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Blog Nov 13, 2017

How Household Appliances Impact Your Electricity Bill

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The number of electric household appliances and gadgets are infinite. From electric woks to towel warmers, Americans now have endless options to help them eliminate daily hassles and get their chores done more quickly. While these extra machines are nice to have, there are a handful of common appliances that most households need to run smoothly  Take a look below to see how some of these common household appliances work and how they, on average, impact your energy bill.

Central Air Conditioner – $460 per year

Heating and cooling together make up the majority of all electricity used in homes, and central air conditioners are becoming standard in many homes and apartments. Air conditioning works by pulling heat out of the air. When you turn down the thermostat, the A/C unit pulls air into the ducts, runs it through a filter, cools it, and then delivers it back into the rooms of the house (see for more detail). The average central air conditioner operates at 3,500 watts per hour when in use. This can add up to $460 per year when you consider that during the four warmest months of the year, the A/C is typically used for up to nine hours per day. In places like Texas, the cost per year could be more since it stays warmer longer.

Although it seems expensive, cooling your house is cheaper than heating it, so in the long run Texans fare better than their fellow Americans in the middle parts of the country who spend most of electricity bills cooling their homes in the summer and heating their homes during the rest of the year. Texans can also check out some of our past blog posts for tips on how to save money on cooling costs (see here, here and here).

Electric Hot Water Heater – $781 per year

You are able to enjoy that hot shower after a long day at work thanks to your hot water heater. Electric water heaters pass an electric current through electrical-resistance heating elements. Typically, there is one element at the bottom of the tank, and one at the top, according to Popular Mechanics. The temperature of the water is controlled by a thermostat, much like the air conditioning and heating units in a home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hot water heaters use 18 percent of electricity costs, making it the second greatest electricity consuming appliance in the home. The average hot water heaters runs for three hours per day, and energy-efficient hot water heaters cost roughly $781 per year to operate, according to SF Gate. That breaks down to an average of $65 per month.

Although hot water heaters use up a lot of electricity, there are some ways to reduce the cost of operating your hot water heater. If your hot water heater is old, it may be time to upgrade to a new, more energy-efficient model. For tips on how to select one, check out some tips from our blog. One easy tips for energy savings include turning down the heat on your water heater, but you can find a handful of other here.

Refrigerator – $78.84 per year

Because refrigerators and freezers have to constantly be running in order to keep your food chilled, it can be hard to control the amount of energy they use or find ways to cut costs. Thankfully, because of improved efficiency, newer refrigerators are becoming cheaper to operate. The way a refrigerator and freezer operates is complex, but luckily as long as you keep your fridge temperature at the suggested 37 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit, your fridge should cost less than $7 per month to operate.

Washer & Dryer: $264 per month

Cleaning your clothes continues to get more convenient and efficient as the washer and dryer technology evolves. Washers use electricity to power a pump that pulls water into the machine in order to wash your clothes, and drains water out of the machine as the wash cycle ends. Electricity is also used to heat the water your clothes are washing in, and to spin the drum that agitates and washes your clothes (check out HowStuffWorks for more information on how your washer works). All of this adds up to about 36 cents of electricity used per load of laundry.

Dryers, on the other hand, use electricity to heat the air used to dry your clothes, as well as to spin the inner drum of the machine to aid in airflow. The average cost to dry one load of laundry is about 40 cents. This puts a full cycle of laundry at about 75 cents per load. If you wash and dry one load of laundry a day, it could cost you as much as $22 per month!

However, there are some easy ways to reduce the amount of money you spend on laundry each month. The first is to wash your clothes in cold water, which eliminates the electricity needed to heat the water. Second, you can line dry your clothes to save on dryer costs. You can also ensure your dryer is running efficiently by remembering to clean the lint tray. For a full list of energy-saving laundry tips, check out this blog post. Aside from reducing energy costs, there are additional ways to save money on laundry by switching detergents or changing water settings.

Want to get a better idea of how much energy your home’s appliances are using? Check out this cost calculator from the Department of Energy! Which of your appliances uses the most electricity? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

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