Which Appliances Use the Most Energy

Do you think the Cable TV Box could fuel wars for oil?  Did you know that, according to the New York Times, cable TV boxes cost $3 billion in electricity per year in the U.S.?

When determining which appliances use the most energy, you need to look at both the amount of electrical energy (Watts) used by the appliance and the amount of time at the appliance is used during a 24-hour day.  For instance, a toaster and a coffee maker use approximately as much electricity as a heater but the heater will cost a lot more to use because it will be on for much longer period of time.

As an example, a 1200 Watt toaster used twice a day for only 2 minutes each time (a toaster oven will be used longer) will cost only $0.28 per month where the cost of electricity is a very high $0.23 per kilowatt total cost including delivery and taxes (your cost is probably lower). A 1200 Watt coffee maker used for only 16 minutes per day will cost only $2.24 per month to brew coffee at the same rate of $0.23 per kilowatt but an electric heater used for several hours per day and actually heating for two hours per day will cost $16.79 per month. The warming tray on a coffee maker could significantly increase electricity usage if left on. Additionally, some coffee makers such as Bunn heat a tank of water which is hot 24 hours per day.

Appliances which use a lot of electricity and are used a lot:

  • Air conditioning
  • Electric heat pump
  • Dehumidifier = 785 Watts
  • Electric space heater = 750–1500
  • Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cubic feet) = 725
  • Electric water heater (40 gallon) = 4500–5500
  • Pool pump
  • Spa (electric usage will vary greatly depending upon geographic location and manufacturer.  See estimated spa usage costs for Hotspring® an energy-efficient spa.)
  • Landscape lights – The cost of landscape lights varies greatly depending upon whether the light fixtures use 110 V, 12 V or LED.  Both 110 V and low-voltage 12 V can use a lot of electricity but LED landscape lights use very little electricity.
  • Large foyer chandeliers – Many large chandeliers use more bulbs but my chandelier (in the photo) uses only 11 bulbs although that adds up to 660 Watts when using 60 W incandescent bulbs.  I use 13 W CFL bulbs which saves $18 per month over incandescent bulbs but I will eventually switch to 6 W LED bulbs which will cost only $2.31 per month at $0.23 per KWh (kilowatt hour) to turn on for 5 hours every night.  I already switch many high hat BR40 bulbs from incandescent to LED.  I have 98 high hats which had 75W incandescent bulbs.  If I turn on 20 high hats which now have 17W LED bulbs which give the equivalent of 100W, I’ll save 1,160W per hour.  Not only will LED bulbs save money but with all my bulbs changed to LED, I can install a 20KW standby generator instead of a 22KW standby generator which is a lot less expensive.  Use low temperature 2700K CFL or LED bulbs to achieve the same warm color of incandescent lightbulbs.

chandelier using CFL bulbs

Appliances which do not use a lot of electricity but are used a lot will be noticed on your electric bill:

  • Cable TV Box = 30-35 even when off! (One of the biggest energy hogs in your house because they use electricity 24 hours per day with 66% of the electric power used when no one is watching and you may have several cable TV boxes – I have 5 which cost $29.40 per month for electricity where I live!  These boxes could single handedly provide the reason to have wars over oil with the electricity to run these Cable TV boxes costing $3 billion in electricity per year in the U.S. — and the number of cable TV boxes are increasing)
  • Televisions (Flat screen) = 35-120 depending upon size and type of TV (Plasma TVs used more electricity than LCD TVs which use more electricity than LED TVs)
  • DVR (uses electricity often because they are often recording shows)
  • Computer servers are usually left on 24 hours per day and use more electricity.  I have a computer server in my basement with two 15,000 RPM hard drives which is never turned off.
  • Personal computers: CPU – awake = 120 / asleep = 30 or less; Monitor – awake = 150 / asleep = 30 or less; Laptop = 50
  • Lightbulbs (CFL bulbs will save you a lot of money over the cost of using incandescent lightbulbs.  CFL bulbs use slightly more electricity than LED bulbs but are significantly less expensive than LED bulbs)
  • Electric blanket (Single/Double) = 60 / 100
  • Aquarium heater = 50–1210 Watts

Appliances which use a lot of electricity but are NOT used a lot will not be very noticeable on your electric bill:

  • Electric stove ranges = approximately 1,200 for small elements; 1,500 to 1,800 for medium sized elements and 2500 for large elements.  Ovens use 3,000 watts or more.
  • Coffee maker = 900–1200 Watts
  • Clothes dryer = 1800–5000 Watts
  • Clothes washer = 350–500
  • Clothes iron = 1000–1800
  • Dishwasher particularly the heat dry cycle if used = 1200–2400 (using the heat dry feature greatly increases energy consumption)
  • Hairdryer = 1200–1875
  • Vacuum cleaner = 1000–1440
  • Microwave oven = 750–1100
  • Toaster = 800–1400
  • Toaster oven = 1225

See Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use at energy.gov
How much electricity do your household appliances and electronics use? – use these calculators to determine how much electricity an appliance is using.

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