We are all guilty of plugging in our appliances without a second thought of how they operate or how much electricity they use. However, it is important to know how much certain appliances are using while they are running.
This is important because it is interesting to know but it also helps to assess how to save money and be more energy efficient! It may be surprising to know just what appliances use the most electricity, but on the other hand, they are pretty common culprits as some are everyday appliances. When it comes to examining the home appliances that use the most electricity, knowing how that is measured is crucial.
Basically, appliances use watts to power them up. The wattage of an appliance is then multiplied by the amount that it is used. This provides how much energy is processed during its usage. The result is then stated in what's called "kilowatt-hours". This is why some home appliances are known to use more electricity than we think, as they are used quite often! Below are the top 15 home appliances that use the most energy as well as alternatives to their purposes!
1. Home Heating System
Heating systems are probably the largest suspects when it comes to pointing fingers at electricity usage. The reason behind this is due to the various forms of heating systems that can be used to heat our living spaces. These can include space heaters, electric furnaces, heat pumps in central air systems, and even baseboard units.
All these forms of heating generate some pretty high usage not only racking up heating bills but energy as well. Heating home space is hard work, so these systems need to work harder during colder months. To take a closer look at the energy that heating systems use, it's a good idea to consider their usage during the winter months.
Winter is typically about 3 months (or 90 days) long. Even though the temperatures may vary throughout those 3 months, it is safe to say they are being used almost every day during those 3 months. To even better calculate the energy being used, the wattage of the appliance needs to be factored in as well. A standard home electric furnace usages approximately 600 watts.
Furthermore, how often does a furnace kick on during these months? It is estimated that it may kick on up to 8 times during a single hour, depending on the weather. So to simplify the answer, with usage during half the hour at 12 hours, for about 3 months long, furnaces can use around 648 kWh (kilowatt-hour)! That astonishing number adds up to $77.76 in energy used.
That is truly a large number. So how can we use less, stay efficient, and save some cash? There are some essential ways to cut down the costs and still stay warm! Below are some ways to keep the heat in and the costs lows!
Use window insulation kits - Windows let cold air in through tiny cracks in the frame or sometimes even small cracks in the windows. This is why insulation kits are really important during winter months. These kits are designed to cover these tiny areas and reduce the cold air leaking through. They usually include small strips of foam that are pressed into the frame of the windows. Other kits include plastic that gets shrunk to fit the window and frame through the use of heat, such as a hairdryer.
Use draft stoppers for main doorways - The bottoms of main doorways like the front or back doors of homes are known to let air in. Draft stoppers are fabricated pieces that slide under a door and feature stuffed fabric that blocks any crack on the bottom of a doorway by covering the entire width of the doorway on the inside and outside. This is effective to an extent but should be used in combination with other methods.
Inspect any potential areas for air from the outside to enter the home - While the main doorways and windows are the main problem areas when it comes to letting in that frosty air, inspecting all other areas of the house is important too. Places like basements or attics can harbor cracks in their windows and doorways that often get overlooked. Ensure that foam stripping or doorway stoppers are placed anywhere where a draft can enter.
Consider using insulation foil for ductwork - This option is for people who are handier than most as it does require a bit more work. Insulation foil is heat retaining material that can be wrapped around ductwork in basements or sub-basements to help heat flow more efficiently through the ductwork into the house. Sometimes in old houses, this ductwork maybe a little less than perfect, so this method helps to ensure any cracks or dings in ductwork are completely covered and result in warmer homes, while still being energy efficient as the furnace won't have to work as hard to force more heat when there's a draft.
There are other ways to cut down on heating costs as well as be more efficient, but these are the best ways!
2. Home Air Conditioning
There is simply nothing better than a cool house on an extremely hot day. This is especially true for those who live in climates where having air conditioning is pretty much a mandatory thing. However, air conditioning units (window units or central air) can really spike up the energy usage and cooling bills.
Once again, to best assess its usage, it is critical to examine the highest points in the year when they're used. As with winter months, this will vary place to place but generically speaking, the calculation is based on the length of a typical summer.
Summer is about 93 days long, just 3 extra days over 3 months. However, those 3 extra days can add up! The calculation for this home appliance energy and cost usage can be split up into both the window unit and the central air units. Each one will provide different results.
Window units have an average wattage of around 900 watts. Once again, let's assume it will be used every day, for 93 days, for just half of the hours in a day. This comes out to about 1004.4 kWh and $120.53 per year to operate!
That really adds up in 93 days out of the year. It's surprising to think that a cooling system uses more than a heating system, but they are both high energy users.
Central air units are quite a bit more in terms of their wattage, coming in at about 3500 watts on average. Using the same equation, saying that it may run for a maximum of 12 hours a day, that comes out to 3906 kWh and a whopping $468.72 per year to run.
