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Running an energy-smart home


Have you ever wondered about the cost of running your home? From your appliances to your heat pump and your air conditioning, the energy spent adds up to dollars on your monthly electric bill. For example, running a hair dryer costs approximately .09 an hour. A clock costs .14 a month to run. A pool or lawn pump costs a little more than .06 an hour. Here’s a breakdown of some costs in your home from Progress Energy and ways to trim your daily usage.


When you shop for new appliances, do you stop to think about the cost of running them in your home? When it comes to refrigerators, models that are larger or include auto-defrost cost significantly more to run than smaller or manual. Here’s a breakdown:

– Freezer (16 cu. ft. man. defrost): .30/ day

– Freezer (16 cu. ft. auto defrost): .37/ day

– Refrigerator/Freezer (18 cu. ft. auto defrost): .56/ day

– Refrigerator/Freezer (24 cu. ft. auto defrost): .77/ day


When you cook, the appliances that you choose to use run the gamut in terms of energy usage. Here’s a comparison. Think smaller appliances for small jobs, like toaster oven for toasting and quick baking.

– Oven: .25/ hour

– Range-top burner: .09/ hour

– Toaster: .09/ hour

– Toaster oven: .04/ hour


Most folks don’t realize how cheap it is to run their ceiling fans. Keeping these fans running will also keep your expense air conditioning circulating, meaning you won’t feel the need to run it as often.

– Central air conditioning: $2.80-$3.76 per day (1200-1600 sq. ft.)

– Room air unit: $1.46 per day (1 ton, 12,000 BTU)

– Ceiling or portable fans: 1/2 cent per hour


When it comes to doing the laundry, cold is best. Hot water can double the cost of each load. Dry your clothes just long enough to get the wrinkles out, then line dry indoors or out.


– hot water: .53/ load

– warm wash/cold rinse: .12/ load

– cold water: .04/ load

Dryer: .25/ load

The dishwasher costs .29 a load, and the iron and the vacuum .07/ hour.


Cut your water heating costs by limiting the number of hours your pump is keeping the water warm and by the temperature it’s set to reach.

– Electric resistance: family of two (.65/ day), each addt’l (.20/ day)

– Heat pump: family of two (.33/ day); each addt’l (.10/ day)


Fluorescent lighting emits the same light output as incandescent and costs one-third to a half the cost to run.

– 60 watt incandescent: .06/ 10 hours

– 100 watt incandescent: .10/ 10 hours


Electronics don’t take up as much energy as one would think they do. Still it’s best to turn them off when they’re not in use … like computers overnight.

– Computer: 1/2 cent/ hour

– Radio: 1/2 cent/ hour

– CD player .01/ hour

– TV .02/ hour

(For more savings tips, check out’s "Go Frugal" blog at Cara Davis is the author of "Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot" and blogs about savvy ways to spend and save at