Does AeroGarden Run Up My Electric Bill?

aerogarden-electricity-cost

 

Aerogarden Energy Costs

Whenever anyone sees my indoor gardens (IRL or on tiktok), they immediately ask:

“Does this run up your electric bill?”

And I get it.

The lights are bright and electricity is increasingly expensive these days.

The short answer is no – running hydroponic gardens in my apartment hasn’t meaningfully impacted my utility bills… but no one ever believes me, ha.

So today I thought I’d do a nerdy deep dive and run through the math!

Here’s exactly how much it costs to run an Aerogarden.

 

 

LED Lights

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Light bulbs have come a long way since the days of Thomas Edison.

Most indoor gardens, especially the smart gardens from Aerogarden, use LED lights.

LEDs are extremely energy efficient, meaning they consume relatively low amounts of energy but are able to output a strong, bright light.

So they work great for indoor gardening.

A full spectrum LED grow light has white, red and blue lights to support adequate leaf, flower and fruit development while barely making a dent in your electricity usage.

 

 

Aerogarden Discount Code

Use coupon code SSG15 for 15% off any order of $50+

 

 

The Crazy Part of My Electric Bill…

In fact, the unfortunate little known secret is that most of my utility bill comes from high fixed costs and delivery charges, not usage costs.

I live in New York City where the local provider is Con Edison.

My utility bills used to be pretty low, but skyrocketed post covid (along with everything else) and especially in 2023, as ConEd got approval for a rate increase.

The increase kicked in in August, riiight in time for peak electricity usage. Great timing…

Overall, my utility costs have tripled since I first moved in.

… but not because of my indoor gardens!

 

 

Here’s my bill from January 2024, where my total electricity cost was $60.40.

how to calculate aerogarden electricity cost

 

 

Of that,

  • $19.64 was the basic service charge (what ConEd charges regardless of if I used a single watt of power)
  • $18.42 was the delivery cost (what ConEd charges to cover its electric grid infrastructure)
  • $6 in various fees, taxes and charges

So 33% of my electric bill was a base fixed price and another 30% was ConEd’s cost to deliver the electricity amount that I used.

Add in various taxes and fees and a crazy 73% of my electric bill is basically ConEd’s fees.

 

 

My supply, aka actual electricity usage, was 108 kWh.

Electric rates vary by location and time of year, but in January 2024 for NYC, it cost 15.84 cents per kWh or $16.34 in total monthly electricity usage costs.

So the cost of my electric usage was about 27%.. the lowest part of the equation!

Adding a small countertop indoor garden barely moves the needle, $ wise.

 

 

Side note – it’s even more egregious on the gas side.

I typically use 1 therm of gas a month, which only costs 47 cents in supply costs.

But my gas bill usually costs $40 due to the fixed base charge, ConEd fees and other taxes.

So, even if I never turned on my stove I’m stuck paying at minimum $40 a month.

Considering that a rather high portion of my electric bill is fixed, the cost of adding in an indoor garden is minimal.

does-aerogarden-use-a-lot-of-electricity

 

 

But exactly how much does an Aerogarden cost to run?

About $1-3 dollars, depending on the size of the garden.

Here’s a chart I put together of the rough monthly and annual costs for each Aerogarden model.

Keep in mind this was calculated using my local utility rates, so the impact to your own electric bill will vary slightly.

The main variables will be your local electric supply rates as well as what you decide to grow.

 

 

Aerogarden Electric Costs, by Model

Model Plant Capacity Watts Used Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Sprout 3 13 W $0.93 $11.27
Harvest 2.o 6 15 W $1.07 $13.01
Harvest 6 23 W $1.64 $19.95
Bounty 9 48 W $3.42 $41.63
Farm 24 126 W $8.98 $109.27

*assuming a 15 hour per day light cycle and electricity supply costs of 15.84 cents per kWh

 

 

aerogarden-electric-bill-cost
does-aerogarden-use-a-lot-of-electricity
does-aerogarden-use-a-lot-of-energy

 

 

 

How to Calculate Aerogarden Electricity Costs

The chart above is a neat summary, but here’s how to calculate exactly how much a smart garden costs to run:

 

Energy Usage Cost Formula

(kilowatts used) x (cost per kilowatt hour) * (hours a day the garden is on) x (# of days)

Note: utility companies charge in kilowatts so you’ll need to make sure to divide the wattage for small appliances like this by 1000, to convert to kilowatts

 

Essentially, you take the garden’s energy drawdown and multiply it by the number of hours that the lights are on.

