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US Electricity Usage

According to the US Department of Energy, by far the biggest user of energy in US homes is heating and cooling as well as kitchen appliances. The exact "worst offender" depends on whether you heat your home with electricity or whether you use another fuel source. Here are the breakdown of numbers.

Homes with Electric Heat
This table shows the percentage of an average home's electrical bill that is used for various categories of use. In this table, the heating/cooling category includes electric heat. The "other" category includes hair dryers, clothes irons, and power tools.

Heating/Cooling31.2%
Kitchen26.7%
Water Heater9.1%
Lighting8.8%
Home Electronics7.2%
Washer/Dryer6.7%
Other10.2%


Graph of electricity usage for homes with electric heat:

electricity usage with electric heat

Homes Without Electric Heat
This table shows the percentage of an average home's electrical bill that is used for various categories of use. In this table, the heating/cooling category does NOT include electric heat. It only includes air conditioners and similar devices. The "other" category includes hair dryers, clothes irons, and power tools.

Kitchen29.7%
Heating/Cooling23.4%
Water Heater10.2%
Lighting9.8%
Home Electronics8.0%
Washer/Dryer7.4%
Other11.4%


Graph of electricity usage for homes with electric heat:

electricity usage without electric heat

Certainly in both cases the use of electricity for cooling and related costs is substantial. You can greatly decrease your electricity bill usage by insulating your home and adjusting your thermostat!

It's also well worth noting that even though the washer / dryer value is fairly low compared with other costs, you can have a substantial impact on reducing your bill by working on those areas. For example you could drop your cost in this area by 90% with some simple changes. It would be challenging to make that same kind of change in your refrigerator usage!

In terms of raw numbers, by far the two biggest users of electricity in the average US household is the air conditioning units and the refrigerator. Make sure you optimize the use of both pieces of equipment in your home.

DOE Raw Figures

Let us know if you have any other suggestions for us to add to this page!

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