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What Draws the Most Electricity in Your Home?
Appliances That Use the Most Electricity
- HVAC System: In almost any house in this country, it is the heating and air conditioning equipment that consumes the most power. On average, your HVAC system accounts for a staggering 47% of your energy costs. So now you know why heating and AC professionals stress the importance of energy-efficient products so much and encourage consumers to look for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE rating when purchasing new systems. While you of course need to run your home comfort equipment throughout much of the year, it is best to try to limit HVAC use as much as possible. Fortunately, there are also some simple tricks you can use to help your equipment function more efficiently. For starters, turn your furnace off when you are not home, so you do not waste power heating an empty house. On the other hand, you may actually want to keep your air conditioner running when you leave for the day, as jacking the AC up when you get home after a hot day is only going to force your system to work harder, which means higher bills for you. You may also be able to balance temperatures in your home and enjoy greater comfort for a lower cost by upgrading to a smart thermostat, which will automatically adjust to the ideal temperature settings for your house.
- Water Heater: Water heaters account for roughly 14% of the average homeowner’s energy costs—a significant jump down from your heating and air conditioning systems, but a good chunk, nonetheless. Much like your HVAC equipment, you can’t just stop using your water heater entirely, though there are habits you can practice to help ensure you aren’t wasting money on running your water heater. For starters, try to shower for shorter periods of time, especially during the winter, when your system has to work harder to keep your water warm. You should also make sure your water heater is well-maintained, flushing out the tank periodically to get rid of sediment build-up and calling a technician promptly for any necessary repairs. Depending on your home’s needs, you may also benefit from upgrading to a tankless water heater, as these systems are usually much more energy-efficient than traditional tank water heaters.
- Washer & Dryer: Down just a bit from water heaters, washer and dryer combos usually account for 13% of your home power costs. In this sense, if you are a renter using a coin-operated washer and dryer inside or outside of your apartment building, the costs may actually even out, though as a homeowner, it’s hard to beat the convenience of owning your own washer and dryer (and if you are a renter with an in-unit laundry set-up, then you’ve hit the jackpot.) While no one wants to walk around wearing dirty clothes, it is a good idea to limit washer and dryer use if you want to reduce your energy bill a bit. Consider running small loads together, if it will not ruin your clothes, and if you are planning on laundering only one or two items at a time, try to wait until you have more items to wash.
- Lighting: Your lights account for approximately 12% of your monthly electrical bill. As mentioned above, a lot of homeowners think the best way to cut down on this cost is to just shroud themselves in darkness. However, a better solution may be to upgrade to LED lightbulbs. These bulbs use 80% less power than halogen lightbulbs and are compatible with almost all modern electrical fixtures. So if you have not already fully upgraded your house to LED lighting, there’s really no reason not to make the switch ASAP.
- Electronics: Electronic devices such as your computer and television account for roughly 9% of what you spend on your utility bill. Fortunately, there are a lot of options to reduce what you spend using electronics, such as adjusting the power settings on your computer, plugging your devices into a surge-suppression strip to stop the flow of power when they are off, upgrading to an energy-efficient LED light TV, and even purchasing an energy-monitoring system to tell you how much you power your devices are consuming in any given month. Of course, there’s a simpler solution here too, which is to just use your electronics less (if that’s even possible, in the modern world.)