Then take that daily usage and multiply it by your local electricity costs to get a daily garden cost.

You can take the daily cost and extrapolate to reach a monthly cost and yearly cost.

 

 

How Much Energy the Aerogarden Uses

Ok, on to the math.

Aerogarden sells 5 different types of gardens.

They vary in size, with the smaller countertop gardens built with less powerful LEDs. 

So the smaller units will use less power and as a result, cost less to run.

 

 

Electric Supply Costs

As I mentioned, my local utility ConEd billed me 15.84 cents per kWh for supplying me with power in January 2024.

The rate changes every month – I remember when electricity supply rates were around 9 – 11 cents per kilowatt.

They’ve really shot up lately.

I guess it’s a combination of inflation, the US’ shift to focusing on electricity (so greater demand) as well as ConEd’s rate increases (and unfortunately each utility is basically a monopoly).

 

 

You should look at your own utility bills to see how much your actual electric supply costs!

But to get a gauge for how your location fares to the rest of the counter, you can look at this chart.

The US Energy Information Association publishes data on average electricity costs by state.

The average national cost was 15.73 cents per kilowatt hour in December 2023 for residential consumers.

In January, my electric supply cost was 15.84 c/kWh.

 

 

It looks like I pay slightly above the national average.

The funny thing I used to pay less than the national average (because I’ve gotten this question so often I’ve run the math several times over the years) so sadly, it looks like the good days are over.

I’m used to paying more for everything to live in NYC so… it is what it is.

Looking at the EPA data, New England, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii pay the highest electricity costs in the country (around 20 – 40 cents per kWh).

So… if you live in those states maybe weigh the pros and cons of an indoor garden more carefully, ha.

If you live in the Midwest, South or South Atlantic, you should definitely take up indoor gardening!

Those states get some really affordable rates, at 10 – 12 cents per kWh.

 

 

Number of Hours a Day the Garden is On

The other thing to consider if how long your garden is on.

Most of Aerogarden’s machines allow you to customize the light schedule (with the exception being the Sprout, basic Harvest and Harvest 2.0).

believe those models run for a set 15 hours per day.

But of the gardens that can be customized, Aerogarden has 3 pre-set light schedules, depending on the type of plant you’re growing.

Or, with some of the fancier machines like the Bounty Elite and Farm models, you can fully customize the light duration.

 

 

In general, Aerogarden recommends the following light schedules:

For this math exercise, I assumed a 15 hour light cycle.

I’ve found that you can grow pretty much anything very well with just 15 hours of light.

Someday I’d like to do an experiment to see if more ‘daylight’ leads to more fruit production!

 

 

harvest-vs-harvest-2.0-LED-light-difference

 

And finally, here’s the calculation for each and every Aerogarden model:

 

Aerogarden Sprout Electricity Cost

.013 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 30 days = $0.93 cents per month

.013 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 365 days = $11.27 dollars per year

 

 

Aerogarden Harvest 2.0 Electricity Cost

.015 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 30 days = $1.07 cents per month

.015 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 365 days = $13.01 dollars per year

 

Aerogarden Harvest Electricity Cost

.023 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 30 days = $1.64 cents per month

.023 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 365 days = $19.95 dollars per year

 

 

Aerogarden Bounty Electricity Cost

.048 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 30 days = $3.42 cents per month

.048 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 365 days = $41.63 dollars per year

 

Aerogarden Farm Electricity Cost

.126 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 30 days = $8.98 cents per month

.126 kilowatts used x .1584 cents per kWh x 15 hours a day x 365 days = $109.27 dollars per year

 

Or, just look at the chart above where I have a handy summary!

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Razel
    March 7, 2024 / 10:32 am

    Hiiii !! Thank you for all thisss !!! I see how work and effort you put it in and I love and appreciate it !!!!DFJJSHFKS
    My sister and I are planning on getting a hydrophonic tower for my mom’s birthday, and it was because of youuu ! I saw your tiktok on my for you page and it made me really interested. The timing was also perfect because my mom was planning on starting a small garden outside, after numerous times of failure, and thought it would be the perfect gift hehehehe! Once again thank you so much for the research, time, and effort you put in this blog. It had the answers to every question I had. HEHE THANK YOUUUU <3<3<3<3

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