Do rising energy bills have you ready to pull your hair out? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered- because we’re about to let you in on a little secret about how energy consumption habits can seriously impact your monthly electricity bills. Learning about your energy consumption habits is an important first step in taking control of your home energy. And taking control of your home’s energy means savings on those annoying rising electricity bills in the future. So you can keep your money- and all your hair. You’re welcome.
Here’s what we’ll talk about in this blog:
- Why home energy consumption habits matter.
- What are kilowatt hours and the difference between kilowatts and kilowatt hours.
- A list of the energy consumption of typical home appliances and devices.
- How your home energy consumption breaks down by category.
- How to calculate home energy consumption the easy way: with our energy consumption calculator!
- How to calculate home energy consumption the hard way: with math.
Let’s talk about: typical home energy consumption and why it matters
Let’s kick it off by understanding how much electricity your home typically consumes.
On average, the monthly power consumption for a household in the United States is 893 kilowatt hours, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Though every homeowner’s energy usage varies, factors include: the number of people who live in the home, the size of your home, the number of appliances, including the type and how often you use them.
A larger home means the more energy it takes to run it. For example, the more your HVAC runs, the more lights are needed throughout the house, etc. And the bigger the family, the more energy used by everyone to fulfill their needs. Depending on your family’s energy dependency, you likely have more than one computer, phone, television, and the list goes on. This means more to learn about how your family is using energy. Once you understand what your household energy consumption habits are, you can start to gain control of reducing your monthly consumption. Reducing your energy consumption means reducing your carbon footprint as well.
Let’s start with the basics.
What exactly are kilowatt hours?
One thing that’s tricky for a lot of people to master is the difference between kilowatts and kilowatt hours. Why is this important? Because on your electricity bill, you may see the amount of energy you’ve consumed for the month listed as kilowatt hours.
Both kilowatt (kW) and kilowatt hours (kWh) are units of measurement, and they are related to each other, but they both serve a very different purpose. Simply stated, a kilowatt measures power, while a kilowatt hour measures energy. That may seem like the same thing until you understand this: power is the rate at which something uses energy, while energy is capacity to do work. On your monthly electricity bill from your utility company, kilowatt hours is used to show you just how much energy a device needs in order to run for an hour.
Still confused? Here’s a simple way to remember.
A kilowatt is 1,000 watts, hence kilo (thousand) watts. If the appliance you’re using is 1,000 watts (see list of typical appliances below), then you’ll be able to run it for an hour and use 1 kWh of power. If it takes you an hour to blow dry your hair, your energy consumption for just that hour and appliance is 1 kWh. Now, did you also use lights to see yourself in the mirror? And was your television still on? Then your kWh consumption is more than 1 kWh.
Here’s a great video explaining the difference.
Which brings us to our next thought: how much energy do average home appliances use?
Typical home appliances energy consumption table
If you’re curious to see how much energy your appliances and devices use, you’re not alone. Here’s a handy guide for all the typical ones here.
Let’s take a look at a breakdown of the amount of energy the appliances in your home use.
|Power Consumption Range (Watts)
|Air Conditioner (AC)
|Central Air Conditioner
|CFL Light Bulb
|LED Light Bulb
|Wi-Fi Network Router
|Light bulb (Incandescent)
|32 Inch LED TV
|46 Inch LED TV
|Cordless Drill Charger
|Espresso Coffee Machine
|Hair Blow Dryer
|Home Internet Router
|Home Sound System
|LED Light Bulb
|Tablet & Charger
For an even more detailed chart of typical household appliances and devices and their wattage, check out this list.
Household energy consumption by category
Here’s some data about household energy consumption broken down by category from the EIA.
#1 Electricity Use: Space Cooling (17%)
The largest percentage of household electrical use can be attributed to space cooling. Just in 2020, residential cooling in the United States amounted to 236 BILLION kilowatt hours of energy.
#2 Electricity Use: Space Heating (15%)
At 14% of a household’s energy consumption, space heating is the second largest use of energy. Especially in the winter months, and in areas that get hit the hardest with cold and winter storms.
