Anyone who owns a house cat understands good energy-saving practice — power down when not in use — conserve energy until called to action. Americans in 2020 spent more time at home, mostly with a laptop plugged in and television streaming Netflix. Consequently, energy companies have witnessed an increase in residential power use.
Although expected, what can be done? Energy-savvy homeowners recognize that heat and cooling systems represent the biggest burdens on their utility bills, but what comes in second? Or third? Knowledge reflects power after all, and knowing the predominant users of home energy consumption can lead to energy savings.
Turning Up the Heat
Residential HVAC systems take the number one spot. Temperature control requires the most electricity use compared to anything else in the home. Nearly 50% of energy consumption can be attributed to heating and cooling. Anyone who has lived in Houston, Texas, during the summer can understand how crucial air conditioning can be, and Americans up North rely on heating to survive the blustery winter. While today’s heating and cooling systems work more efficiently than ever before, these complicated systems require significant electricity consumption. Consumers can take proactive steps to improve HVAC effectiveness, including changing air filters, keeping doors and windows closed, and practicing good thermostat use.
Water Heater Woes
Rinse and repeat might not be the best instruction any longer. The average American spends about eight minutes in the shower — though plenty linger beyond twenty minutes. Tack on the dishwasher and the washing machine, and Americans can attribute almost 15% of their home energy consumption on the water heater. Don’t turn to cold showers just yet though. Customers can use some tricks to curb hot water use. More efficient showerheads, shorter showers, and fewer loads of laundry can all reduce the electricity required by home water heaters. For example, a homeowner can turn down the thermostat on the hot water tank — most preset at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but a setting of 120 degrees is hot enough for appliances and people. While down in the basement, consider adding insulation to exposed water pipes and even the hot water heater itself.
Laundry Day represents more than a tragedy for outfit choices; washing machines and dryers place a close third in the race for at-home energy users, claiming 13% of the utility bill. And while old-fashioned washboards and laundry lines evoke a certain nostalgia, it’s an unrealistic practice for most busy Americans. Investing in more energy-efficient models can help, but new washers and dryers incur a substantial cost. Smart laundry practices include only running laundry with a full load and always cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer.
While obvious, home lighting places in the top five for electricity consumption — about 12%, though this can vary dramatically based on the type of bulb installed. LED bulbs use 75% less electricity than traditional incandescent light sources. Remember to turn off lights when not in use, or install a power cord and unplug multiple electronics with one switch.
The top five list can be rounded out with common kitchen appliances, specifically electric ovens and refrigerators. Separately, each of these consumes about 4% of the total home electricity usage. They comprise a part of everyday life — no matter the season — so thankfully, they do not create too dramatic of an energy impact. Try not to linger over options with the refrigerator door open, especially in the summer.
Reducing Electricity Bills
Regardless of how much energy you use, you can reduce your electricity bill by ensuring you get your power from the cheapest electric companies available. If you live in Texas, its a simple as comparing electricity rates from all the major providers right here and choosing the plan that works best for you.