What Household Appliances Use the Most Electricity?

Looking to reduce your electric bill? Curious to know who in your household is to blame for an absurd electricity expense? While it’s easy to point fingers at the husband who leaves the lights on or the kid who hogs the shower all morning, some household appliances actually deserve the guilty verdict. Here are the top five most common electricity users in the average American home:

appliance energy costs

Electric Furnace

Electric heating is arguably the most expensive method to heat a home, especially for populations in the Northern United States, where homeowners rely on heat for 6-8 months each year. Heating costs can quickly add up, accounting for upwards of 50% of the monthly electric bill. Even a more modern furnace running just two hours each day requires 36 kWh per day, costing homeowners over $100 per month. When used efficiently (and safely) in smaller rooms, space heaters can lead to savings; but even then, running a small heater for several hours each day can quickly add $30 each month to your electric bill.

Tip: Turn down thermostats at night (and invest in some wool socks).

Central Air Conditioner

While folks up north sleep in fleece pajamas under trendy weighted blankets, southerners have their own electricity monster to fight — the air conditioner. During the hotter months, many homeowners rely on central air conditioners for up to eight hours each day; while the exact cost depends on the unit, it can add up to 29 kWh per day and $85 each month.

Tip: Make sure to change the air filter to maximize cooling efficiency.

Water Heater

For those who enjoy a long shower — maybe with a podcast playing from the waterproof speaker and a cold beer on the shower caddy — the water heater can quickly turn from best friend to worst enemy. For homes with older water heaters, expect the unit to run about three hours each day; this equates to roughly 13 kWh per month (and $36 on the electric bill).

Tip: Try turning down the thermostat on the actual water tank; many appliances are preset to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people won’t notice a difference if the temperate is set to 120 degrees instead.


Even the most efficient, modern, spaceship-like refrigerator needs to run 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. As such, keeping the fridge functioning adds up quickly on the power bill. On average, a refrigerator uses 4kWh per day, costing roughly $13 per month.

Tip: Try to keep the door closed. Consider what to grab before perusing the fridge (talking to the late-night snackers).


Dryers require a large amount of electricity to do their job, but luckily, they aren’t running all day long. The average American family does laundry about once a week. Newer dryer models require less time and electricity: a one-hour session needs 3kWh, which, if run every day, could easily cost over $100. At just one cycle per week, the dryer adds about $18 to the annual electric bill (or $1.50 each month).

Tip: Schedule laundry day when the weather is sunny; let bulky items like towels dry naturally outside instead of throwing them in the dryer.


This list is merely a snapshot of the electricity consumed every day. Electric ovens (21.3 kWh), blenders (.8 kWh), coffee makers (4.7 kWh), ceiling fans (12 kWh), microwaves (16.5 kWh), waffle irons (4.8 kWh), hairdryers (10 kWh) — these appliances are small by themselves, but when grouped together, quickly add up. The best savings tip is knowledge; take time to understand the monthly electric bill and local energy rates. Making small adjustments every day can lead to accumulated savings over time.

Photo credit PhotoMIX Company

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