what uses the most energy in a home

Which Appliances Use the Most Electricity in the Home?

You’ve probably heard your parents or grandparents say “Turn off the lights!” a million times. But did you know that some household appliances use more energy than others? 

It’s true – there are energy hogs lurking in your home, and it’s time to find out which ones are causing your electric bill to soar. 

Key Takeaways

  • The water heater and other heating and cooling costs account for the highest energy expenditures in a home.
  • While appliances like televisions and dishwashers also use their fair share of electricity, they aren’t nearly as costly as you might think.
  • There are simple steps you can take to reduce your energy usage, like lowering the temperature on your hot water heater and making sure your home is properly insulated.

Which Appliances Use the Most Electricity in the Home?

Curious about which of your favorite appliances uses the most energy in your house? Let’s take a closer look.

Water Heater 

The water heater is a necessary appliance for many kinds of homes, yet it uses up a lot of electricity because it needs to keep a tank filled with hot water at all times. This applies even if you are not using the hot water. 

On average, water heating accounts for about 20% of your home’s energy use.

To help save energy and reduce electricity bills, people should turn their water heaters down to the warm setting: usually between 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, there are many models of energy-efficient water heaters available in the market that can help households become more energy conscious and environmentally friendly.


which appliances use the most electricity - lights

Lighting accounts for about 4% of residential electricity consumption on average, but in some cases, it is responsible for using up as much as 12% of a household’s total energy consumption. 

The main reason for this high usage is the abundance of light bulbs, which are found in almost every room of a typical home. From floor lamps to kitchen lights to ceiling fixtures and more, there are many different sources of light that use electricity. 

Many people resist taking steps towards making their lighting energy-efficient due to the perception that energy-efficient bulbs don’t offer good lighting quality compared to incandescent bulbs. 

However, this isn’t true anymore as advancements in technology have provided us with better solutions like LED lights which consume very little electricity and provide excellent illumination. Investing in energy-efficient solutions such as LED bulbs or switching off your lights when leaving the room can help reduce your electricity costs significantly. 

Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling accounts for the largest energy expenditures in the home, in some cases accounting for 55% of a home’s total energy consumption. 

Knowing why it uses so much juice can help you come up with ways to make your home more efficient. A big part of this is due to the fact that homes are often full of air leaks and poor insulation, causing cool air to escape in the summer and warm air to escape in the winter. 

Furthermore, older type furnaces and air conditioners tend to consume more electricity than newer models, so investing in an energy-efficient unit or making upgrades to improve insulation can save you money in the long run. In addition, simple habits such as reducing heat or using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning can also make a noticeable difference on your energy bills. 


what uses the most energy - refrigerator

Refrigerators need to keep running around the clock to maintain a consistent temperature, which requires a significant amount of energy, but the good news is that most modern refrigerators are relatively efficient, accounting for only about 350 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year of use. 

Make sure your refrigerator is stocked efficiently – leave enough space between items so that air can travel throughout the fridge chamber and maintain an even temperature. 

You can also set your refrigerator at its ideal temperature (37-40 degrees Fahrenheit) and also make sure the doors are properly sealed every time they are opened. 

Aside from buying a new, Energy Star-rated appliance, maintenance is key for energy efficiency. Maintaining a clean condenser coil on the back of the refrigeration unit will help it run more efficiently and lead to fewer costs in power consumption.

Washer and Dryer

which appliances use the most energy - washer dryer

The washer and dryer use up a fair bit of energy in the average household, though not as much as you might think. The average washing machine, for example, will only cost the user about $9 per year to operate. Dryers use quite a bit more energy – around $104.46 per year in expenditures – but still shouldn’t put a huge dent in your electricity budget, especially if you choose an energy-efficient model.

To reduce the amount of electricity being used, opt for heftier loads on your washer and dryer, as a full load will use less energy than multiple smaller ones. Furthermore, wash clothes in cold water, as hot water will consume more electricity. You can also line dry or air dry your clothes rather than tossing them in the dryer.

Finally, make sure your appliances are relatively new and maintained; outdated machines will use more power than their modern counterparts. 


When it comes to household appliances, dishwashers are not usually thought of as major energy hogs. In reality, modern dishwashers can use up to 10 times less electricity than older models. The typical model uses around 1.2 kWh and 1.5kWh per load.

This is due to the widespread use of more efficient motors and improved insulation among other improvements. 

Although this means that running a typical dishwasher won’t break the bank, it still pays off to take additional steps to save energy when using one. Taking shorter cycles, avoiding hot water pre-rinsing, and keeping your unit maintained will help your dishwasher use even less electricity. 

TV and Cable Box

TV and cable box energy usage might be one of the things that you think about the least when considering an energy-efficient household. Most use around 171 kWh/year in energy.

Although these devices certainly don’t use as much electricity as your oven, AC unit, or water heater, their constant presence in a home can still result in an unnecessarily large amount of energy use at the end of each month. 

To help keep things more efficient, make sure you stay current with software updates for these devices so they are running optimally. Also try only powering them on when actively using them instead of leaving them running all day long. 

Also, replacing older models with ENERGY STAR certified models reduces electricity costs by about 25%. 


The next time you hear someone say “Turn off the lights!” remember that not all appliances are created equal when it comes to energy consumption – some require far more power than others do! 

Keep an eye out for those real energy hogs in your home so that you can save money on electricity bills each month without sacrificing comfort or convenience. After all, who doesn’t love saving money?

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