What Uses the Most Electricity in a Home?

Go to Home
What Uses the Most Electricity in a Home?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Americans used 1.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity to power their homes in 2022. Our usage has increased dramatically since the mid-1900s, and anyone who wants to reduce their environmental footprint should closely examine what uses the most electricity at home. Of course, you probably don’t know the consumption of each of your electronics, so we’ll go over some of the most power-hungry items you might have in your home and tips for reducing usage in the appliances that use the most electricity.

Table of Contents

1. Air Conditioning and Heating

Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system likely uses the most electricity at home. The EIA tells us that space heating and cooling accounts for slightly over 30% of residential energy usage. These appliances run frequently, and many factors can affect their efficiency, like drafts and poor insulation.

Here are some ways to reduce your HVAC appliances’ energy use.

  • Use curtains to your advantage: On sunny summer days, keep the curtains drawn to prevent the sun from heating your home and creating more work for the AC. Conversely, open them in the winter to allow sunlight to help your heater.
  • Stay up-to-date on maintenance: Regularly replace your air filters, and keep all your vents clear of dust or blockages. Get your HVAC system professionally serviced annually.
  • Use fans: In the summer, set your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise. Run it clockwise in the winter. Keep in mind that ceiling fans are designed to cool people, not rooms. Running a ceiling fan in an empty room will just waste money and energy.
  • Check your insulation: If your home has poor insulation, all your HVAC system’s hard work could escape to the outside air. Look for drafts and faulty insulation.
  • Reduce usage when you’re not home: Consider installing a smart thermostat or manually adjusting your HVAC usage when you’re not home.

2. Water Heating

Water heating takes up another 11.4% of electricity use, giving us hot water for bathing, washing clothes, cooking and washing dishes. You can take these steps to reduce water heater usage.

  • Upgrading or insulating your water heater: If you have an older water heater, add an insulation jacket to keep heat in. You might do this for your pipes, too. Other options include upgrading to high-efficiency water heaters or a solar water heater.
  • Installing water-saving accessories: Change your showerhead to a water-saving version, and add faucet aerators that reduce water usage by mixing the water stream with air.

3. Refrigerators and Freezers

Refrigerators and freezers are also high on our list of appliances that use the most electricity in a home. These cooling appliances use 6.9% of residential electricity. They aren’t particularly power-hungry, but they need to run constantly, so their usage can add up.

To reduce these appliances’ footprint, you can:

  • Buy energy-efficient equipment.
  • Keep frequently used items like eggs and milk toward the front to avoid leaving the door open for long.
  • Regularly clean the back and underside of the fridge to ensure airflow.

4. Washers and Dryers

Clothes washing is another significant energy draw, especially if you do multiple loads throughout the week. Much of this power goes toward heating the dryer or the water used in the washer.

Here are some ways you can reduce energy usage for laundry.

  • Wash clothes at a lower water temperature: If you use the right detergent, many everyday laundry loads do well in cold water. Washing on cold can also keep colors from fading and fabric from shrinking.
  • Dry clothes on a rack: Consider spreading wet clothing across a drying rack instead of using a power-hungry dryer.
  • Clean lint after every load: A full lint trap can reduce your dryer’s efficiency, so always clean it before running a load.
  • Have your Dryer roof or wall vents cleaned annually

5. Lighting

Lighting

Lighting takes up another 4.4% of electricity usage. One of the most valuable changes you can make to save energy on lighting is switching to light-emitting diode technology. LED lights use about 75% less energy and last up to 25 times as long. You can find them in regular lightbulbs, decorative lights, holiday lights and others.

Other ways to save on lighting usage include:

  • Turn lights off when not using them.
  • Use natural light whenever possible.
  • Put outdoor lights on timers or motion sensors.
  • Install “Smart Switches” for interior lighting controls

6. Cooking Appliances

Electric ovens and stoves also contribute to your energy consumption. A significant concern with cooking appliances is using them during hot weather when they can increase the heat in your home and strain your air conditioner. Try to minimize these effects by using your oven or stove during cooler times of the day, such as in the morning or at night. You can also use smaller appliances when possible, like a toaster oven or slow cooker.

Place Air-Fryers or Deep Fryers close to your range exhaust fan to help pull the hot air out of your kitchen area.

7. Electronics

The last item on our list of what uses the most electricity at home is consumer electronics. TVs and computers alone make up almost 6% of residential usage. One reason these electronics use so much energy is that they draw a small amount of power even when they are not in use. Use these tips to save money and the environment.

  • Turn off items when not in use: Use power strips with on/off switches to make this easier for areas with many plugs, like a home entertainment center.
  • Install a smart outlet: Some modern outlets can cut the power supply to items that pull power beneath a certain threshold.
  • Turn off standby modes: Your devices might let you turn off standby mode, which allows things like printers and TVs to continually look for a signal to spring into action. Instead, you can turn them on manually when needed.
  • Use sleep timers: Many people fall asleep to the sound of a TV or fan. Try using a sleep timer to reduce usage once you’re asleep.
  • Install energy-efficient options: Some appliances pull more standby power than others. Newer, energy-efficient electronics can minimize additional power draw.

Talk to an Electricity Pro

Talk to an Electricity Pro

While we’ve discussed some simple tips for addressing what uses the most electricity in the home, a high electricity bill might call for a skilled technician’s help. At Strada Services, we can help you identify power-hungry appliances and find solutions, installing more efficient products if needed. In the Southeast, high electricity commonly involves your AC system, and our comprehensive service capabilities include cooling and heating, making us an all-in-one provider for homeowners.

With a 10-year labor warranty and experienced, highly trained technicians, our services offer confidence and peace of mind. Ready to reduce your electricity usage? Schedule an appointment today to talk with a pro, or contact us for more information!

Previous ArticleHow to Reduce Your Home's Electricity Bill Next ArticleHow Do Backup Generators Work?

Strada Services CEO, Joe Strada

Joe Strada, owner of Strada Electric, Security & Air Conditioning, started working at the young age of 14. He’s never attended college, but he has spent his life dedicating his time and energy to his trade and providing high-quality services to his customers. At 19, Joe started working at a well-known air conditioning company and developing his commitment to excellence. He has state certifications in electric, plumbing, air conditioning, residential building and general contracting. During his years of training and experience, Joe noticed a sincere need for a dependable electrical contractor in Florida who embodied the same dedication to customer service in which he believed. In 2003, Joe co-founded Strada Electric, Security & Air Conditioning. Since then, the company has been in the business of providing peace of mind to customers. We offer expert electric, security and air conditioning solutions for homes and businesses, leveraging our experience to deliver professional and responsive service with reliability and respect.