Six Appliances that Use the Most Energy

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Published: 23rd May 2013
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Households use a lot of energy, and appliances count for the largest portion of energy use. Total consumption is the sum of energy used to heat and cool, light your home, and run your appliances and devices. Some devices use much more energy than others. Here are the biggest energy hogs in most homes.

Heat pumps or central air: Heating and cooling your home is the single most expensive use of energy. Replacing an inefficient heat pump or air conditioner can give consumers substantial savings on their electric bills.

Water Heater

Most people know how costly this appliance can be, but it's easy to cut down on using the water heater. First, avoid turning on the hot water unless necessary. If you have a one-handled faucet, for example, lifting it in the middle will mix hot and cold water. Hot water will leave the tank, cold water will fill it, and the appliance will use energy to heat that water up. You can also save money by turning off the hot water after you and your family have showered and bathed for the day. Just remember to turn it on again the next morning to avoid freezing showers.

Clothes Dryer

The dryer is a common culprit when it comes to using energy. To save money on drying costs, only dry clothes when you have a full load. Put clothes away immediately to avoid using the dryer again to fluff up or get wrinkles out of clothes that have been in it too long.


Refrigerators are always on but use the most energy during cycles when the compressor runs to maintain cool temperatures. Empty or nearly empty refrigerators waste energy because the machine must work harder to cool off all that empty space. By having items in the refrigerator, the appliance can stay cool inside longer.


The Department of Energy recommends that you turn off your computer monitor if you're not going to use your computer for 20 minutes or more. If you plan to be away from your computer for two hours or more, turn off the entire computer. Plug your computer and printers into surge protectors so the power strip can be turned off when the devices are not in use. This prevents them from drawing power. Those who don't want to power down their devices can simply put them in sleep mode. Energy Star estimates that monitors use 2 watts or less while in sleep mode.

Oven and Electric Range

The oven, usually combined with a stove top in most households, uses a lot of energy when turned on. Its use is less frequent, though, than appliances like refrigerators, water heaters, and dishwashers. To save money when using the oven, avoid preheating it. Your food may take a little longer to bake, but that added time should be less than the time it takes for the oven to preheat.

Other high-energy appliances include microwave ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, and hair dryers. Any device that heats or cools something uses more energy than those appliances that don't. To save money, replace older appliances with new, efficient models. Unless it's required, such as for a refrigerator, don't leave appliances plugged in when not in use.


Laura Ginn always researches how cost effective and energy efficient any new appliance that she wants to buy is before she makes her purchase. She also makes sure that she uses the uSwitch energy comparison website as energy comparison ensures that she always gets the best price from her chosen energy provider

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