This makes cooling the house down a bit more expensive than heating when it comes to the use of energy to run it. So why are heating bills so much more expensive?
Well, that is a question that can be answered by the utility companies rates per usage, etc. The answer is not definitive, but a home air conditioning system can use more energy.
So what are some ways to be a bit more energy efficient when it comes to cooling down? Below are some suggestions for keeping cool and energy usage down!
- Consider only using air conditioning during the hottest part of the day - While this seems undoable, it can be done. Depending on where someone lives will be the deciding factor for this option. In regions where the temperature doesn't drop much at night, this may not be possible, but the temperature of the air conditioner can be adjusted to help as well. While it's tempting to crank up the air conditioner to full blast, it can be more energy efficient to run them at lower capacity during evening hours.
- Use window foam stripping - This one is similar to the heating suggestion and this is because heat also enters the home through cracks and open spaces in windows. Most window unit air conditioners will come foam stripping to use for any open areas around the air conditioner while it is in the window. However, consider using it on other windows that don't have the air conditioner in it as well. Every little bit helps!
- Use alternative, more efficient ways of cooling space - While air conditioners are nice for a frosty room, sacrificing the amount of coolness can help ease energy usage. For example, thinking of other ways to keep cool like opening windows or more popularly, using a ceiling fan. More specifically, think about a three-bladed ceiling fan as they are more aerodynamic and make air circulation more efficient!
3. Water Heaters
Water heaters are big-time villains when it comes to energy and electricity usage. These beautiful inventions help to heat all the water sources in the home. This means having a toasty shower and hot water to scrub off stubborn debris on dishes.
This appliance may get overlooked when it comes to seeing just how much it actually uses in electricity! A water heater is said to have about 4500 watts to them.
When using the same equation as in previous examples, using a 4-hour duration and 365 days of usage (we use it every day!), equates to a buckling 6570 kWh and $788.40! In this example, 4 hours out of a day is an estimate.
This can be lower or higher depending on the number of people in the house and the extent of it being used. Either way, that is a big number to dish out in wasting energy and electricity.
When it comes to finding an alternative for water heaters, it basically comes down to some pretty simple stuff that people may not have thought of before (or maybe they have!). Below are some key ways to help reduce how much the water heater is being used.
Pay attention to the temperature in the shower - On a cold winter's night, a hot shower or bath is always appreciated. However, the higher the temps, the harder the water heater has to work to provide that temperature. It's a difficult adjustment, but cooler showers are possible. Have a bathrobe nearby for when the bathing time is over!
Do the dishes more often - If someone isn't the owner of a dishwasher, then doing dishes by hand is always cumbersome. This is because we usually let them stack up before tackling them. This creates more strain on the water heater to work longer than it needs to. Keeping up with the dishes so there are fewer to do will diminish the need for the water heater to run for longer periods of time.
Use a lower temperature on the washer - Using a hotter water setting on the washing machine can put a strain on the water heater. Not all loads need to be washed with a hot water setting. Regular wash loads will be fine with a cooler water setting.
4. Washer and Dryer
Laundry is a daunting task for everyone, but alas, it is something we all must do. When it comes to using washers and dryers, it is used pretty often. Each appliance has its own set of watts and electricity use, which should come as no surprise as they are two appliances.
Of course, families are a dynamic that varies from house to house. A household with many children, for example, is going to do more loads of laundry than a suburban couple. Since this can be quite the difference in the results, the example provided for a washer and dryer will focus on usage for people who do their laundry just a little bit over once a week.
A washer when used around 60 days out of the year, for roughly 3 hours comes out to be around 90 kWh and $10.80. A dryer on the other hand, when used for 60 days out of the year, for a duration of 3 hours comes out to be about 540 kWh and $64.80.
While these numbers seem low, imagine them for larger families! Whether it is a small family or a large one, there are ways to help in washing and drying electricity use and costs. Below are some great examples of how to ensure people are getting the most out of their appliances!
- Use lower temperatures - As expressed for reducing the water heater's waste, this is a key suggestion for washers and dryers as well. This is because they are all linked together. The water heater won't work as hard and neither will these machines. However, another key factor to consider when looking at temperatures in the dryer. A smaller load does not require the highest drying temperature. We often "set it and forget it" when it comes to the knobs on the washers and dryers and this is a huge mistake for saving money and electricity.
- Consider using other drying alternatives - Traditional clotheslines are not as popular as they used to be. However, they are an efficient way to dry clothes without any electrical energy being used. There are also drying racks on the market now that can be used indoor for drying certain clothing items as well.
Lights may seem obvious here but for good reason. They are using energy and electricity to light the spaces we live in! The average lighting in a house is said to be around 75 watts but is known to vary room to room depending on lighting needs. For the calculation this time around, the 75-watt average will be used.
