With thousands of shoppers due to hit stores this Boxing Day in search of bargains on major household appliances, according to new research many may not realise that their purchase decisions could have a lasting impact on their yearly energy bills.
A recent survey of Australian households by Origin revealed that whilst three quarters are actively trying to limit their electricity usage, more than a half admit they don’t fully understand how much electricity their appliances are using.
During the post-Christmas sales period, shoppers should be taking advantage of the bargain prices on offer to upgrade their old, inefficient appliances, which could be adding hundreds of dollars to their yearly bill.
Old appliances – particularly large, high-use ones such as fridges and TV’s – can consume a lot more energy than more modern, efficient models.
The survey also revealed that most consumers have a low understanding about how much older appliances may be contributing to their bill. For example, when questioned about how much they thought it was costing to run their fridge per year, those with a fridge over 15 years old thought it was costing them the same to run as those with a fridge less than 5 years old.
The reality is that a 15 year old fridge could be costing households up to $780 per year to run depending on its condition and location– which is considerably more than a newer, more energy efficient model, which would cost about $100 – $160 per year to run.
Those looking to take advantage of the sales to upgrade their older appliances are also urged to carefully consider the ongoing running costs of their purchases.
While the initial outlay for the very energy efficient appliances may be slightly higher, the long term cost-savings can make it very worthwhile.
How to shop for energy efficient appliances:
It’s in the stars:
- Shoppers should take close look at the information provided for home appliances and do their research before making a purchase. The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance and the less it should cost to run compared with other similar appliances.
Beware of false savings!
- Consider whether money saved by purchasing appliances with fewer stars on their energy rating labels will turn out to be a false saving in the long term (due to higher running costs).
- If you can afford to buy the more expensive, energy efficient technology, it’s likely to cost you less as time goes on. For example, choosing an energy-efficient LED TV instead of a less-efficient plasma of a similar size could save you around $2,500 over 10 years, depending on where you live. With one third of households now owning three TV’s or more, that can really add up.
Will it go the distance?
- Ask how long the unit is designed to last – quality appliances should last in excess of 10 years, with some designed to last up to 20 years if well cared for.
For more energy savings tips, visit www.originenergy.com.au
 Survey of 1,011 Australian residents, conducted by Nature on behalf of Origin – November 2014
 Based on the running cost of a pre 2000 model 400L fridge/freezer continually consuming 300W 24 hours a day for 7 days a week over the course of a year, as measured by Origin’s Energy Expert Anne Armansin
 This is based on comparisons of models listed on www.energyrating.gov.au as available for sale in Australia as at 4/10/14 between the most efficient 55 inch LCD (LED) TV (7 stars) versus the least efficient 50 inch Plasma model (2 star), using the current average Australian peak domestic electricity pricing (inclusive of GST exclusive of supply charges) calculated over a 10 year period. Estimated savings differs per state based on tarrif prices.