#3 Electricity Use: Water Heating (14%)
Water heating accounts for America’s 3rd largest source of electricity consumption. This is a large component of your monthly energy bill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, every person in America uses around 82 gallons of water a day at home!
#4 Electricity Use: Lighting (10%)
Lighting our homes accounts for 4.1% of an average household’s energy consumption. The traditional incandescent bulbs burn more energy than you think, and unfortunately, don’t last as long these days. They are quite inefficient and waste a good amount of energy by giving off so much heat.
#5 Electricity Use: Refrigerators and Freezers (7%)
A big daily life convenience is the use of refrigerators and freezers. But they make up 7.1% of our household energy consumption. This one is hard to cut back on. However, while we can’t just turn them off to save energy, we can be wise about choosing energy-efficient appliances.
#6 Electricity Use: Televisions and Related Equipment (7%)
Though TV technology has improved, these still suck up a lot of our time and energy – literally. Americans spend more than 3 hours a day watching TV and a lot more with it running in the background. That can add up.
#7 Electricity Use: Clothes Dryers (5%)
You might not have thought that drying your clothes could account for that much energy consumption, but clothes dryers round out our list at 5% of household energy consumption. Opt for EnergyStar the next time you have to purchase a new washer and dryer. You can also find more ways to save on your appliances and devices in our blog on energy savings tips.
Home energy consumption calculator: How to do it the easy way
This is all illuminating (especially if you’re using LED lighting) but what about how this calculates for your home specifically? Here’s a super easy way to estimate how much energy your home is consuming. Just add all your info into these calculators created by Omni Calculators and check it out for yourself. Keep in mind, however, this is just an estimate and be sure to read your electricity bill for more detailed information on your home’s energy usage. If you’re interested in learning about how to read your electricity bill, read our blog about that.
First try out calculating how much one of your appliances or devices costs you each month with this calculator:
Then try out adding all your home’s appliances and devices to find out an estimate of how much your monthly consumption is:
Once you understand how much energy each appliance or device is pulling each month, you’ll be able to learn better habits of unplugging or using those particular items less.
We know you can’t always save energy by turning off appliances (like the refrigerator), so read our blogs on tips for saving electricity in your home. You’ll be able to figure out a plan of saving as much money as you can for your home. Like using Smart Technology outlets and fixing leaks to maximize your cooling and heating units.
How to calculate home energy consumption (the hard way)
If you’re interested in knowing how to calculate your home’s energy consumption yourself, here’s a great way to do that. (Beware: It’s a lot of math)
Step 1: Find the wattage your device uses.
Step 2: Calculate the wattage your device uses per day
Step 3: Convert watts to kilowatts.
Step 4: Calculate the kilowatts your device uses per month.
Step 5: Find the cost by multiplying the kilowatts per month by your electric rate.
Step 1: What is the wattage?
To start you’ll need the device’s wattage and an estimated number of hours you use it per day.
But how do you find the wattage? Most of the wattages will be listed on a label somewhere on your device or appliance. Otherwise, you can use an energy usage monitor.
Here are some tips on energy usage monitors from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Step 2: What is the wattage used per day?
The formula for wattage used per day is:
Device wattage (DW) X Hours Used per Day (H) = Watt-Hours (Wh) Per Day
For example, a 100-watt laptop used for 5 hours a day = 500 Wh
Step 3: How many watts in a kilowatt?
Convert watts into kilowatts. There are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt, so just divide the Wh number by 1,000.
For example, 500 Wh / 1000 = .5 kWh
Step 4: How many kilowatt hours does your device use a month?
Now that we know the kWh your device uses each day, just multiply it by 30 to get the amount it uses each month.
.5 kWh x 30 = 15 kWh/ Month
This means a 100 watt laptop used for 5 hours a day will consume around 15 kWh of energy each month.
The smart move: Offset your energy consumption with solar
If you still have questions, now would be a great time to speak with an ADT Solar Energy Specialist about the benefits of solar energy for your home. Not only will they be able to help you understand your home energy consumption habits and how they contribute to your monthly electric bill, but they’ll also offer you some pretty interesting facts about how solar could save you money on your electric bills.