A 75-watt bulb, if used 12 hours a day, every day, is around 328.5 kWh or about $39.42. That is just in one room! Now add that up with all the rooms in the house if they were the same wattage. The numbers really do pile up, which is why energy efficiency is so crucial. We're human, lights will get left on!
Consider the following suggestions for reducing lighting costs:
- Switch to smart bulbs - While the initial set up of using smart bulbs can cost a little out of pocket, in the long run, their features can really save some money. This is achieved through dimming features and auto-shutoff times. Auto-shutoff times are really great because then we don't have to remember to shut off the lights!
- Use natural light during the day - We often forget that before there was electricity, people did things quite simply. During the daytime hours, windows were opened. At night candles were used. While we don't have to get drastic with using candles, a little natural lighting never hurt anyone. In fact, natural lighting is better for the eyes than constant exposure to artificial lighting.
Refrigerators are a kitchen's best friend. They keep our foods cool and fresh. However, they can use up a bit of electricity. One of the main reasons behind this is because they are on all the time. Constantly.
They work around the clock to provide the coolness to all our foods. The good news about fridges is that they only have an average of 180 watts. The bad news is, once again, that they are working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is where the numbers rise and if the average wattage was higher, the numbers would be even more drastic.
When considering the 180 watts average, at 24-hour usage, 365 days a year, that is about 525.6 kWh at $63.07. There are not too many ways to elevate the energy that refrigerators use. In fact, the only one that can really be suggested is to not open the fridge door too often. This requires the fridge to work harder.
7. Electric Oven
Cooking in electric ovens has its perks, especially when it comes to broiling or roasting. The advancement of technology has helped people have other methods of cooking that are faster and more convenient for today's busy lifestyles.
However, there are just certain things that have to go into the oven! The oven is used generally all year, but more in the winter months perhaps. Overall, it may be safe to say that the oven is used half the year for a 2-hour maximum.
With the average watts of an electric oven is about 2400 this would equate to around 878.4 kWh and $105.41. In some cases, ovens can be up to 5000 watts.
So how can the same tasty results of oven cooking be replicated with less electricity usage and save money? Below are some key ways to consider cooking foods in other ways!
- Use a countertop convection oven - These ovens often crisp up things like a traditional oven. They are space-saving and can yield some delicious results. These devices have 1800 watts and require less cooking time than regular ovens. With this being said, using this half the year for only a 1-hour duration only uses around 329.4 kWh and $39.53 a year. This is quite the drop and worth it too
Dishwashers have managed to make dishes a less stressful chore. However, these devices can use some electricity that makes them not always necessary to use.
Most dishwashers have an average wattage of 1800. Even if this is only used twice a week, about 104 days a year, for around 4 hrs at most (2 hours each time), it comes out to be 748.8 kWh or $89.86. While they are nifty appliances, they can really add up, especially if they're being used with bigger families where more dishes are generated.
However, there are some ways to use these appliances smartly without completely cutting them out of our lives.
- Do them by hand - This answer may seem very obvious and that's because it is. Doing them more often, by hand helps eliminate the need for constantly using the dishwasher.
- Use the energy-efficient button - Most newer models have an energy-efficient button. This button does indeed cut the duration down, usually by an hour, the results are unclean dishes. If using this option, it is important to make sure the dishes aren't caked in debris. However, by the time they're cleaned off, it may be better to just do them by hand anyway. But, this is totally up to whoever is doing this chore!
Televisions the pinnacle of any household. They are literally watched by anyone and everyone. While most models these days come with energy-efficient settings, they can still have an average of 400 watts.
Considering the other appliances on this list, this wattage is pretty low. However, televisions are used quite often within the home. It's generous to say that tv's in this range are only switched on for 6 hours a day, mostly every day.
In this equation, that comes out to 876 kWh and $105.12! Imagine this number in homes where someone may not have a job or has children. This number could be even higher! However, there are some practical solutions to saving energy and cutting down the costs.
- Use the energy-efficient settings - These settings on tvs usually include a light sensor that will auto adjust the brightness depending on the amount of light in the room. This can really help out in households where the tv is on most of the day.
- Cut down on the hours the tv is on - In a society where media rules all, this can be difficult. However, cutting down the hours can drastically help. Cutting the 6 hours down to 3 hours in the example above will slash those numbers in half. Another suggestion is using portable devices that aren't plugged in. Media can be streamed to so many platforms now, that using a smaller screen that is portable may be a good alternative.
10. Coffee Maker
Ahhh, nothing is better than the first cup of coffee in the morning. Coffee makers can range in different watts and it does depend on how many cups are being brewed.
The morning usually warrants a full pot, which is typically anywhere from 8 to 10 cups of coffee (but that many never seems to add up, huh? That's a problem for another day!) at around 1000 watts of usage.
