You go shopping for a new refrigerator, and you’re on a budget. The best buy is the fridge with the lowest sales price, right? Not necessarily. The reason? The cost of owning a home appliance has three components: the initial purchase price, the cost of repairs and maintenance, and the cost to operate it.
To figure out how much you’ll spend over the lifetime of the appliance, you have to look at all these factors. The appliance with the lowest initial purchase price, or even the one with the best repair record, isn’t necessarily the one that costs the least to operate. Here’s an example of how an appliance’s energy consumption can affect your out-of-pocket costs.
Suppose you’re in the market for a new refrigerator-freezer. Different models of refrigerators can vary dramatically in the amount of electricity they use. One popular size and configuration is a 16-inch frost free refrigerator. On average these models use 475 watts of electricity per hour. If you take the wattage and the average run time of the refrigerator on an annual basis, you are looking at 2,220 KWH or $244 a year. Compare that to a larger model such as a 20-inch frost free refrigerator. It averages 540 watts per hour. Over a year’s time that will calculate to 2,916 KWH or $320. These numbers will vary depending on the size, model, and even location of the appliance in your home.
A $76 difference in annual operating costs might not sound like much. But remember that the difference in operating cost will occur year after year for the life of the appliance.
So when you are in the market for a new appliance, remember to consider the lifetime electric use of the appliance which will have a greater impact on your household than just the sticker price.