5 Appliances That Are Energy-Hungry

Thirty percent of U.S. electricity goes to power homes. Why the huge glut of energy consumption in the residential sector? Simple: Home appliances draw extreme amounts of energy. An appliance rated at 1,000 watts, left on for one hour, will use 1 kWh of electricity. Now think about all the appliances – large and small – you have in your home. A refrigerator manufactured in 1979 consumed between 120 and 300 kWh per month; in a post-2001 unit, that monthly range is down to 31 to 64 kWh. But still, refrigerators are a big draw on the energy supply. And they’re not alone. Small appliances like toasters, hairdryers, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, and curling irons all use more watts than refrigerators do.

1. Refrigerator/Freezer

Refrigerators are the top-consuming kitchen appliance in U.S. households, and separate freezers are next on the list. The approximate energy range is 30-200 kWh/month. That’s the thing about energy ratings for any particular appliance: The range is vast. Many people still have fridges from the 1980s (or even earlier), which means they’re still using in the thousands of kWh every year. Check your fridge for a power-saver switch. If you don’t notice condensation after you switch it off, you might not need the feature.

2. Dehumidifier

Humid basements may need dehumidifiers to stave off mold and mildew, but you can probably keep your machine at a relatively low setting. If you live in a dry region, you may not be very familiar with the dehumidifier. It’s an appliance that removes moisture from the air. In very humid, wet areas, like South Florida or the U.S. Northwest, this can be crucial for health reasons since too much water vapor in the air can cause mold to grow and make a cozy environment for dust mites. It can also cause damage to belongings placed in storage. Lots of people leave dehumidifiers running all the time. That’s why they’re such a huge power consumer

3. Water Heater

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water is responsible for 12 percent of U.S. home energy use. We use the water heater in so many applications: showers, cleaning dishes, cleaning clothes – it’s a pretty ubiquitous part of our daily routine. And at an average consumption of 400 kWh per month, it’s also a power-intensive one. Of course, the actual amount of energy you spend on hot water depends on a lot of factors, including the type (standard, solar, tankless) and size of your water heater, what temperature it’s set at, how long you shower for, and whether you wash your clothes in cold or hot water.

4. Cooling System

In 1980, 27 percent of homes in the United States had central air conditioning; in 2001, that number jumped to 55 percent. Air conditioning, which typically uses high-watt machines for extended periods of time, accounts for a big chunk of residential energy use. As usual, the actual number of watts consumed in cooling a home varies greatly depending on the type of unit, the capacity, the time it’s operating, and the efficiency rating.

5. Heating System

A home heating system is one of the hungriest home appliances. It’s also arguably the most necessary one. The kWh range for heating devices is extremely broad, running from a measly 100 kWh per month to a shocking 3,500 kWh/month (if you live in a cold region, you’ve probably been shocked by your heating bill more than once).