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High Electricity Bills? These Appliances Cost the Most Money to Run

When you get your electricity bill, you may wonder why it's so high. Sometimes it has to do with the amount you pay for electricity, especially if you're on a variable-price plan and the price increases. It also has to do with the appliances you use and how much you use them. After all, if you use more electricity from one month to the next, you're going to pay more, maybe even in cases where your electricity price falls.

That’s because your bill is based on the amount of electricity you use and how often you use it. Kilowatt-hours, or kWh, are the basic unit of electric energy for which most customers are charged. Customers are usually charged for electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour.

To get an idea of how much energy your appliances use and, thusly, how much they can cost you, here's a peek at some common electricity-consuming appliances and the amount of energy they use every hour:

Appliance Typical Consumption
Per Hour
Cost Per Hour
(at 10 cents per

Central air conditioner/heat pump

15,000 watts


Clothes dryer/water heater

4,000 watts

40 cents

Water pump

3,000 watts

30 cents

Space heater

1,500 watts

15 cents

Hair dryer

1,200 watts

12 cents

Electric range burner

1,000 watts

10 cents


1,000 watts

10 cents

Desktop computer and monitor

400 watts

4 cents

Incandescent light bulb

60 watts

0.6 cents


Air Heating and Cooling

If your house has electric heat, you’ll see a big spike on your electricity bill in the middle of winter when you use a lot of power. If you have a heat pump and use it a lot, you may run it somewhere between 10 and 15 hours a day. If your electricity costs 10 cents an hour, that could cost you $15 to $22 a day. The same applies to homes with central air conditioning in the middle of summer.

To save money, install a programmable thermostat and set it back at least 10 degrees for eight hours a day. Doing so can save you 10 percent on your energy costs every year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Water Heating and Clothes Drying

Heating water for showers and clothes washing is especially pricey, especially if you consider that your electric water heater might have to run for an hour after each shower or load of laundry just to reheat the water in its tank. That’s 40 cents right there. And every load of laundry you wash and dry can cost between $1 and $2 each.

To save money, shorten your showers and wash your clothes with cold water. You can also set your water heater to at most 120 degrees. Every 10 degree reduction in water heater temperature can save between 3–5 percent in monthly energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


Refrigerators are big-time energy hogs because they use electricity all the time, in many cases for 10 hours or more every day. That comes to about $1 a day, which you can double if you have a second refrigerator or standing freezer.

To save money, make sure your refrigerator is set on the optimal temperature and reconsider that extra fridge in the garage.

Light Bulbs

Individual incandescent light bulbs don’t use that much electricity, comparatively speaking, but costs can add up quick. Many light fixtures use more than one bulb and it’s easy to leave lights on throughout your house when you’re not using them. Ten light bulbs use 6 cents an hour. If you use those bulbs for 6 hours a day, it’ll cost you 36 cents a day or about $10 a month. That may not sound like a lot, but $120 a year for lights that you may not be using all the time does.

To save money, upgrade to energy-efficient CFLs or LEDs when your incandescent bulbs expire. And don’t forget to turn off the lights when you’re not using them.

Even if you feel like your electric company has all the control, you have the option to reduce your energy consumption and, therefore, lower your electric bill costs. To learn more about switching to Spark for the lowest rates possible, See 5 Reasons Your Electric Bill is So High.

Also read:

Top ten most electricity drawing appliances
How Much Energy Does Dyson’s New Hair Dryer Use?
How to Decide Whether to Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioner?

3/27/2012 9:01:00 AM
in Residential Energy Savings 
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