, all you need is a simple formula:
- Calculate the watts each device uses per day
- Convert watts to kilowatts. There are 1000 watts in one kilowatt.
- Determine the kilowatts an appliance uses per month.
- Figure out the cost. (Some multiplication required.)
To start you’ll need the device’s wattage and an estimated number of hours you use it per day. If you find that your bill is too high, it might be time to shop for a new energy plan. The SaveOnEnergy marketplace shows today’s rates from top providers at no cost to you, which you can see by entering your ZIP code above.
With that said, let’s start calculating.
How can I find the wattage of a device?
Most devices have a label listing how many watts they use. You can find this wattage label either on the device (usually on the bottom or back) or in the owner’s manual.
If you can’t find the wattage label, there are a couple other options to determine how much power the device uses.
- Purchase a wattage measuring device, such as the Kill A Watt®, which displays the wattage of a device when you plug it in.
- Contact the manufacturer with your device’s model number.
We’ve also provided a list that shows the common wattage of everyday household devices. Though the wattage of your particular device may vary, it should give you a rough estimate.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, here are typical wattage levels of everyday devices:
|Coffee Maker||900-1200 watts|
|Ceiling fan||65-175 watts|
|Space heater (40gal)||4500-5500 watts|
|Hair dryer||1200-1875 watts|
|Computer monitor||150 watts|
|Computer tower||120 watts|
|Television 19"-36"||65-133 watts|
|Television 53"-61"||170 watts|
How to calculate my energy consumption
The first step in calculating your energy consumption is to figure out how many watts each device uses per day. Just multiply your appliance’s wattage by the number of hours you use it in a day. This will give you the number of watt-hours consumed each day.
Calculate Watt-hours Per Day
Device Wattage (watts) x Hours Used Per Day = Watt-hours (Wh) per Day
Example: A 125-watt television used three hours per day
125 watts x 3 hours = 375 Wh/Day
However, electricity on your bill is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), not watt-hours. One kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts, so to calculate how many kWh a device uses, divide the watt-hours from the previous step by 1000.
Convert Watt-Hours to Kilowatts
Device Usage (Wh) / 1000 (Wh/kWh) = Device Usage in kWh
Example: A television using 375 Wh of electricity per day
375 / 1000 = 0.375 kWh
Now that we know how many kilowatt-hours the appliance uses per day, we have to estimate that usage over a month. Let’s multiply by 30 days to simulate an average month.
Find Your Usage Over a Month
Daily Usage (kWh) x 30 (Days) = Approximate Monthly Usage (kWh/Month)
Example: A television using 0.375 kWh of electricity per day
0.375 kWh x 30 Days = 11.25 kWh/Month
So, a 125-watt television that you use for three hours per day adds up to 11.25 kilowatt-hours of energy per month. This is your television’s energy consumption. How does that translate to your electricity bill? Let’s move to the next step.
How to calculate my electricity bill
Now that you know approximately how much energy your appliances and devices consume over the course of a month, we can estimate what that part of your energy bill will cost.
For this step, you’ll need to look at your last electric bill to see how much you pay per kWh, otherwise known as your electric rate.
If you have a variable rate plan this can vary from month-to-month, so it becomes very difficult to estimate future electric bills. Fixed rate plans allow customers to much more accurately estimate their electricity bill from month to month. You can search for fixed rate options by entering your ZIP code in the box below. Otherwise, let’s continue our math.
The find out how much your appliances cost per month, multiply your electric rate by your monthly usage that we figured out in the steps above.
Figure Out the Cost
Monthly Usage (kWh) x Electric Rate ($/kWh) = Approximate Cost per Month
Example: A television using 11.25 kWh/Month with an electric rate of $0.10/kWh
11.25 kWh x $0.10 = $1.13/Month
Based on these calculations, this television would cost you $1.13 per month. While that might not seem like much, the appliances and devices throughout your home can really start to add up.
Remember, your appliances and devices only account for part of your energy bill. This does not take into account heating, cooling, and lighting. If your home has a meter that you can read, you can multiply the number of kWh for that month by your electric rate (like we did above) to get a more accurate bill estimate.
Another way to estimate your bill is to compile your bills from the past few months and find their average.
Overall, calculating your energy bill is a matter of knowing your usage and what price you pay for energy. If cutting back your usage doesn’t work or you have a variable rate that makes costs hard to estimate, it might be time to look for a new plan. Enter your ZIP code below to shop options in your area, or check out our Learning Center to read more about energy management.
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