Day 12 – energy challenge – kettles, hair dryers and clothes dryers

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jugSome household appliances use up more energy than others. Ever wondered how a change in your habits at home could make a change to the bottom line in your energy usage? In this post, I look at the cost of running three common household items – boiling water in electric kettles, using a hair dryer and using the clothes dryer.

Firstly, thanks go to the new man in my life for doing these calculations. He actually volunteered – said he had always wondered at the cost of boiling a full kettle versus only the minimum.  And then it went from there. I had always wondered the same thing, too.  So, here it goes:

  • Electric kettles:  It costs 3 cents to boil a full jug and 1 cent to boil minimum filled jug, based on 19.5 cents per kilowatt hour.  If you boiled a full jug four times a day for a year it would cost $44. To boil a minimum filled jug four times a day for a year costs $14.60 – so you could save almost $30 a year just from boiling less water.  [Tip: if you boil more water than you need, tip it into a thermos to reuse for your next cup of tea or coffee.]
  • Hair dryers:  I have fine hair, and it gets brittle when blown with a dryer.  So I admit to using one very infrequently, usually only when I want it to look good for going out or when it is winter and I want to avoid catching a cold.  But I am guessing that in most households it is considered a necessity.  A hair dryer costs 6 cents to run for 10 minutes, and 3 cents for 5 minutes.  Assuming you use it every day it would cost $22 a year to run for 10 minutes (multiply that if you have more than one woman in a household).
  • Clothes dryers: I have a dryer in my apartment, which came with the unit. I haven’t used it all winter and I don’t intend to. Clothes dry quick enough even in winter. In my old house, I used to place the rack over a ducted heating vent and allowed the warm air to flow up onto the clothes.  An average 90 minute clothes dryer cycle costs 60c to run.  Assuming you used it twice a week in the three months of winter that would add up to $14.40.

Based on the assumption that I was using these appliances regularly and changed habits, this would save me at least $66.40.  How much money could you save?

These calculations are based on the current residential rates offered by ActewAGL for Canberra customers. Canberra has some of the lowest rates of electricity in Australia.  For New South Wales, you will need to DOUBLE these figures.  For other states or territories, or other areas, you will need to refer to the pricing of your utility.

Your challenge is to reduce the amount that use your electric kettle, hair dryer or clothes dryer in your home.  Come and join the journey, and share your story on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire Facebook group.



  1. I love this sort of stuff, even better when someone else does the calculations for you!
    According to this I use the following weekly (doubled because I’m in NSW);
    Kettle – 10c
    Hair dryer – 12c
    Dryer -$1.20
    That’s $73.84 per year. (My electricity bill is about $1200 per year so I wonder where the rest is coming from)
    Unfortunately living in an apartment with a mould/damp problem and no heating I have no choice but to use the dryer for sheets/linen (once a week). Luckily it is warm enough here most of the time to put clothes on a little rack on the balcony.
    I boil my kettle with the minimum amount of water because it is quicker and I’m impatient ???? so glad to hear that saves me 2/3 of the cost of boiling a full one.
    I blow dry my hair once a week in winter so I don’t go to bed with wet hair, and then, like you, only if I want it to ‘look nice’ in summer – so much less often ????
    I’d say the areas I could probably save money on electricity are other things, long-ish showers, leaving appliances on 24/7 because the switches are too hard to reach, and having a second person live here who does all the bad things listed above way more often.
    Thanks for something to think about ????

  2. Thank you for your comprehensive reply:) It’s all the little things that add up, don’t they? And you often don’t think about all the little things as they are happening, you sort of get into this mindset that it doesn’t matter when it does. That said, sounds like you are making a huge difference from good habits in all aspects of your frugal lifestyle.

    Thank you for the reminder re the showers. Something for a future blog post:)

  3. We basically never use our clothes dryer or a hairdryer, but I am guilty of the full kettle boil. The silly thing is, it takes a lot longer to boil the full kettle as well, so by not doing so, I will save time and money. Based our our new rate of 29.18c per kWh, it costs me $65.85/year. Just to boil the kettle! Thanks for this, new habit for me (but like Miss Balance above, convincing the other half…)

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