Many household appliances, such as your oven, central air conditioner and washing machine, consume large amounts of energy. Prices are still increasing across the board, leading many to wonder what they can do to save money. Luckily, numerous affordable, energy-efficient appliances can help you cut costs on your electric bill.
What to consider when planning to cut energy usage
Which appliances use the most energy?
- Central air conditioner: Your central air conditioner draws roughly 1,450 kilowatt-hours per month. According to the EPA, central air and heating account for roughly 26% of the energy usage in most residential households.
- Water heater: The average U.S. household uses roughly 310 kWh per month to heat their water.
- Refrigerator: Refrigerators draw around 205 kWh per month. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that people can do to avoid these energy costs since the only alternative is to buy a smaller unit.
- Oven range: These appliances use roughly 58 kWh per month.
How much does 1 kWh of electricity cost?
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the average price for electricity in the U.S. is around $0.15 per kWh. The current cost of electricity is about $0.012 higher per kWh than it was last year. These figures mean that appliances like central air conditioners could be costing some people up to $217 per month. The Energy Information Administration’s latest short-term forecast suggests energy prices will continue to increase throughout 2022.
How to reduce energy usage
Measure your electricity usage
Understanding which appliances drive up your costs is a crucial first step to reducing your monthly bill. Most devices have their energy usage printed somewhere on them, in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website. The EPA has an intuitive energy calculator on its website to help put your energy usage into easy-to-understand terms.
Many electric companies send monthly or quarterly notices with details about your energy usage. Suppose your electric company doesn’t send energy-usage reports. In that case, you can always compare your latest electric bill to previous bills to get an idea of whether you’re decreasing your energy usage.
Use a portable air conditioner instead of your central air conditioner
Central air conditioners usually keep your entire house cool, but you usually only need one or two rooms cooled at a time. Portable air conditioners let you cool one room in your house at a time and are far more mobile than window units. Most portable air conditioners cost between $500-$600, but they only cost around $60 per month to run. This means they pay for themselves in no time.
Portable air conditioners don’t block the entire window, so you will still be able to see outside. Many of these devices have dehumidifier and fan settings. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about city ordinances that restrict units that protrude from your home.
Switch to a tankless water heater
According to energy.gov, tankless water heaters can save you anywhere from 8% to 34% on your monthly electric bill, depending on how much hot water you use. Additionally, most tankless water heaters last around 20 years, whereas traditional water heaters need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Tankless water heaters often have replacement parts, meaning you can often fix them rather than replace them.
An important note when selecting a tankless water heater: You should buy one with an intermittent pilot. Tankless water heaters with pilots that run continuously don’t usually result in energy savings. Additionally, gas-powered tankless water heaters require you to put in additional ducts, meaning costs can add up quickly.
Use an air fryer instead of your stove
Air fryers use about half as much energy as stoves. Most things that you can make in your stove can also be made using an air fryer, and many of them will taste better. Air fryers use the same convection heating system found in commercial ovens. Additionally, air fryers can mimic a traditional deep fryer if you add a small amount of oil.
If you plan to use an air fryer instead of your stove, it’s essential to consider the unit’s size. Many air fryers are large enough to cook meals for four people.
Other ways to reduce your energy usage
- Keep the cool air inside when running an air conditioner: Make sure you shut your windows and doors when you’re using an air conditioner, even when using a portable unit. If you notice a draft coming in from under your doors or around your windows, cold air can escape your home, meaning you may need to seal and insulate the area.
- Use drapes and blinds: Sunlight will increase your room’s temperature. Additionally, placing a portable air conditioner in direct sunlight can cause it to incorrectly read the room’s temperature and work harder to cool the space.
- Use power strips that reduce vampire electricity: Many electronics, such as computers, TVs and surround sound systems, continue to consume electricity even when powered off. Some power strips allow you to cut the electricity to your electronics to reduce energy costs further.
Best energy-efficient appliances
Ideal for cooling rooms up to 400 square feet, this product features a dehumidifier, a fan and an air conditioner. It can cool a small space from over 80 degrees down to around 60 degrees in only an hour.
Sold by Amazon
This features a compact design and an intuitive digital display. It heats up to 6 gallons per minute and is certified by the Water Quality Association. This unit only heats water as needed rather than heating it continuously.
Sold by Amazon
With more internal space than most air fryers, this model is ideal for families of four or more. It’s easy to clean, and the removable basket is dishwasher-safe. The numerous presets make it simple to cook popular foods.
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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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