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Appliances 101: What Uses the Most Electricity in a Home?

Posted on by Everything Energy 5 minutes, 47 seconds

Most of us rely on electricity throughout our homes. Heavily. It’s responsible for keeping our spaces at a comfortable temperature, our food chilled, our rooms lit, our clothes washed, and our gadgets powered. But have you ever wondered about your appliances, what uses the most electricity in a home?

Knowing more about what home appliances use the most electricity is essential for making energy-saving decisions — which can help lower your overall energy costs. So, let’s take a closer look at the power consumption of household appliances.

Keep in mind that while we will present figures that represent total U.S. average power consumption of certain appliances, every home’s appliances and usage habits differ. To measure your own appliances’ power consumption, you can use a watt meter.

Additionally, your location plays a large role in what uses the most energy in your home. To calculate your region’s energy usage breakdown, consult the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS).

1. Space heating power consumption

According to the latest RECS data, space heating represents about 42% of total residential energy consumption.

This may seem high for southern states like Texas or Florida that don’t use much heating during the year. However, people who live in colder climates often rely on home heating 24/7 for several months of the year.

Tips to save money

Heat can be wasted through improper construction or inefficient equipment. To save energy and money, you can:

2. Water heating power consumption

Coming in as the second-highest energy consumer in U.S. households is water heating. According to RECS, water heating accounts for about 18% of total household electricity usage.

This may be surprising because we don’t often think of our water as electricity-consuming. But if your water heater is electric, every hot shower or bath, every load of dishes and every load of laundry washed in “warm” or “hot” water requires electricity to heat that water.

Tips to save money

3. AC power consumption

The third-highest energy user in U.S. homes is air conditioning. The most recent RECS data puts total residential air conditioning (AC) energy consumption at 9%.

If you live in the South, your AC consumption probably makes up a much higher percentage of your total energy usage. And as global temperatures continue to rise, air conditioning usage will continue to increase.

Tips to save money

In addition to following the aforementioned tips for heater savings — i.e., insulate your home well, maintain your equipment and adjust your thermostat when you’re away — you can also:

4. Refrigerator power consumption

Refrigerators account for about 4% of all residential energy consumption in the U.S., according to RECS data. If you’re a household with a second fridge or with a separate freezer, your usage is probably higher.

Because they’re always on, an inefficient refrigerator has the potential to run up your electric bill. However, they have come a long way when it comes to efficiency. A typical new fridge uses 75% less energy than its 1973 counterpart (while offering around 20% more storage capacity). And in 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy proposed new standards for refrigerators that would save U.S. consumers approximately $3.5 billion per year in energy costs.

Tips to save money

Make sure your refrigerator is a lean, mean, cooling machine by following these tips:

5. Other sources of power consumption

When it comes to what home appliances use the most electricity, here are some others to be mindful of that contribute to U.S. home electricity usage. These include, but are not limited to:

Alone, they may not use as much energy as the first 4 appliances we discussed. But the combined impact of these other appliances on your usage and electric bill can be significant.

Tips to save money

Though there are specific strategies to save with each of these appliances, you can follow these general tips as well:


It’s important to know what appliances use the most energy in your home and how to save money while operating them.

Now that you know this information, you can start searching for the best electricity rates and plans for your unique lifestyle. Everything Energy has the tools you need to make apples-to-apples comparisons, estimate monthly energy bills, narrow down your options and find a plan that’s a perfect fit. To get started, enter your ZIP code here.

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