Wait, My Refrigerator Uses Less Electric Power Than An Old Fashioned Lightbulb?   Leave a comment

So I started this post to list out some of the interesting results that came from my energy audit, but it quickly changed into something else. I figured it would be easier to talk about appliances in terms of watts, not thousands of a killwatt-hours per hour, so I did the conversion. Then I stared at the list for a while thinking, “Wait but didn’t we used to commonly use 40- to 100-watt lightbulbs? My refrigerator uses 46 watts! How on earth can a big refrigerator use less electricity than a little light bulb? Really?!” No wonder lighting is often separated out from appliances in statistics. In fact, the only appliance that I measured to be more than 100 watts was our washing machine!

Speaking of the washing machine. I measured 3 loads and they all came out to 110 W per load. Out of curiosity I compared that to the Energy Star EnergyGuide. According to Energy Star, our model washing machine is projected to use 130 kWh per year based on eight wash loads per week. That calculates to 312 W per load. Is that discrepancy due to use of only cold water? I always thought the energy savings from washing with cold water was energy savings at the water heater, not the washing machine. More research will be done…

So what were the other surprises?

  • Cell phones are pretty efficient! Our two cell phones averaged 0.07 W, which is less than 1 kW for an entire year. This is less than the doorbell and digital alarm clock.
  • But Dust Busters are not. At 3.3 W, that’s comparable to the cable modem and router. And that’s just for keeping it charged, and not having been used prior to measuring the electric consumption. The battery charger, keeping a few AA batteries ready to use, only used 2.5 W.
  • The TV uses more electricity (63 W) than the refrigerator (46 W). It’s an old TV, so I don’t know how modern TVs compare.
  • A Playstation 2 (8 W) uses more electricity than a DVD player playing a DVD (10.6 W). But the cable box uses twice as much (16.5 W)
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Posted October 1, 2011 by mayakey in energy use, home

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