What it costs to fire up the microwave, hit the treadmill

Like many other utility companies, NStar, which supplies electricity and natural gas to much of eastern Massachusetts, works to educate the public about energy efficiency. Recently, it mailed to customers a list of money- and power-saving tips: from unplugging TV sets and cable converter boxes while away on vacation to taking advantage of an already-warm clothes dryer for consecutive loads of wet wash. NStar also provides information on the operating costs of common appliances, which are estimates since usage can vary greatly depending on their condition, the number of residents in a home, and individual lifestyles. The average monthly costs of operating various appliances, based on an estimated amount of usage, according to NStar:

• Space heater (8 hours/day) $64.80

•Refrigerator/freezer (8 hours/day) $25.92

•Electric oven (1 hour/day) $18.90

•Clothes dryer (8 loads/week) $18.72

•Energy-saving refrigerator/freezer (8 hours/day) $10.80

•Dishwasher (5 loads/week) $8.6

•Treadmill (30 minutes/day) $4.05

•Microwave oven (30 minutes/day) $2.16

•Toaster oven (15 minutes/day) $2.03

•Answering machine/phone charger (continuous) $0.78

•DVD player (1 hour/day) $0.19

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