We’re all trying to save money.
Whether you are recently entering the great big world of adulting by buying your first home or you’ve got homes everywhere who has already established themselves (or if you’re like the majority of us and fall somewhere in between) finding functional ways to save money in our every day life is a goal that most of us share. After all, it’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it.
One of those pesky monthly costs that many of us deal with is our electric and water bills. With energy costs rising across the nation (current metrics indicate that average cost per kilowatt hour is 13.31 cents in the United States), learning what appliances cost you the most can help you create a plan that makes your home more efficient and saves you real money. Below we’ve outlined the top 5 appliances you need to keep an eye on: A.K.A the ones that cost you the most.
1. Central Air Conditioner & Heater:
It’s no surprise that your Air Conditioner is the #1 energy sucker in your household. Really, this applies to all heating and cooling systems in your home. Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (let’s just refer to this as your HVAC system from here) is responsible for about 46% of energy use in the average American home. The average HVAC system runs two to three times per hour for around 10-15 minutes, which uses roughly 3500 watts. This translates into 28-63 kWh used per day, which comes in at a whopping 850-1,950 kWh per month. So how can you reduce the workload of your HVAC system and lower your monthly heating and cooling bill?
- Install and USE ceiling fans – it’s recommended that you run them counterclockwise in the summer to create a downdraft (think cool summer breeze) and clockwise in the winter to create an updraft which helps circulate warm air in a room.
- Replace your air filters – regularly replacing your air filters helps your HVAC system to perform its best and prevents it from overworking itself.
- Try to turn your thermostat up to 78F in summer and down to 65F in winter – we know this is HARD. And these are just recommended guidelines. The thing to remember here is that the average temperature of your house should change during different seasons to remain efficient.
- Invest in a good window coverings (blinds, shades, curtains…) – in the summer months, drawing your window coverings can help keep out the heat of the day and keep your house cool. Alternately, leave those windows open during sunny winter days to help draw in free heat.
2. Water Heater
Your water heater is most likely the second largest energy sucker in your home, accounting for 14% of energy use in the average American home. An average water heater runs for roughly 3 hours per day, using 4500 watts, which translates to 13.5 kWh per day, or 405 kWh per month. While having hot water is a luxury most of us refuse to go without, there are a few things you can do to ensure your water heater is running as efficiently as possible.
- Set your water heater’s temperature to 120F or lower.
- Insulate your hot water pipes to help keep that heat in.
- Turn down your water heater when you go on vacation so that it’s not spending energy heating water when no one is home. – You can also look into smart water heater devices that can help you accomplish this.
- If you have an older water heater, consider wrapping it in an insulation jacket.
- Install water-conserving shower heads and faucet aerators.
Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!… kidding. But in all seriousness, the average refrigerator uses 225 watts per day. This comes out to 164 kWh per month, and with an average cost of 13.31 cents per kilowatt hour for residential users in the United States, that adds up. While there isn’t really an option to just turn off your fridge for most people, there are a few ways you can make sure it is running at its best.
- Arrange your fridge contents with efficiency in mind – keep your most used items front and centered so that you’re not standing in front of your refrigerator searching for something and letting all of that cool air out.
- Set your fridge to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature – it’s recommended for a reason.
- Regularly clean behind and underneath your fridge to maintain good airflow and prevent any vents from getting clogged.
- If you have an older refrigerator, consider replacing it with a more modern, energy-efficient model.
4.Washer and Dryer
Collectively, the average washer and dryer is responsible for about 13% of a home’s energy use. If you used each of these appliances for one hour a day, you would be looking at about 91 kWh per month. To keep your washer and dryer running as efficiently as possible, consider the tips below.
- Wash loads with cold water when possible.
- Try to only wash full loads of laundry so that you are not wasting energy on one or two items.
- While you want to wash full loads, avoid overfilling your machine which can put unnecessary pressure on these appliances.
- Use a drying rack when possible, to save on energy used by your dryer – no more shrunken sweaters to worry about!
- Make sure you clear your lint tray after each use.
5. Electric Ovens & Stove
On average, an electric oven and stove accounts for somewhere around 3-4% of your home’s electricity use. Using these appliances for an hour a day accounts for roughly 120 kWh per month, and they can actually make your home warmer with use, which increases the load on your AC during warm months. You can increase the efficiency of these appliances, and your overall electricity usage, by following these tips.
- Try to use your electric oven or stove during the cooler hours of the day to prevent extra work for your AC unit.
- Turn off your burners a few minutes before you are done cooking, and let the residual heat do the rest of the work.
- Consider using a microwave, toaster oven, or other small kitchen appliance for small meals or reheating dishes.
While these are the top 5 appliances that use the most electricity in your home, applying energy saving principles to your daily use for all electrical items in your home can help you put money back in your pocket each month.