Which appliances use the most electricity?
When we bought our home 20 years ago, it was already around 50 years old. It pretty much had original everything. Hello, pink tiled bathroom! Yes, almost everything was from the 1950s. Including our furnace.
One bitterly cold winter night (of course!) the furnace died on us. In the middle of the night. We knew that we were going to have to replace it sooner rather than later, but still. We replaced it with a new version and at the same time replaced all the windows and doors in the house.
Prior to those big changes, we had been purchasing 4 oil tanks full of oil every winter. Sure, it was a big chunk of change to spend on home repairs. But guess what? We went down to one tank of oil per winter. One. And our electric bill went down significantly too.
Just recently, I noticed that my son’s CPAP machine was running all the time, even when we weren’t using it. Parents like us often have hidden costs attached to our parenting. Purchasing and running extra equipment due to disabilities certainly falls into that category.
Have you ever wondered why your electric bill is so high? Sure, you know that certain things around your home are eating up a lot of energy, but which appliances are to blame? There are some appliances that you may not have realized are causing your bill to be higher. Let’s look at five appliances you may not know are resource hogs in your home.
Appliances that Use a Lot of Electricity
- HVAC System-It’s nice to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, right? That comfort comes with a price. In fact, HVAC systems account for 20 to 30% of your electricity bill, depending on the season. That’s a huge percentage. Money-Saving Tip: One is to make sure you keep your thermostat set at one temperature. It’s easier to maintain temperature than to bring the temperature up or down several degrees. You can also shut the vents and close the doors in rooms that you don’t use to reduce the amount of space that needs to be heated and cooled. Reduce the temperature at night for sleeping and put it on a timer to warm up before you wake. Also, some fireplaces actually cause more heat to go up the chimney than is expelled into the room.
- Water Heater-The biggest problem with a water heater is that it keeps water hot all the time. This means that energy is constantly being used to keep the water heated. This results in around 15% of your electricity bill. I often tell the story of how our dishwasher broke a few years back and it took us several weeks to get around to calling the repairman. (We didn’t have kids yet, so we only had half as many dishes as we do now.) During the time that our dishwasher was out of service, our electric bill went down 20%. That’s a combination of the electricity to run the dishwasher plus what it was using in hot water. Money-Saving Tip: Handwash the easy stuff like glasses and utensils. Take shorter showers. Use less hot water (cleaning, washing machine, etc.) You can look into one of those on-demand water heaters, but oftentimes you end up using a lot more water drawing up warm water. Talk with an expert before you buy it. (Also know that if you buy one of those newer water heaters that heat it at the source, it takes excess water to make that happen. Can’t win!)
- Washer and Dryer-Washers and dryers are also energy hogs. Not only are you using a lot of water, but you’re using energy to heat the water and energy to dry the clothes. While washing laundry only results in roughly 13% of your bill, it still adds up. Money-Saving Tip: Try using only cold water washes to help cut those costs. You can also use a clothesline or drying rack when conditions permit.
- Electric Oven-Go outside and watch your meter when you have your electric oven running. You will be shocked at how fast the dial spins. Depending on the age of your oven, you may be spending a lot to run it. Money-saving tip: Do not preheat for an excessive amount of time. Use a Crock-Pot instead of slow roasting in the oven. Combine cooking whenever you can.
- TV-Believe it or not, your TV and TV accessories also eat up a lot of energy. Not only does watching TV and playing games use resources, but you’re using resources even when you’re not watching TV. Appliances like TVs use what is called vampire power. That means that even when the devices are turned off, they are using power. This is because the TV needs to have the power to detect the remote. Money-Saving Tip: Put your TV and devices on a surge protector and switch it off each evening to prevent this from happening.
Appliances use a lot more energy than you might have thought. Thankfully, there are ways to save money.
Other ways to save on Electricity include:
- Remember that anything on “standby” is likely using energy. This includes those cable boxes on top of your TV, some charging cords, and maybe even your microwave.
- Some electric companies give a discounted kilowatt-hour rate if you won’t run the resource hogs during the day when demand is high. This might be a good option for families where everyone is gone all day.
- Technology is always changing. While your 15-year-old washer may still work, you might save money by upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient model. How long has that chest freezer been in your basement?
- Get in the habit of turning things off when you’re done. Sure, a single bedroom light is not going to save the world, but it can add up over time.
- You can often contact your electric company and they will give you a nominal amount (ours was $50-$75) to upgrade your appliances and have them come get the old ones.