It goes without saying, but there are many financial responsibilities that come with homeownership. Some of the financial responsibilities tied to your house are fixed costs, like your mortgage, while others leave room for savings. Enter, your utility bill.
According to the Energy Resource Center, Americans waste about $130 billion on energy each year. While cooling and heating systems are responsible for 47% of electricity use, appliances account for around 40%. Much of this waste could be prevented through awareness and restricting the use of household appliances (we’re sorry to say that means your dad had a point when he told you to take it easy on the air conditioning). Here are the appliances that use the most electricity in an average home:
If you want to keep your kWhs down, you need to start with the main culprit of a hefty electricity bill, your water heater. Your water heater is responsible for approximately 14% of the average household’s electricity usage, which most likely means that it is the appliance that uses the most electricity in a household. According to Connect4Climate, a water heater costs an average of $317 annually to power.
If you want to cut down on the cost of operating your hot water heater, you can take shorter showers and avoid letting the hot water run while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. You should also consider taking warm showers instead of hot showers. Setting the water heater temp to 120 degrees is recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s also worth noting that a savings of three to five percent can be achieved by reducing the temp by just ten degrees.
Washer and dryer
Washers and dryers are collectively responsible for 13% of energy costs in a home. Perhaps the simplest way to reduce is part of your energy bill is to skip the dryer, even if it’s just seasonally (your cottons will thank you for it!). When the weather permits, place laundry to dry on a clothesline. You can also lessen your energy cost by selecting shorter (and cooler) washing and drying cycles. Many dryers operate with a sensor system and will not stop running until your clothes are fully dry. Turn off that setting and try to keep drying cycles under an hour.
If you only have one fridge in your household, odds are that it’s only responsible for about 4% of electricity usage and costs about $95 a year to operate. Your fridge runs 24/7, so limiting its use isn’t an option, however, there are a few things you can do to cut back on your fridge’s electricity usage.
First, limit the time the refrigerator door is open. An ajar door means your fridge is using extra energy to cool down. Also, try not to open the door until you know what you want. Perusing through your fridge for a late-night snack means you’re letting that cool air slip away. And lastly, allow leftovers to completely cool before placing them in the refrigerator. Ajar doors and steamy lasagnas make your fridge work harder than it needs to, which will be reflected on your electric bill.
If you’re looking to save on your home’s energy bill, keep these energy-heavy appliances in mind. However, you should remember, your home’s HVAC system is the main culprit for a high utility bill. That means if you’re serious about energy efficiency, you should consider investing in a programmable thermostat.