Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Electric Bills

It's rainy and chilly - Israeli winter - and for many of us that means this is the season we have the highest electric bills of the year!

It's darker for more hours of the day, so we use more lighting in our homes, the sun is not warming our water well (most of us have  a "dud shemesh" - a solar powered water heater - that gives us plentiful hot water when it's sunny out), so we have to use the electric water heater. We tend to eat and drink more hot foods and drinks in the winter, so we use our ovens, stoves, and kettles more often. AND we also run our various heating devices in the winter to combat the chill that seeps into our homes...

Just like you are, I'm trying to lower my electricity bill, so I decided to research a bit and see where it's all going.

I'm not doing so well this week with that, though. Just yesterday I turned on my oven and then got distracted. Then I changed my food plan, and never did the baking. About FOUR hours later (ouch!) I remembered I had turned on the oven!!

These things happen. But I'll try not to make a habit of it.

Anyhow, in an effort to figure out effective ways to bring my electric bill down, I decided to figure out how much each appliance I have costs to run.
I started with the information sheets on the Israel Electric Company Website, so I could get a general idea of the typical energy consumption of home appliances.

(This information will help you in the summer, as well, by the way, so be sure to bookmark this page!) 

Here's what the IEC lists as the typical power usage of most appliances:

Frost-Free refrigerator:  0.55 - 4.1 kWh per day

Frost Free freezer - range in size 98-479L:  0.8-2.73 kWh per day (mine is actually larger than this)

Dishwasher - range 1-2.2 kWh per cycle

Electric Burner - 0.75 kWh for 50 minutes of cooking

Oven - 1.5-2.2 kWh for normal cooking tasks

Microwave - 0.03 -0.05 kWh for 2 min of reheating

Toaster Oven - 0.12-0.45 kWh for 15 min of reheating

Shabbat Platta - 8.6-10.4 kWh per 26hr period

Space heater 0.5-3.5 kWh per hour

Wall Unit (heater/a/c)- 1-5.2 kWh per hour

Under -Floor Heating - 0.1-0.16 kWh per hour

Washing machine (4-5kg machine) 1.4-3.0 kWh per load
(mine is actually larger than this)

Dryer (4.5-5kg) 2.7-3.7 kWh per load (mine is actually larger than this)

TV - 0.04-0.15 kWh per hour of use

Stereo system - 0.03-0.15 kWh per hour of use

Vacuum cleaner - 0.13-0.2 kWh per 10 min of use

Hair Dryer - 0.06- 0.2 kWh per 10 min of use

Electric Sheets - 0.05 - 0.8 kWh per hour of use

Electric Kettle - 0.1 kWh per use

Food Processor - 0.05 - 0.2 kWh per 15 min of use

Computer - 0.11-0.15 kWh per hour of use

Iron - 0.3 kWh for 45 min on high

Fan - 0.04-0.1 kWh per hour of use

Hot Water Heaters - completely depends on the size and age and condition of your "dud", as well as the amount of insulation around it. There are far too many factors to go into here in this post.

Light bulbs - there are a wide variety of light bulbs with various energy ratings, it's too much to include every variation here. We try to use compact flourescent bulbs whenever possible to save electricity.

Once you can guesstimate how much energy a given appliance is using, you can figure out how much it costs to run it by multiplying the kWh per "unit of use" (see information above, could be 10 minutes, one hour, or a full day, or anything in between) by the number of "units of use" by the current electricity rate (the current rate is 55.29 agurot, including 17% VAT - updated January, 2017).

So, to find out how much I am spending to boil water in my electric kettle, assuming I boil water 4 times per day (in the winter we drink lots of hot drinks):

0.1 X 4 X 63.76 = 25.5 agurot per day (old electric rate)

To find out how much my dryer costs me to run per load (although I have a larger dryer than the one the IEC assumes we have, so this is going to be inaccurate for me)

3.7 X 1 X 63.76 = 2.36 NIS per load (old electric rate)

UPDATE: Please use my Handy Electrical Appliance Cost Calculator to help you figure out your appliance running costs! These estimates are based on the rate plan that most of us have - the "home" rate that doesn't vary by time of day. If you have a "smart meter" that calculates your electric costs based upon lower rates at off-peak times and higher rates at peak times, you'll have to do different calculations. It's rare for a home to have a smart meter, though.

I can use all the information here to guesstimate how much each electrical appliance I'm running costs me, and make adjustments whenever I can based upon this information. (And you can too!)

I hope this helps all of us gain a better understanding of our electricity usage, costs, and ways to lower our expenses if we want to!

For example, I know it's only a tiny amount to run my electric kettle a few times per day. BUT my kids will often EACH decide to boil water for a hot drink multiple times per day, so I started filling up a thermal caraffe for them to use during the day when I boil water in the morning. This also gives them hot drinks without having them handle a boiling hot kettle full of water (it cools off slightly in the caraffe), so it not only saves me a couple of shekels per day, but it also makes me feel a tiny bit safer.

I hope you can use this information to help you manage your electricity usage! 


  1. What about plug in radiators? And bar heaters? Or fan heaters? What exactly do you mean by space heaters?

    1. I think they all count as space heaters, actually. t

  2. I wish you had a value for the shabbat urn - per day and for 26 hours.. I never leave my platta on for 24 hours - it's like a burner on HIGH - such a waste. But I wonder if the shabbat urn left on all day would be cheaper than running the kettle a few times. (duringthe week)

  3. Surprisingly, the IEC had no info about shabbat urns, sorry.
    And I'd double check if a platta is really as big a waste as you say it is! Check out the calculator and see how much it really costs to run it.

    1. Be sure to use the web app to check how much things are really costing you!

    2. A burner left on high for 26 hrs (the amount of time we assume a platta is on) would cost about 15 shekels to run. The platta takes about 3 shabbatot to cost that much. NO comparison.


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