It’s pretty comforting to know that when you turn on your stove to cook a meal to satisfy a hungry stomach, or flick your bathroom’s light switch to “on” in the middle of the night, that your home’s appliances are at the ready to provide the electricity you need.
But, what may not be so comforting, is finding out how much energy some of these items are actually using.
Check out this list of the top energy guzzling appliances in your home, and tips that can help you reduce energy use and save on your monthly energy costs:
- Heating and cooling: It was a hot summer and Michiganders know how cold our winters can get. Heating and cooling makes up around 47% of a home’s energy use, but there are tweaks that will help your system run more efficiently. Making sure your HVAC system is totally clean, sealing air leaks around doors, fireplaces and windows, and using a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust your home’s temperature are a few ways you can reduce energy use and save money.
- Water heater: Nothing beats a hot shower after a good workout, but the fact that your water heater makes up 14% of a home’s energy use can cause that relief to turn to distress. Consider taking short showers instead of baths, lowering your water heater’s temperature to 120°F (for every 10oF reduction in temperature, you can save between 3%–5% on your water heating costs!) or use cold water for your laundry, when able.
- Lighting: If we’ve taught you nothing else, we definitely have driven home the importance of energy efficient lighting in your home. Lighting accounts for up to 12% of a home’s energy use, but simple actions like switching to LED lightbulbs will help you use 75% less energy and light up your house – and your savings.
- Washer and dryer: Your washer and dryer are charged with cleaning your clothes and linens, not cleaning out your wallet. If you’re in the market for a new washer or dryer, give an ENERGY STAR®-certified option a spin. The washing machines use 25% less energy, and almost 33% less water than standard models, while certified dryers use approximately 20% less energy.
- Refrigerator: Keeping its temperature 10°F lower than recommended will increase the amount of energy it uses by 25%. As a general rule of thumb – your refrigerator should stay between 36° and 38°F, and freezers should be set between 0° and 5°F.
- Electric oven: Your electric oven accounts for up to 4% of your home’s energy use. We don’t want to put a damper on your weekly baking project, so try using a convection oven (which can help lower your cook time and use 20% less energy each month), cook more than one dish at a time (and get to those double chocolate chip cookies even quicker!) or use your oven’s self-cleaning feature after you cook to conserve energy – ovens with this ability have an insulation system that allows less energy to be used while baking.
- TV/DVD/Cable box: We bet you didn’t think this would make the list! Your television and cable/DVD systems account for 3% of your home’s energy use. Turn off your TV and cable/DVD when you’re not watching, switch newer-model TVs to energy–saving mode to decrease energy use by a third or use a power strip to efficiently power down these electronic devices.
- Dishwasher: Your dishwasher accounts for 2% of your home’s energy use, but handwashing your lighter loads, or waiting to use it until you have a full load, can help you see the monthly saving.
- Computer: 1% energy use may not seem that high, but every penny you can save counts! Sleep mode is a great way to limit your computer’s energy use, or if you don’t plan to use it for a longer period of time, simply cut it off.