How appliances impact your energy bill

During the coronavirus pandemic, higher utility bills may be part of your new norm if you’re working from home and/or your children are remote learning. Regardless of the pandemic, the number one reason for higher energy bills during summer months is the air conditioner (A/C). Moreover, a shortage of bread flour in grocery stores nationwide indicates a lot more are baking, so ovens may also be contributing to higher utility bills. Luckily, you can take simple steps to improve energy efficiency, reduce water and energy use, and save money while still being productive at home during this unprecedented time – and any time.

What uses the most electricity in a house?

A typical household in the U.S. spends about $2,200 a year on energy bills. The three highest categories that account for energy consumption are heating and cooling (46%), water heating (14%), and appliances (13–20% depending on the source). Although washing hands frequently is part of our new norm, using cold water is as useful as hot water for removing potential germs if you do it for a minimum of 20 seconds. This is an easy way to reduce energy consumption and water waste while realizing energy savings.

What appliances use the most electricity in a house?

According to General Electric, a 5,000-watt central A/C unit can cost about $60 a month, depending on where you live, which could equate to $700 a year in electricity costs for central A/C alone in year-round hot climates. Of course, if you live in a cooler climate and use your A/C sparingly, your costs will be far less. Although it typically draws much lower wattage than a central A/C unit, an electric water heater can be the second most expensive house appliance. While a gas water heater may cost more upfront, it’s more economical to run.

A frequently asked question is, what are the most energy-consuming appliances in my home? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a typical clothes dryer can consume as much energy annually as a new energy-efficient refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher combined. Most freezer units have a higher wattage than refrigerators, consuming a little more energy per month. These are relative energy estimates for four major home appliances:

Tips for saving energy on appliances

When you buy new appliances and electronics, consider ENERGY STAR®-certified options because they use less energy than standard models and may qualify for rebates. Don’t cook, use the dishwasher, or run the clothes dryer during the hottest times of the day to avoid adding heat to your living space and increasing the load on your A/C.

Furnace heating tips

A/C cooling tips

Clothes washer and dryer tips

Refrigerator tips

Learn more about energy bills and additional ways to save energy throughout your home by downloading our Energy Use and Savings Guide.

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  1. Energy Saving
  2. Electric