This really packs on the dollars when thinking about how often we brew coffee. It is safe to say that coffee is brewed just about every day in the house. Relying on the equation that's been used for the previous appliances, this comes out to a whopping 2190 kWh and $262.80! People shouldn't be worried about giving up their favorite morning drink to save energy. It can still be enjoyed while being energy-efficient!
One of the best ways to circumvent electricity waste (along with money as well!), is to use a coffee pod machine. These have their perks and downsides, but overall they are lower in wattage.
These devices are usually no more than 400 watts. While they only brew a cup at a time, this can be helpful for times where we simply cannot finish a whole pot of traditional coffee!
Vacuums come in all shapes, sizes, and designs these days. They are an important appliance in any household, but especially for those with big families and pets where the floors can get dirtier than usual.
With that being said, just how much electricity and money are these appliances costing? A decent vacuum that can handle heavy-duty work will be an average of 1400 watts. These machines need a powerful motor to get the job done.
When thinking about that 1400 watts, it can be applied to the usage of 2 days a week (104 days out of the year), 1 hour at a time. This results in 145.6 kWh and only $17.47 a year to operate.
While this is a pretty decent rating compared to the other electricity hogs on this list, there are households that will use it for more than 2 days a week. So what alternative is there to this appliance? If a house has more hardwood floors than carpet, it can be tempting to use vacuums designed for hardwood floors, however, a broom really can come in handy.
This may need done a bit more often but will help elevate running the vacuum too much.
Some people may not know what a dehumidifier does, this appliance can really tack on the electricity usage if ran for long periods of time. Dehumidifiers, simply put, are appliances to help reduce and maintain humidity levels in a specified area.
This is usually done for people with health issues or for overall comfort. Humidity control is really beneficial and these devices do come in handy.
The average dehumidifier is said to have 280 watts. They are generally operating for long periods of time so for the sake of the example, it can be said they may run for 12 hours at a time, every day.
This could be for those with health problems that really need the device. This puts the appliance at round 1226.4 kWh and an astounding $147.17 a year in electricity costs and waste.
Are there alternatives to this device? In short, yes. They remove moisture in the room to control humidity, so some DIY applications can help during times when the machine is off. One particular idea includes:
Use calcium chloride - This method absorbs moisture in the air, is pretty cheap to buy and can be staged throughout a room. It is a form of salt that will absorb the moisture. It can be placed in bowls to put around the room. It is important that in houses with children and pets that the bowls be placed on high shelves where they can't be reached.
Hairdryers are a critical part of most morning routines, but are they using a lot of electricity?
These wonderful appliances help make every morning better, but they are consuming more electricity than we'd like. The average wattage of a hairdryer is around 1500 watts.
When using them an hour a day, every day, this stacks up to 547.5 kWh and $65.70 a year. Whew. Is there a way around this dilemma? Of course! Below are some suggestions for cutting down on hairdryer usage.
- Let hair air dry - There are many products on the market now that can be put in damp hair to help style it while air drying. This option protects hair from potential damage from a hairdryer as well.
- Use the hairdryer less - Using a hairdryer every day may make every morning a bit easier, but overall, it doesn't have to be used every single day. Cutting down on the number of days its being used will help the electricity usage.
Breakfast is not complete without a toaster. Compared to the rest of this list, toasters are the lowest in energy usage, but still adds up! An average toaster has 1200 watts and if used for even half of the days in the year (for an hour or less), will yield about 219.6 kWh and $26.35 a year.
When it comes to alternatives for toasters, gas-operated ovens may be the answer. A skillet can toast the bread just as effectively as a toaster and possibly quicker as well! Using a higher heat and butter on the bread will make for some tasty toaster, but it should be watched to ensure that it does not burn.
Microwaves are found in virtually every kitchen. They are quick, convenient options for heating up foods, especially from frozen. The amount of time they are used heavily varies as some people use them for every meal or even just one meal a day.
When trying to decipher the electricity usage of a microwave, it can be assumed they are used every day, possibly 2 hours a day for someone who frequently pops something in there.
This is particular true for large families. In most cases, microwaves have 1200 watts (on average). So at 2 hours a day, every day, this is around 876 kWh and $105.12 a year! To assess alternatives for microwaves, one must ask themselves, "Does everything need to be microwaved?" The answer is no. Opting for fresh foods that do not require reheating is a great start on the path to saving energy and electricity.
Not only is this a healthier option, but it is energy-efficient as well. If it simply cannot be avoided, another solution falls back on previous things on this list: cut down the usage.
Sure, we live in a fast-paced world and having food quick and hot is convenient, but at what cost? $105.12? Electricity is a large part of our every day lives. However, how we use these products or swap them out for alternatives can really make a difference. This not only helps to be more efficient but aids in saving some money in the long run. Everything adds up. so why shouldn't adding up be more money in someone's pocket?