You are not alone if you have ever received your energy bill and wondered, “Which home appliances use the most energy?
A few years ago, after being away for a lengthy trip, I arrived home to a typical energy bill. I was surprised because I expected a lower bill after being away from home. This led me to an enlightening journey in search of answers.
I started my quest on the Energy Information Administration’s website—specifically, the Residential Energy Consumption Survey.
According to EIA, a typical U.S. home spends more than $2,000 annually on energy bills. On average, more than half of household energy consumption is for two energy end uses: space heating and air conditioning.
This impressed on me the importance of adjusting my thermostat while I’m away for extended periods. It truly makes a difference on our monthly bills.
I learned water heaters tend to be the third-largest energy user at 13%, followed by lighting, which accounts for about 12.5% of the average energy bill.
Once I understood the factors driving my energy consumption, I was able to change some of my habits and save money by using helpful devices, such as smart thermostats, water heater controllers and smart power strips.
Several factors affect the amount of energy a household uses, including geographic location and climate, the number of people in the home, the type of home and its physical characteristics. The efficiency of energy-consuming devices and the amount of time they are used also impact home energy consumption.
To save energy and reduce your monthly bill, the following tips can help:
Use Energy Star-rated appliances and devices.
Replace old, inefficient equipment. For example, if your air conditioner, furnace or water heater is more than 10 years old, it likely is using a lot more energy than necessary. A newer model may end up saving you money in the long run.
Use appliances with efficiency in mind. Only wash full loads of clothes or dishes. When possible, cook with smaller countertop appliances instead of the oven.
Set your thermostat to scale back heating or cooling when you are asleep or away. When you are in the home and active, the Department of Energy recommends setting it to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Aim for settings as close to those as possible to save energy.
Use energy-efficient LED bulbs. They use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer.
Plug electronics into a smart power strip, which allows you to designate “always on” for devices that need to maintain a network connection and cut power from devices such as speakers and TVs when they are not in use.
With a little extra attention to how you use energy in your home, you will be well on your way to a path of energy savings—and lower energy bills.
When Shopping, Look for Energy Star Label
The key to making energy-efficient choices is to shop for the government-backed Energy Star label. The symbol for energy-efficiency information makes it easy for consumers and business owners to make well-informed decisions when it comes to buying products that save them money and protect the environment.
Since 1992, Energy Star and its utility, local, state, commercial and industrial partners have helped American families and businesses save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ensures each product that earns the Energy Star label is independently certified to deliver efficiency performance and savings.
Americans bought more than 300 million Energy Star-certified products and more than 300 million Energy Star-certified lightbulbs in 2020. An average of 800,000 Energy Star-certified products were sold every day in 2020, bringing the total to more than 7 billion products sold since 1992.
Many utilities participate in incentive programs for Energy Star consumer products, offering discounts or rebates for qualified purchases.
Replacing older heating and cooling equipment with a properly sized and installed Energy Star-certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning system can save the average consumer about $160 a year. Energy Star-rated smart thermostats can add another 8% to annual savings, and a heat pump water heater rated under the program can shave $330 from annual utility costs.
Over the life of the program, every dollar EPA has spent on Energy Star has resulted in nearly $350 in energy cost savings for American businesses and households. In 2020, Energy Star and its partners helped Americans save more than 520 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $42 billion in energy costs.
Ratings are updated regularly to account for design changes and improved efficiency. To access online tools and learn more about efficient appliances, home entertainment and personal communications devices, visit energystar.gov.