Mark Roemer Oakland image of a lot of plugs plugged into a single power strip.

Household Appliances That Consume Way Too Much Electricity

I, Mark Roemer Oakland, know that modern life is impossible for the urban population without basic home appliances. Those appliances keep your home cool or warm, cook your food, clean your home, wash your clothes and do a lot more. However, some consume more power than others. Let’s check out household appliances that consume way too much electricity.

The Appliances

1. Cooling and heating – Most homes spend a giant chunk of the power they use on cooling and heating. Around half of your energy bill is spent on keeping your home cool during the summers and warm during the winters. This figure spikes during intensely hot or cold days. With climate change and unpredictable weather events, this figure rises even more as your HVAC system has to work a lot harder. Fortunately, you can lower your home’s energy consumption on heating and cooling drastically by making small and deliberate changes. During cold winter days, open the blinds and allow natural sunlight to help raise the internal temperature of your home.

If you have trees around your home, prune them so that they allow maximum sunlight to pass through without endangering the health of the tree. You can also bundle up in layers to keep the cold at bay. If you don’t have trees planted around your property, consider doing it since the shade they provide can drastically reduce your home’s temperature during summer. Close the blinds and let fans keep you cool. When you’re not home, adjust the thermostat temperature to be around 8 degrees lower or higher than the outside temperature. This way, your HVAC system doesn’t need to work as hard, and you get to lower your energy consumption.

2. Water heater – After heating and cooling the air in your home, you spend the most money on electricity to heat water for dishes, showers, baths, and laundry. The average home spends around 20 percent of its energy on heating water. American homes primarily use two types of water heaters – modern tankless systems or traditional storage tanks that heat and store water. Either way, you can make small changes to save energy consumption on both. 

Most water heaters have a default temperature of around 140 degrees. However, according to the Department of Energy, 120 degrees should be sufficient for most people’s needs, and reducing the temperature to that figure can save you as much as $400 each year. That’s a brand-new iPad or an entire month’s home maintenance cost. You should also turn down the water heater even lower, just enough to keep it from freezing when you’re on vacation or out for an extended period.

3. Laundry – The next big chunk of energy is spent on laundry. Depending on the size of your family, you’ll use the washer and dryer on a weekly or daily basis. That eats up around 10 percent of your annual energy use. You can lower this with a few deliberate steps. While using the washer, use the cold-water function to reduce the workload on the water heater. However, the dryer consumes way more energy than your washer, and curbing dryer use can deliver significant energy savings.

Try to line dry on sunny days and when you’re not in a hurry. This doesn’t just help to reduce energy use but also keeps your clothes in better condition. It’s also important not to overload the washer or dryer. You may think that it saves you money and time, but instead, your clothes would come out damp and the appliances would use more energy. Make sure to clean the lint trap on the dryer and keep the vents clean for optimum flow of hot air and efficient use of energy.

4. Refrigerator – Modern life is impossible without the refrigerator and that’s an appliance that runs throughout the day without a break. Refrigerators consume around 5 percent of your annual energy use. Moreover, most families buy in bulk and have an extra fridge or freezer for food storage, further increasing their energy use. The best way to reduce the energy consumption of refrigerators is to replace very old models with new ones.

For instance, if you have a refrigerator that is over 15 years old, replacing it with a modern and much more efficient model can provide you with more space, and functions, and help cut down refrigerator power consumption by 30 percent. Adopting the best practices for refrigerator use also saves power. Instead of stuffing your fridge with things, place them strategically for optimum airflow and set the temperature between 35 to 38 degrees. For freezers, the ideal temperature should be 0 degrees.

5. Lighting – While each individual light doesn’t consume a lot of power, all the lights in your home combined may consume as much power as your refrigerator. However, that’s because most people still use standard incandescent bulbs in their homes. While those bulbs are less expensive upfront, they don’t last as long as other options and consume way more power. You can reduce the energy consumption of lights by replacing all of them with CFL or LED bulbs.

 While they cost more upfront, they consume a fraction of the power consumed by incandescent bulbs. For instance, while incandescent bulbs consume 200 watts to produce 3000 lumens of brightness, LED bulbs can achieve the same while consuming just over 30 watts. Since LED bulbs are 7 times more power efficient than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves over time with energy savings. Moreover, while incandescent bulbs are rated for a lifespan of around 1200 hours, typical LED bulbs are rated for 50,000 to 100,000 hours of use. In the long term, LEDs are cheaper than incandescent bulbs.  


I, Mark Roemer Oakland, suggest that you monitor your energy bill and figure out how you can lower it to save money and the environment. To make your home more sustainable and eco-friendlier, you can install on-grid solar panels, plant more trees around your home, and take other such steps.