What Uses the Most Energy in Homes? A Home Energy Use Breakdown

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First came the mail: you emptied your mailbox and opened your utility bills like usual, expecting the normal amount – only to be floored by some much larger, unfamiliar and unsettling number.

Then came the questions: how did this happen? Who – or what – is the culprit behind the spike? Where can I start cutting back?

We’ve all been there – and if you’re now left wondering which of your appliances are taking the most electricity, you’re not alone.

Good, simple energy-saving habits – like shutting off lights in unused rooms and keeping doors and windows shut and sealed – can often go a long way in reducing your energy spending. But, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the biggest energy hogs in your home so you can pinpoint and eliminate any inadvertently wasteful habits.

Check out these 11 biggest users of electricity around your home, and learn how to use them more efficiently:

6 large appliances that take the most electricity:

Washing Machine

Washing machines make our lives easy, but overusing them, or using them inefficiently, can add up on your electric bill.

To ensure you’re making the most of laundry day, try to only run the washer when you have a full load, and wash with cold water when you can.

Average washing machine wattage 500 watts
Average usage 5 hours per week
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) (national average price per kWh) $17.62
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $15.55

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Dryer

Is there anything better than putting on a fresh sweater straight out of the dryer? Clothes dryers, while helpful, are also some of the biggest energy hogs in the home. Some can use over five times the energy of even the most inefficient washers! To cut down on your energy usage, try using the lowest heat settings on the dryer and drying heavier, more absorbent materials like towels and blankets separately from lighter fabrics.

Average dryer wattage 1000-4000 watts
Average usage5 hours per week
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $35.25 – $140.99
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $31.10 – $124.39

Diswasher

Like your clothes washer, the key to using your dishwasher most efficiently is to only run full loads. Additionally, some dishwashers have a button that allow you to heat dry your dishes at the end – instead of doing this, try simply opening your dishwasher at the end of the cycle and letting the dishes air dry.

Average dishwasher wattage 1200-1500 watts
Average usage 1 hour per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $59.57 – $74.47
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $52.56 – $65.70

Oven

Oven-cooked meals tend to be healthier (and tastier) than microwavable meals, so there’s nothing wrong with getting a lot of use out of your oven. However, being strategic with your cooking plans by cooking multiple things at once and not opening the door to peek can make your cooking experience a much more energy-efficient one.

Average oven wattage 2150 watts
Average usage 1 hour per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $106.74
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $94.17

Refrigerator

Because refrigerators run constantly, they can be some of the biggest electricity drains in your home, and can account for close to 10 percent of your annual electricity usage. If you’re able to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, it can cut your annual electricity spending nearly in half.

Additionally, having a well-organized fridge can help cut down the average time it takes to find items inside, reducing the amount of cool air the fridge must replace with each opening.

Average large refrigerator wattage 100 – 180 watts
Average usage 24 hours per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $119.14 – $214.47
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh$105.12 – $189.22

Deep Freezer

If you’re a big fan of buying in bulk, your deep freezer is probably your best friend. However, it may also be a huge energy hog in your home. Deep freezers can account for around 10 percent of your total annual electricity usage.

In addition to keeping the lid tightly sealed and shut, placing the freezer in a place that stays cool year-round – like your basement – can reduce the amount of energy it needs to keep your food frozen.

Average large refrigerator wattage 335 watts
Average usage 24 hours per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $399.11
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $352.15

3 electronic devices that use the most electricity:

Televisions

According to Statista, the average American watches around four to five hours of television a day (and that’s just network television – it’s not counting the additional daily three hours of Netflix we all watch). While most televisions are comparatively energy efficient, the large amounts of time we spend in front of them can add up on our annual electric bills.

To keep your TV usage as efficient as possible, be conscious about shutting it off when leaving a room. Additionally, try choosing a shorter automatic shut off period on your device’s settings. This will prevent a TV from simply staying on for hours on a blank, ‘no input’ screen (or the ‘Are you still watching?’ screen on Netflix).

Average television wattage 80-400 watts
Average usage 4.5 hours per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $17.87 – $89.35
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $15.77 – $78.84

Dehumidifiers

If you have an unfinished basement, a dehumidifier can be vital in preventing mold or water damage in the foundation and walls. However, they can be one of the biggest electricity drainers, especially if your basement is extremely moisture prone and needs constant regulating.

Sometimes, the key to keeping moisture out of a basement can lie in a good coat of waterproofing sealant on the walls and flooring. This can help protect your home while allowing your humidifier to run less often. If simply using your dehumidifier less is not an option, it’s best to look for the most energy-efficient model that will keep your space protected without being a major energy hog.

Average dehumidifier wattage 300 - 700 watts
Average usage 8 hours per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $119.14 – $277.98
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $105.12 – $245.28

Space Heaters

Space heaters come in all shapes and sizes, and everybody uses space heaters a little differently, so estimating the annual energy costs of your space heater can be tricky. But if you regularly rely on the warmth of your space heater, you may be paying a lot more than you think. The bigger models can be a major electricity drain, costing over $400 annually to use six hours a day.

Most space heaters are extremely energy-inefficient, so bundling up or keeping the heat well-contained once it’s been generated can help you make the most of your heater usage.

Average space heater wattage 200 – 1500 watts
Average usage 6 hours per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $59.57 – $446.76
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $52.56 – $394.20

Other major energy drains in the home:

Water Heater

Nothing’s better than a long, hot shower – but if you’re trying to get your energy bills under control, you may want to consider changing up your habits. Depending on your usage, the size of your home and the rate you’re paying for energy, it can cost close to $600 each year to heat your home’s water.

To cut this spending back, try taking shorter showers and lowering the temperature on your water heater. The less energy needed to keep your hot water stores warm, the better it will be for your wallet.

Average water heater wattage 4000 watts
Average usage 3 hours per day
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $595.68
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $525.60

Air Conditioning

Of all the electricity drains in an average home, air conditioning is undoubtedly one the costliest. Whether you use a 1440-watt wall unit or a 3500-watt central air system, the sheer power and amount of usage most air conditioning units get can add up in a big way.

If you’re trying to keep the home cooler while using less AC, start by investing in heavier window shades or curtains and sealing up any drafty doors and windows throughout the house. This will allow you to trap the cool air inside more effectively, and prevent your unit from running constantly.

*Average usage based on homes in seasonal climates, running air 8 hours a day for 6 months (summer and spring seasons), and 0 hours for 6 months (fall and winter). For year-round air conditioning usage costs, double above listed costs
Average air conditioner wattage 1440 - 3500 watts
Average usage 4 hours per day*
Annual cost at 13.60 cents per kWh (national average price per kWh) $285.93 – $694.96
Annual cost at 12 cents per kWh $252.29 – $525.60

Make your energy savings go the extra mile

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of energy hog suspects, take some time to find out what you’re really spending on electricity – and whether or not you can find a better rate in your area.

If you live in a deregulated state, you are allowed to shop for a better electricity rate than the one your utility company chooses for you. In fact, lowering your electricity rate by just one cent can save you anywhere between 10 to 15 percent on annual energy bills.

Know your options and take advantage of your energy choice to make the most of your energy-saving efforts – compare electricity, natural gas and renewable energy rates today in just a few clicks.