What Appliances in the Home Use the Most Electricity?

If looking at your monthly electric bill makes you feel ill, then odds are you'd like to figure out how to cut down on energy consumption to save yourself some money and improve the environment. The first step is to identify what appliances in your home are causing the bill to skyrocket. Some home appliances simply use more energy than others, and there are a few that are consistently at the top of the list.


The refrigerator is the biggest electricity consumer in your home.

The refrigerator is a necessity, but it is also the leading appliances when it comes to using electricity. According to the Power Scorecard website, refrigerators account for around 20 percent of household electricity usage. It's necessary to keep foods cold in many instances, but there are ways you can help your refrigerator be more energy efficient. Raise the temperature of your refrigerator to a setting that is just cool enough to keep your groceries out of the danger zone. Cold storage for food shouldn't rise above 40 degrees, so use a thermometer to adjust the temperature to around 37 degrees. Set your freezer, which may be set to zero or lower, up to around 3 degrees. This, along with checking the doors to make sure the gaskets are in good condition, will make a big difference.


Your kitchen and laundry appliances are responsible for about one-third of your home's total energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy website. But it's not all in the refrigerator. The clothes dryer is right near the top of the list as well. In fact, electric clothes dryers, which use electricity to heat and run a motor, use 5.8 percent of the total electricity used in households across the United States. That is a staggering number considering the large number of people who do not have a dryer. Running a dryer only when absolutely necessary and not drying partial loads helps with this statistic. Hanging some clothing out to dry is also another energy-saving alternative.

HVAC and Water Heater

Heating, ventilation and cooling account for 31 percent of electricity usage in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy website. Half of the total comes from air conditioning, while the rest is divided up between central and space heating, as well as hot water heaters. Hot water heaters alone account for 9 percent of energy usage in the United States, according to the DOE.


Another top energy consumer is the dishwasher. The good news on this energy hog is that the user can control the amount of energy used during washing. Only running the washer with a full load, turning off the heating option during the drying cycle or simply turning off the machine and allowing dishes to air dry are all potential money savers. The good news is that some dishwashers actually save energy and water when compared to hand washing, according to the Tree Hugger environmental website. So, even though they are among the biggest energy-consuming appliances, they are of less concern that the other kitchen and laundry appliances.

About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.