The real cost of running your home’s appliances

It’s tempting to only look at the price tag when shopping around for new whitegoods and alike, but do you stop and think about how much your home's appliances will cost to run once they're plugged in?

When in pursuit of a new appliance like a fridge, washing machine or TV, the price tag is normally our first port of call – and rightfully so. It’s the upfront amount we have to pay before we’re allowed to take it home.

But then there’s figuring out what you’ll be spending ongoing for the cost of the running of the appliance after it makes its way into the house. And that can be the tricky part.

Taking a look at the bigger picture when you buy a new appliance can help you see how to save more in the long term. So whether you’re hunting around for something new instore or online, here are three good questions to ask yourself:

  1. Based on the energy rating of the models you’re looking at, how much will each one cost to run per year?
  2. How many years does the manufacturer of each appliance expect it to last for?
  3. Once you add the initial cost of each model to the costs you can expect to pay to keep it running over its lifetime, which one comes in the most affordable?

You likely have dozens of appliances around the home that each leave their mark on your energy bills, but here are four that are bound to be found at any Aussie address.


One of those rare appliances that runs around the clock, the fridge is your home’s greatest necessity. So to help cut costs, try to find one that’s energy-efficient – especially since this wonderful white-good can account for around 13 per cent of your total energy usage.

Price tag: Expect to pay between $1099 and $1699 for an average-sized (two-door, 400-litre) fridge/freezer.

Running costs: A unit with a 1.5-star rating can set you back around $171 each year to run. But pick up one with a 4.5-star rating and that cost can come down to $101.

Hot tip: Try to buy as many energy rating stars as your budget allows. Every extra star on your sticker can bring your fridge’s running costs down by 20 per cent.

washing machine costs to run

Washing machine

Like when choosing any appliance, selecting a washing machine that suits your situation is the goal. Take a family with young kids for example. Chances are they’ll take their machine for a spin more often than a couple would, so having a larger yet energy efficient appliance should help see each load of laundry they do cost less.

Price tag: Expect to pay between $749 and $1699 for a medium-sized (7kg front-loader) washing machine.

Running costs: Roughly $203 is what a 1.5-star rated top-loader washing machine can cost to run each year. But swapping it for a 4-star front-loader could see you spend as little as $74 a year.

Hot tip: Use cold water in your machine, watch your hot water costs drop and the amount you save overall jump. It can even extend the lifespan of your clothing.


While Australians spend up to one month a year in front of the telly,  having an energy-efficient unit means there’s no need to watch their electricity costs skyrocket at the same time.

Price tag: The average 42-inch LED TV costs somewhere between $600 and $800.

Running costs: Leave a 2-energy star rated TV on for four hours a day and it’ll cost $45 a year to run. But go for a telly that has 7 stars and you could cut that cost by more than half – down to around $18 a year. For greater efficiency, go for LCD or LED over plasma.


Half of all Australian households now have a dishwasher, and those with energy-efficient ones installed are likely finding it cheaper to use it for cleaning their dishes than if they were to wash them by hand.

Price tag: Be prepared to dish out anywhere from $1099 to $1799 for an average built-in unit.

Running costs: If you use your dishwasher four times a week, a 2-star model will cost $75 a year. But splurge on a 4-star machine and you’ll get away with spending $37 a year.

Want to learn more about where energy is being used in your home? AGL is introducing a new service that provides an estimated breakdown of how you’re consuming energy by category, such as cooling, heating and lighting.

After a successful trial where customers said it helped them make changes around the house to reduce energy wastage, ‘Energy Insights’ is now available to AGL electricity customers in Victoria*, with the plan to launch in NSW, SA and QLD by late 2018.

Click here to see a sample report and register for the service.

*AGL customers must have a smart meter installed and at least 6-months billing history to be eligible. At this stage, AGL customers on gas or solar plans are ineligible for this service.

Fridge Costs, Fridge Statistics, Washing Machine Costs, Washing Machine Statistics, TV Costs, TV Statistics and Dishwasher Costs.