What In My House Uses the Most Electricity?

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Every 20 years, energy use in the U.S. doubles. According to the Department of Energy, lighting is among the leading sources of that energy use. Their research found that 22% of electricity generated in the U.S. is used for lighting. In a world that’s becoming more technological by the day, it’s important to know what uses the most electricity in your home, and what you can do to reduce that energy. Here’s a list of the most energy-consuming appliances in your home.

1. HVAC

Whether you live in the coldest or hottest climates, you probably use an HVAC system to help keep your home comfortable. With so much use during the winter or summer months, this is generally the most energy-consuming system in your home. Heating and air conditioning are responsible for 46% of energy use in the average American home. There are several tips you can follow to reduce the energy use of your HVAC system.

If possible, set your ceiling fans to operate clockwise in the winter and counterclockwise in the summer. Additionally, have your HVAC system inspected annually to make sure it’s at optimal function, and have your air filters replaced regularly. Bundle up more with scarves and blankets in the winter, and have your thermostat down to 65 degrees. In the summer, wear lighter clothes and have your thermostat up to 78 degrees. Lastly, having your blinds and curtains open in the winter can provide extra heat, and keeping them closed during the summer can keep your house cooler.

2. Water Heater

This may come as a surprise to you, but the second most amount of energy used in your home is your water heater. It can use up around 14% of your home’s energy. There are a few things you may have never have thought of that can reduce energy use. Whenever you go on vacation, always make sure that you turn down the water heater. If the water heater in your home is an old one, try wrapping it up with an insulation jacket. You should also consider installing shower heads that are designed to conserve water. If you want to upgrade your water heater, look into a solar water heater. On sunny days, your water can be heated by energy from the sun, which can help to further reduce the amount of energy your home uses.

3. Lighting

It likely comes as no surprise to you that lighting can use up a good portion of energy in the home. The Department of Energy studied the financial impact on the lighting used in an American home. They found that the average American home spends about 5-10% of its budget on lighting alone. The difference in the amount of energy used can depend on the type of bulb you use, and the amount you use the lights. Every time you leave a room, make it habit to turn off the lights. As often as you can, make use of the natural light of the sun to light up your house by opening blinds and curtains. As mentioned earlier, you’ll also benefit from the heat of the sun during wintertime and lessen the energy use of your HVAC system. Consider using LED light bulbs for more energy efficiency as well.

4. Household Appliances

Everyday household appliances can add up to a lot of energy consumption in your home. Examples of these appliances include ovens and stoves, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and many other appliances. Efficiently using these items can save you a good amount of energy use in your home.

Washers and dryers can use anywhere between 5% and 13% of your home’s energy. To lessen the energy use, always make sure you wash full loads. Have the setting of the water on cold, and don’t overfill the machines. If you’re not in a rush to get your clothes dry, you can use dryer racks. On particularly warm days, you can set them outside in the sun. Lastly, clean out the lint in your dryer so it doesn’t have to work harder and use more energy as a result.

Your stove and oven can not only use energy but also indirectly cause your AC to use more energy keeping the house cool. When using ovens and stoves, the best time to use them is during cool hours in the day. This can help your AC not have to run as often. Whenever possible, make use of smaller cooking appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens. Avoid preheating your oven except when it’s required for cooking the dish. Additionally, a few minutes before your meal is done cooking, turn your burners off. Allowing the remaining heat to cook your food will save more energy.

The best way to lower the energy use from your dishwasher would be to handwash your dishes. In the times that you do use your dishwasher, always make sure to wash full loads. Similar to your oven use, it’s also best to use the dishwasher during the cool hours of the day. In addition, to avoid having to use a second cycle, you can pre-rinse your dirtiest dishes.

With refrigerators, you should do your best to avoid overloading them. Make sure it’s set at the temperature that’s recommended by the manufacturer. It’s also important to maintain proper airflow by cleaning under and behind the refrigerator on a regular basis.

5. Electronics

Despite how often we use our electronic devices, they tend to take up less energy than other appliances. Nonetheless, there are helpful ways you can reduce energy in this aspect as well. When you’re not using your electronic devices, pull the plug out that powers them. It’s wise to make use of power strips to plug in all your devices. When you’re done using the power strip, you should turn it off. Be sure to also lower the brightness on your television and other devices. Perhaps the best way you can reduce energy consumption from electronics is to choose other activities for entertainment. Instead of watching TV or browsing the internet, you can choose to walk outside, read, or spend time with friends.

The main key to reducing energy use is to either use your appliances less or use your appliances more efficiently. You can make use of all these tips to help you accomplish that goal. It’ll provide the benefit of helping you save more financially, as well as helping the environment.2

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