If you are looking to save money and energy around your home, you need to know what consumes the most energy first. Turning off lights, for example, is touted as a best practice around homes – but do you know how much electricity your lights use compared to the rest of your home, and how much of a difference this will make? To help your energy-saving practices make the most impact, here’s a list of the things around your home that consume the most energy.
HVAC Systems: The average American family consumes a huge amount of energy to power heating, venting, and air conditioning systems (HVACs). This is particularly true if you use electrical burners or heating elements for heat, because these waste a tremendous amount of electricity compared to efficient gas burners or heat pumps. Switching to a new HVAC unit or different type of fuel can make a big difference here, especially for older systems. However, up-front HVAC costs are also some of the highest when it comes to appliances.
Water Heaters: Because many water heaters use the aforementioned electric heating elements, they tend to be enormous energy hogs, especially larger versions that aren’t used very often (a water heater typically keeps water hot for long periods of time no matter what). Often it’s a race between water heaters and HVAC system to see which can use the most energy. One of the most effective ways to cut back on water heater electricity is to switch to a “tankless” version that heats water up only when it is needed.
Refrigeration: Refrigeration is, after, all, closely related to HVAC systems – so it’s no surprise that refrigerators take a lot of power to keep those temperatures low. Combine refrigerators with freezers, and you get one of the most greedy appliances in the house. Common sense rules go a long way here: Keep the door closed whenever possible, and set temperatures for as high as they can safely go.
Lighting: Lighting’s electricity requirements vary greatly based on how many lights you use, what kind of bulbs you use, and your lighting habits – but after the big heating/cooling list, lighting does tend to be one of the worst energy hogs around (with the exception of notorious pool pumps, a much rarer appliance). Switching to LED bulbs and using natural lighting can help a lot here.
Entertainment Devices: Finally we reach entertainment devices, which are actually becoming more a dangerous since more electronics are now “always on” to await commands, process information, or gather data from smart devices. This creates a low but continuous electricity drain that can cost you money, especially if you don’t shut things off.
Other Major Appliances: Here we have things like dryers, dishwashers, and many other types of large appliances around your home. This is a trickier area, because these appliances are harder to replace or upgrade. Use them as efficiently as you can to decrease time between loads.