When temperatures rise, our energy bills can be at their highest. To prevent high electric bills, we need to keep our homes as energy efficient as possible. Finding ways to save energy and reduce our costs can be a challenge, so where do we start? With the help of energystar.gov and energy.gov, we explore the energy consumed by typical home systems, appliances and electronics, find out what uses the most energy and share tips on how to make your home more energy-efficient to curb your electricity costs.
Here's a breakdown of the biggest energy use categories in the typical home:
Your electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh. When calculating an appliance or system's energy use, we calculate daily kilowatt-hours by multiplying the hours used per day by its wattage, and get the kWh by multiplying that by 0.001. Learn more about calculating your appliances and systems' usage.
As your main source of comfort from extreme outdoor temperatures, your HVAC system uses the most energy of any single appliance or system at 46 percent of the average U.S. home's energy consumption. An average central HVAC unit uses about 3500 watts and runs two to three times an hour for 10-15 minutes. In a 24-hour period, your HVAC would use around 28-63 kWh, resulting in about 850-1,950 kWh in a month, depending on the efficiency of your unit. Try to reduce the workload of your HVAC system with these tips:
As another often-used appliance, your water heater comes in second at 14 percent of your home's energy usage. An average water heater will run about 3 hours a day and uses 4500 watts, adding up to 13.5 kWh per day, or 405 kWh per month. Use these tips to take the heat off your energy bill:
Your home appliances account for about 13 percent of the typical electric bill. Below are some tips on how to save on your major appliances' energy use:
An average refrigerator uses 225 watts, and assuming you use your refrigerator all day, you'll use 162 kWh per month. Although we can't turn our refrigerators off or use them less, there are other ways to save:
Washers and dryers collectively use about 5 percent of your home's energy. These appliances cumulatively use 3045 watts. If you used each for one hour per day, your laundry appliances would use about 91 kWh per month. Keep these tips in mind when you do laundry:
At 2,500 watts for an oven and 1,500 for a stove on medium-high heat, using these for one hour a day results in 75 kWh and 45 kWh a month, respectively. These appliances, particularly your oven, can also make your home warmer and increase the load on your AC. Reduce the electricity load from these appliances with these tips:
Read more kitchen tips: Tips to Save Energy in the Kitchen
An average dishwasher uses 330 watts. Used for one hour each day, that's almost 10 kWh per month. Your dishwasher can also affect how hard your AC has to work since it can heat up your home. Use these tips to reduce your dishwasher's primary and residual energy use:
Read more tips: What is My Dishwasher Trying to Tell Me?
Lighting accounts for about 9 percent of a typical home's energy use. Light bulbs' energy use can vary widely based on bulb type and usage. A 100-watt incandescent bulb left on for two hours a day uses about 0.2 kWh a day, or 6 kWh per month. Add that up for about 50 bulbs in the household, and it becomes 300 kWh per month. Reduce the electricity usage of your lights with these tips:
Electronics make up about 4 percent of our energy use. Our electronic entertainment in particular, including televisions, set-top boxes and video game consoles, can use a significant portion of our homes' energy. If we watch an average of five hours of TV a day and play video games for 6.3 hours a week, these devices can use about 55 kWh per month. These electronics are also culprits of using standby power even when they are not in use. Keep their energy usage in line with these tips:
Read more tips: Energy Efficiency in the Media Room