We’d all like to lower our electricity bills, both to save money and to save the environmental cost associated with electricity generation. But where to start? Besides system-wide energy users, like heating and cooling appliances and lights, there are some household appliances that use more energy than others. Here are five key appliances that use the most energy.
1. Water heater
Hot water is used every day, from showers to cleaning clothes or dishes. Heating water is a big source of energy consumption for households. To minimize power use in this area, try the following:
- Check the temperature: Chances are your household doesn’t use scalding hot water. Turning down the water heater thermostat is an easy way to save electricity.
- Insulate: Insulating your water heater will mean less heat is lost and therefore less electricity is used to compensate for that loss.
- Shower mindfully: Installing low-flow shower heads or simply shortening your shower time will reduce your hot water use.
2. Washer and dryer
Washers are double energy users because they require hot water and they use electricity to complete their various spin cycles. Remember, you don’t need to use the highest temperature setting or the longest wash cycle. For dryers, take your clothes out of the dryer promptly (so you aren’t tempted to run the dryer again) and try drying your clothes outside when the weather is nice.
If we never opened our refrigerators, we’d save a lot of electricity. This is because fluctuations in temperature will necessarily increase electricity use as the refrigerator tries to compensate for the imbalance. Here are some things to check to ensure your refrigerator is maintaining a constant temperature.
- Check the seals: If the closed fridge door can’t hold onto a sheet of paper, consider replacing the seals.
- Check the thermostat: The coldest setting is usually too cold. Upping the temperature, even a little, will lower your electricity use.
- Use good fridge habits: Whether you are unpacking groceries or making dinner, keep the door closed as much as possible.
4. Electric hob
Electric hobs use a lot of energy. When cooking, make sure you are using an appropriate temperature and that your pot or pan matches the size of the hob. Heat is wasted from using a hob that is bigger than the pot or pan.
Microwaves win a mention on this list because they use electricity even when they are off. Microwaves often display the time or have other lights that are constantly on. A quick and easy fix for cutting microwave electricity use is to turn this appliance off at the switch. You may also find that turning off at the switch will make you more mindful of how often you use your microwave.
And remember, if you are in the market for a new appliance, another way of saving electricity is to make sure you are buying appliances with good energy ratings.