Many homes rely upon electric ranges or hot plates for meal preparation. These devices use electric heating elements to convert electrical energy into heat. Since homes typically have more than one available option for heating and cooking food, it may be wise to examine how much power a hot plate or a single burner uses, and how much it costs to use that method.
How Electrical Power Use Is Measured
An electric utility company provides power to a home or business in units called kilowatt-hours (kWh). Simply stated, a kilowatt-hour is equal to the use of 1,000 watts of power dissipated over a one-hour time period. For example, if a 100-watt light bulb is powered for 20 hours, the total power usage that an electric company will bill for is equal to 2 kWh.
Hot Plate Power Usage
An average hot plate will draw approximately 1,200 watts of power. If the hot plate will be used for one hour each day over a 30-day period, it will consume 36 kilowatt-hours. By way of comparison, a portable electric heater operated for the same amount of time during a 30-day period will consume 45 kWh of energy, while a room air conditioner will consume 30 kWh over that same period.
Power Used by a Kitchen Range Burner
Kitchen range burners vary in size; the larger the burner, the more power it will consume. Small kitchen burners draw approximately 1,200 watts of power. Medium-sized burners can draw between 1,500 and 1,800 watts, while large burners may draw 2,500 watts or more. The amount of power consumed from the electric utility company to operate these burners over a 30-day period – if a single burner is used for one hour per day – is 36 kilowatt-hours for the small burner, between 45 and 54 kWh for a medium-sized burner, and 75 or more kWh for the large burner.
Approximate Power Costs
Power costs vary widely throughout the United States; it is therefore difficult to provide an exact cost for every locality at any given moment. Using the average cost per kilowatt-hour, however, it's possible to get an idea of how much it would cost to operate either a hot plate or an electric burner for a month (this cost averaged out to just over 12 cents per kWh for the period between January and July 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration). For the examples given above, the cost to operate a hot plate or a single small burner for a month is about $4.40. Operating a medium-sized burner for a month would cost up to about $6.60, whereas a large burner would cost about $9 to operate.