No doubt about it – running a household can be an expensive proposition. Some appliances are worse than others, guzzling down the kilowatt-hours like they are Kool-Aid. You may even be surprised which appliances are the worst offenders.
If you’re trying to organize your household’s electricity use, check out the Energy Savers website. You’ll find a list of common appliances along with the typical wattage of each one.
Once you know what appliances use the most electricity, you’ll be ready to make purchase decisions to replace ones that need better energy ratings to save a few bucks.
1.HVAC Heating/Cooling System
You can increase dryer efficiency and cut energy consumption by using the moisture sensor in your unit.
Your heating and cooling system probably sucks the most electricity of all of your appliances, helping you keep your home comfortable. Whether it’s the dead of winter with cold or it’s the middle of summer with scorching heat, heating and cooling cost big bucks. In fact, up to 50 percent of your electricity use probably goes to heating and cooling over the course of a year.
You can take steps to heat and cool more efficiently, though. Step up the air sealing and insulation to help your heating and cooling systems work less to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Regular maintenance of your equipment is also important to keep it working in peak condition. The federal government recommends replacing equipment that’s older than 10 years with newer models that will heat and cool more efficiently.
Because you want and expect hot water on demand, a water heater works continually to provide the hot water that your family needs. From laundry to dishes to showers and baths, a family’s hot water needs can be major. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that water heating can consume as much as 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption.
There are ways to cut this number, though. First, make sure that you’re using an efficient water heater in a size that fits your family’s needs. Also, turn down the water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to see a big improvement in your electric bill – as much as 10 percent annually.
While refrigerators have improved dramatically regarding the amount of energy it takes to make them hum, these appliances are still one of your biggest ticket items. While refrigerators of today use about 25 percent less energy, an increase in the size of many units may offset this decrease. The federal government estimates that it costs the average family about $150 a year to run a refrigerator. To keep your refrigerator costs down, make sure your appliance is an energy efficient model – not an old dinosaur.
Clothes dryers currently cannot earn an Energy Star rating with the Department of Energy. This is because most dryers utilize a similar amount of electricity and the DOE hasn’t even found enough variation to warrant ratings.
You can increase dryer efficiency and cut energy consumption by using the moisture sensor in your unit, if available. This makes your unit turn off when your clothes dry. Another option – hang your clothes outside whenever possible to use free fresh air and sunshine.
A dishwasher is another major expense for the average household, accounting for about 2 percent of your annual electricity expense. There are ways you can cut these costs, though. The number one way to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to wash dishes is to replace a dishwasher that’s older than 1994. Newer dishwashers use less water and use less energy to heat the water to wash your dishes. You can also set your dishwasher to an air-dry setting instead of using heat.
A little research will give you the information you need to assess the efficiency of your appliances.