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January 06,2024

How to Tell What Appliances Are Using the Most Electricity

How do you know which appliances are using the most electricity? Which ones need to be replaced or unplugged? Maybe your plugs aren't all they're cracked up to be, and you're throwing money away in energy costs. Counting up the electricity costs can be time-consuming and often leads to disputes over who is using what. Mr. Electric has electricians who can perform any necessary repairs or upgrades.

Don't waste another cent on electrical bills. According to Mr. Electric, many people spend hundreds of dollars on energy costs due to energy wasted on appliances that seem to have short circuits and faulty wiring.

Do Appliances Use Electricity When Plugged in But Turned Off?

The simple answer: yes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "phantom power" is real, and it refers to electricity devices used when plugged in but not on or not performing their primary function.

Though these appliances aren't running, they're still draining energy. For example, a TV that's plugged in but turned off uses about 1 watt of power, and a DVD player that's turned off can use about 2 watts of power, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The NRDC estimates that appliances plugged in but turned off account for approximately 10 percent of our household energy bills which is the equivalent of one or two months' worth of electricity each year for an average family. The average home has about 40 products constantly draining power, at a total cost of $100 per year.

Top 10 Appliances That Use the Most Electricity

To figure out which appliances use the most electricity, you need to measure the energy they consume. That can be done with a plug-in power meter, and these devices cost as little as $20 and can tell you how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity an appliance uses.

You'll also need to know your utility's rate for electricity (usually in cents per kWh). Multiply that by the number of kWh used by an appliance, and you'll see how much it costs per day, week, month, or year. The appliances that consume the most electricity are usually the largest ones.

Here is a list of the top 10:

  • Water heater
  • Dryer
  • Furnace blower
  • Electric oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Lighting
  • Microwave oven
  • Computer/TV/games console
  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher

How to Measure Electricity Used by an Appliance

The first step to determining how much electricity an appliance uses is to measure its usage. Luckily, this is not as difficult as it sounds.

The simplest method is to use a device called a Kill-a-Watt meter. These meters are available at hardware stores for about $20. Once connected to an outlet, the meter can measure the amount of electricity used by whatever appliance is plugged into it.

The meter displays the following information:

  • Volts: The voltage of your outlet. It should be around 100-120 volts for standard outlets in North America (220V for some appliances).
  • Watts: The amount of power consumed by the appliance each second, and this number is displayed continuously and can be read directly from the screen.
  • Watt-hours: The total energy used over time, most commonly over days or weeks. This is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), a unit that equals 1,000 watts used continuously for an hour (or 1 watt used continuously for 1,000 hours). This number can be reset each week by pressing a button on the device.

Turn to the Pros at Mr. Electric for Your Electricity Needs

With summer coming around the corner, it's essential to know how to save on electricity bills. Did you know that turning off your outdoor lights and setting thermostats lower can save you up to 20% on cooling and heating bills?

If you want to keep saving on your electric bill, Mr. Electric offers tips on making changes in your home while also offering useful products and solutions. Mr. Electric has licensed electricians to help you diagnose why your rates are higher than normal and offer cost-saving tips on new technologies!

Click here to learn more about Mr. Electric's products and services today!