What Appliances Use the Most Electricity? The Top 5 Culprits Revealed
Are you worried about your increased usage of home energy? If you pay more than you expected, month after month, you may wonder what appliances use the most electricity. Is the air conditioning unit to blame? The refrigerator? The pool pump? Finding the top culprits in the home is a tricky investigation, but the results can be really rewarding.
According to the latest statistics, each month, millions of Americans pay their local utility companies far too much, due to one or more wasteful appliances. Additionally, using more energy than necessary in one area of your household might actually trigger more wastefulness in another! Think of energy usage in the home like an interconnected system. The sum will be greater than its parts, so what can you do?
What Appliances Use the Most Electricity?
Let’s start by taking a hard look at the five biggest contributors to your home’s monthly electric bill. You may already suspect but the A/C unit is definitely in the top, as well as your central water heater. However, you may have ruled out inefficient lighting or home entertainment – they don’t use that much, do they?
If you’re curious just how much money you’re wasting on hungry appliances, we can help. Check out the figures we’ve round up below. These estimations represent an annual electric bill per home. They also assume the cost per kWh is $.34, which may be more or less than you’re currently paying for in your area.
- A/C (central system) – $1,445
- Water heater – $952
- Second refrigerator – $680
- Lighting – $544
- Home entertainment systems – $408
Evidently, not everyone’s electric bill will fall in line with our numbers. Many factors can cause variations, including your location in the U.S., different types of appliances and their energy ratings, and hours used per day. Either way, the figures were meant to show you how quickly your energy bill can add up! Let’s see how you can reduce the waste caused by these top culprits.
1. Air Heating and Cooling
If your house relies on electric heat, it’s normal to experience big spikes in the power bill during the winter season. If you use the heat pump a lot, you may end up operating it somewhere between 10 and 15 hours each day. If you pay 10 cents an hour for your electricity, that adds up to $15-$22 a day. The same principle applies to households using central air conditioning in the middle of summer. The costs go through the roof!
What to do: Investing in a programmable thermostat is the easiest way to save money. Set it back at least 10 degrees for 8 hours a day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy Doing, this practice can save you 10 percent on your annual energy costs.
2. Water Heating and Clothes Drying
Hot water for washing clothes and for showers can be rather pricey. Your electric water heater has to reheat the water in the tank after each shower or load of laundry. That means it operates for an extra hour after each of these – adding 40 cents to your bill every time. And washing and drying a load can cost you between $1 and $2.
What to do: Saving money can be as easy as taking shorter showers and washing your clothes with cold water. We also recommend setting your water heater to 120 degrees, at the most. Reducing the temperature of your electric water heater with just 10 degrees can save between 3–5% in monthly energy costs, says the U.S. Department of Energy.
Refrigerators are huge energy hogs. In many cases, they use electricity for more than 10 hours every day. That amounts to almost $1 a day – which doubles if you use a second refrigerator or a standing freezer. But do you really need that second fridge in the garage?
What to do: Make sure the refrigerator is set on the optimal temperature. Also, consider replacing your old model (if it’s really ancient) with an Energy Star-rated unit. But no matter the model, you can simply optimize it by keeping it at least 2/3 full of products. This will reduce energy costs especially in the summer when hot air around an open fridge threatens to lower its temperature.
You wouldn’t think light bulbs use that much electricity, comparatively speaking. And you’d be right, but the costs of individual incandescent lights add up quickly. Many light fixtures in the house use more than one bulb and it’s easy to forget the lights on even when you don’t use them. Ten light bulbs cost 6 cents an hour. Use those bulbs for 6 hours each day and they’ll use about $10 a month. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but what do you think of paying $120 a year for lights you may not even use all the time?
What to do: Switch to energy-efficient CFLs or LEDs. They may cost more upfront, but they pay for themselves in a short time. And make a habit out of turning off the lights when you leave the room for more than 15 minutes. The electric company may seem like it controls your bills, but you can also use these tips to reduce your energy consumption.
5. Home Entertainment
As you may already know, TV sets and their siblings— DVD players, cable boxes, and Wiis—slowly but steadily drain energy. They use power even when they are in standby mode. While home entertainment devices average at about 2% of an annual energy bill, certain types will consume significantly more energy. Plasma TVs are particularly energy-hungry.
What to do: The easiest ways to reduce wasted energy is to shut off “vampire electronics.” Buy a power strip that you can simply turn off when you leave the home. This way, you can significantly lower the energy sucked up by televisions, digital cable, satellite DVRs, laptop computers, routers and modems, printers, phones, gaming consoles, and microwaves.
What other energy reducing habits do you have? We would love to hear from you, so come share with us in the comment section below.
Header Image: LG