High Electricity Bills? These Appliances Cost the Most Money to Run

When you get your electricity bill, you may wonder why it’s so high. Sometimes it has to do with the amount you pay for electricity, especially if you’re on a variable-price plan and the price increases. Sometimes, though, it has to do with the appliances you use and how much you use them. After all, if you use more kilowatt-hours of electricity from one month to the next, you’re going to pay more, maybe even in cases where your electricity price falls.

To get an idea of how much energy electrical appliances use, and how much they can cost you, here’s a peek at some common electricity-consuming appliances and the amount of energy they use every hour:

ApplianceTypical Consumption
Per Hour
Cost Per Hour
(at 10 cents per
kilowatt-hour)

Central air conditioner/heat pump

15,000 watts

$1.50

Clothes dryer/water heater

4,000 watts

40 cents

Water pump

3,000 watts

30 cents

Space heater

1,500 watts

15 cents

Hair dryer

1,200 watts

12 cents

Electric range burner

1,000 watts

10 cents

Refrigerator

1,000 watts

10 cents

Desktop computer and monitor

400 watts

4 cents

Incandescent light bulb

60 watts

0.6 cents

A Few Notes on Appliance Costs

Air Heating and Cooling

If your house has electric heat, you’ll see a big spike on your electricity bill in the middle of winter when you use a lot of power. If you have a heat pump and use it a lot, you may run it somewhere between 10 and 15 hours a day. If your electricity costs 10 cents an hour, that could cost you $15 to $22 a day. The same applies to homes with central air conditioning in the middle of summer.

To save money, install a programmable thermostat and set it back at least 10 degrees for eight hours a day. Doing so can save you 10 percent on your energy costs every year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Water Heating and Clothes Drying

Heating water for showers and clothes washing is especially pricey, especially if you consider that your electric water heater might have to run for an hour after each shower or load of laundry just to reheat the water in its tank. That’s 40 cents right there. And every load of laundry you wash and dry can cost between $1 and $2 each.

To save money, shorten your showers and wash your clothes with cold water. You can also set your water heater to at most 120 degrees. Every 10 degree reduction in water heater temperature can save between 3–5 percent in monthly energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Refrigeration

Refrigerators are big-time energy hogs because they use electricity all the time, in many cases for 10 hours or more every day. That comes to about $1 a day, which you can double if you have a second refrigerator.

To save money, make sure your refrigerator is set on the optimal temperature and reconsider that extra fridge in the garage.

Light Bulbs

Individual incandescent light bulbs don’t use that much electricity, comparatively speaking, but costs can add up quick. Many light fixtures use more than one bulb and it’s easy to leave lights on throughout your house when you’re not using them. Ten light bulbs use 6 cents an hour. If you use those bulbs for 6 hours a day, it’ll cost you 36 cents a day or about $10 a month. That may not sound like a lot, but $120 a year for lights that you may not be using all the time does.

To save money, upgrade to energy-efficient CFLs or LEDs when your incandescent bulbs expire. And don’t forget to turn off the lights when you’re not using them.

Sources

TLC, “Why Are My Power Bills So High? Which Appliances Use the Most Power?

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Lower Water Heating Temperature for Energy Savings.”

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Thermostats and Control Systems.”

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