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The real cost of running your home’s appliances

Looking at the bigger picture when buying a new appliances can help save you more on your home's gas and electricity bills in the long term. We investigate why.

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

When on the hunt for a new appliance like a fridge, washing machine or TV, the price tag is normally the first thing we look at – and rightfully so.

That is usually followed by figuring out what you’ll spend to run the appliance once in your house. And that can be the tricky part.

Whether you’re hunting around for something new in-store or online, here are three questions to ask yourself:

1. Based on the star energy rating of the models you’re looking at, how much will each one cost to run per year? Look at the kWh per year in the middle of the sticker and then multiply it by your current kWh rate on your bill.
2. How many years does the manufacturer expect the appliance to last for?
3. Once you add the purchase price and the costs you can expect to pay to keep it running over its lifetime, which one rates as the most affordable?

Let’s break down the four most common appliances in Aussie households.


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% of your total energy usage.

Price tag: Expect to pay between $698 and $1699 for an average-sized, two-door, 450-litre fridge/freezer.

Running costs: A unit with a 1.5-star rating can set you back around $179 each year to run. But pick up one with a 4.5-star rating and that cost can come down to $121.

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%.

Smiling couple doing laundry together

Washing machine

As with any appliance you need to choose one that suits your lifestyle. Take a family with young kids for example. Chances are they’ll take their washing machine for a spin more often than a couple would, so having a larger yet more energy efficient appliance should help each load of laundry cost less.

Price tag: Expect to pay between $527 and $1599 for a medium-sized (7kg front-loader) washing machine.

Running costs: A 1.5-star rated 8.5kg top-loader washing machine roughly costs $147 to run per year. Swapping it for a 5-star front-loader of the same size could see you spend as little as $30 a year. Check star ratings – the more stars, the more energy efficient your washing machine will be and the lower the running costs.

Hot tip: Using cold water to wash your clothes not only helps to reduce costs (hot water can be more expensive) but can even extend the lifespan of your clothing.


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

Price tag: The average 40-43 inch LED TV costs somewhere between $395 and $995.

Running costs: A 3-star rated TV that’s turned on for four hours a day will cost around $78 a year. Choosing a 7-star rated telly could see that cost decrease to around $32 a year. For even greater efficiency go for LCD or LED over plasma.


More than 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 $899 to $2699 for an average built-in unit.

Running costs: If you use your dishwasher four times a week, a 2-star model will cost $72 a year. But splurge on a 4-star machine and you’ll get away with spending $34 a year.

Where is energy being used in your home?

AGL Energy Insights is a powerful service that helps you understand where your electricity is going if you have a smart meter.

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