It’s difficult to imagine how our ancestors lived without electricity.  Modern-day problems are much different from the stone age, and we definitely depend on the energy we use in our homes!  Of course, now we have to worry about just how much energy we are consuming.  There are several appliances that raise your electric bill, however there are also some great solutions.  For the smaller electronics in your home, it’s easy to grab some energy-efficient products to help reduce your energy bills.  For those larger appliances and systems, let’s identify some great options to better manage their operating costs.

Central Air Conditioner

Here in Texas, we LOVE our air conditioners.  They might not love us quite as much, though.  Did you know that 6% of the average U.S. household’s energy use goes towards space cooling? This amounts to $11 billion every year for homeowners!

The solution: According to Energy.gov, the quickest way to save energy on cooling your home is to regularly clean and replace your cooling unit’s filters.  Make sure it’s cleared of debris and gets an annual inspection.  You’ll also want to run it less, when possible.  If your unit is old, consider switching to a new high-efficiency unit. The newer units can reduce your air conditioning use by 20 to 50 percent.  Learn how to best deal with Texas temperature swings, and lower your electricity bill during the summer, to help reduce this cost even more.

Refrigerator & Freezer

Is your refrigerator running?
You’d better go catch it!  😉

When it comes to appliances that never get a break – the refrigerator is at the top of that short list.  It’s constantly running, which means it’s always sucking energy.  This is true for deep freezers, too.  Those freezers you have stocked with frozen meat and Popsicles in your garage are really handy.  They are also racking up the numbers on your energy bill even more than a refrigerator because they require more wattage.  When it comes to appliances that raise your electric bill, the refrigerator is one of the biggest culprits.

The solution:  Stock that fridge and freezer!  The more you put in the unit, the less it has to work to keep the items cool or frozen.  You may also consider switching to an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator.  They use far less energy and can save you over $270 over the next 5 years, according to EnergyStar.gov.  Additionally, if you have an extra refrigerator in your garage or basement that is over 10 years old, it’s costing you around $110 per year!

Electric Water Heater

This is one appliance many of us take for granted.  We have clean dishes, laundry, and bodies, because of our water heaters!  An average 40-gallon water heater uses around 4,000 watts of electricity per hour.  However, there is good news!  Unlike your fridge and A/C unit during the summer, your water heater isn’t constantly running.  It only runs when it’s actually heating water. When it comes to appliances that raise your electric bill, the water heater is something you can definitely control.

The solution: The lower the temperature of that water you’re heating, the less energy the water heater will consume.  Turn the temperature down to save a little.  Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.  And only use hot water to wash clothes when it’s totally necessary.

Space Heaters

Space heaters are a great way to warm up a specific area or room in your home, but they are big-time energy suckers.  In fact, per hour, they can drain up to 50% more money from your wallet than your refrigerator, according to Energy.gov!  Appliances don’t have to be large and bulky to raise your electricity bill.  Space heaters have to work very hard to produce the heat needed.  That means they need a lot of power.

The solution: If you’re constantly using a space heater, consider a bigger solution.  Check the insulation or redirect heating to that area.  Unplug the space heater when it’s not being used, and only use it when it’s totally necessary.  You might also be interested in thinking outside of the box to stay warm during the winter – without electricity!

Dishwasher

Dishwashers are a modern convenience that have become a necessity.  They average over 1,000 watts of energy every hour, depending on usage and size.  Not only do they drain energy while not being used, but that amount increases significantly when they are running.  Dishwashers also require the hot water heater to run, which makes your energy bill say, “CA-CHING!”

The solution: Get an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher.  It can cost only $35 per year to run, plus it saves thousands of gallons of water, too.  Whether or not you have an ENERGY STAR dishwasher, you should only run your washer when it’s full.  Hand dry dishes when you can, instead of letting the machine do it.  It will take a bit more time, but save you money.

When you become aware of your energy usage, you can become a more efficient household.  Identifying and properly managing the appliances that raise your electricity bill give you an even better chance at efficiency.  Take these tips and start lowering your energy bill, and make some serious changes to your household!