Looking for ways to lower your electricity bill? You have to start with your energy usage.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) offers an annual energy outlook that details typical electricity usage, including appliance energy consumption. We’ve included the biggest users below.
When you understand how much power your appliances use, you can minimize waste and prevent unnecessary costs. Your home will be more energy efficient and you can keep more money in your wallet.
Which appliances consume the most electricity?
Heating and cooling systems
Your HVAC system uses the most energy, particularly when you run the heater frequently. According to the EIA, heaters make up 31% of a home’s energy usage while air conditioning consumes about 11%.
These appliances are essential, particularly in climates with extreme temperatures. That said, you can decrease your costs with lower-energy alternatives. Add space heaters to warm individual rooms rather than the whole home. Install fans to lower temperatures during summer. These small actions can add up to significant savings over time.
Water heaters are another energy hog, accounting for nearly 14% of the average home’s usage. To keep the water at the temperature you set, your water heater has to run throughout the entire day. Setting the heater to a scalding temperature will require even more energy.
You can lower your power costs by installing a tankless water heater. These appliances only heat water when it’s being used, so you won’t have to pay to keep an entire tank of water heated at all times.
Solar water heaters are another option. Since they use solar power to operate, they can lower your electricity bill.
You can also lower the temperature on your water heater to slightly reduce your power consumption.
In addition to whole-home appliances, every home has a few machines that are used for specific purposes. These appliances include refrigerators, dishwashers, and more.
Age and design matter for these machines when it comes to energy efficiency. Older models require much more power to run, which can drive up your costs. Consider replacing any older appliances with newer, energy-efficient options. Specifically, look for products that have an ENERGY STAR label. They are better for the environment and for your bank account.
Refrigerators use, on average, about 4% of your home’s power. They don’t need a lot of electricity to run, but they have to work constantly to keep your food cold. Since they’re always on, they use more power than energy-hungry machines that only run periodically.
Choose a newer, energy-efficient model to minimize your electricity consumption. You should also make sure food is easy to find so you spend less time with the doors open. Preventing overcrowding will also help the temperature stay low.
Ovens and stovetops only account for about 1% of your power use. Still, the heat they generate can easily raise your home’s temperature, especially with long-term use. Your cooling system will have to work harder to keep maintain the temperature you set, increasing your costs.
Using a new appliance will increase your energy efficiency, but you can also optimize your current oven’s consumption. Keep the oven and stovetop clean. Only use pots and pans that are the right size. If at all possible, use toasters, microwaves, and other small appliances to consume less power while preparing your food.
Dishwashers only account for a small portion of your usage as well. Like ovens, however, they generate heat that can affect your home’s temperature.
Running your dishwasher less frequently can help you save a bit on your power bill. That said, handwashing all of your dishes may increase your water bill, canceling any energy savings.
Instead, load your dishwasher efficiently to get the most out of each cycle. Check the user manual to find the most energy-efficient settings for your machine. If you have an older appliance or your dishwasher struggles to clean your dishes well, consider replacing it with a newer model.
Washers and dryers
On average, clothes washers and dryers make up about 5% of your energy consumption. Running your machines every day will use more energy, while rarely using them will decrease your usage.
Using a hot water setting will increase the amount of power your water heater has to use. Likewise, the dryer’s heat will raise your home’s temperature and demand more from your cooling system.
If possible, avoid using hot water cycles. When you do have to wash clothes with hot water, try to run a few large loads rather than numerous small loads.
Keep your dryer’s vents clean to optimize its performance. Overfilling the machine may prevent your clothes from drying in one cycle, so avoid overlarge loads. You can also use the dryer less by line-drying your clothes.
The average home devotes nearly 3% of its energy to its lighting. This usage includes your fixtures, lamps, landscape lighting, floodlights, and more. Like other appliances, the more lights you have on and the longer you use them, the more energy you will consume.
Additionally, the types of lighting you use affect your power bill as well. Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, for instance, require far more energy than LED lights. Even if you use those bulbs less often, you will use and pay for more electricity than you would with an energy-efficient alternative.
Reduce your costs by staying aware of your home’s lighting. Turn off lights in empty rooms. Use smart lighting or a timer to keep your outdoor lights on a schedule. This way, you’ll never leave them on longer than needed.
Around 4% of energy usage goes to home entertainment, including TVs, computers, game consoles, and more. Even worse, these appliances stay plugged in at all times, even when they’re not in use. They may draw power in their off settings, creating unnecessary costs.
You can use smart plugs to turn off the power to these devices or simply unplug them. Spending less time watching TV or using your entertainment systems will lower your energy consumption and costs as well.