If you receive an energy bill each month, you likely already know how much energy you’re being charged for. But do you know how your home power consumption compares to the national average? You may be surprised by how much more energy you’re using than others.
By understanding your home power usage and how it compares to the average, you can check for any differences and what may be causing them. And once you’ve identified what’s having the biggest effect on your home power usage, you can then find ways to start reducing your consumption.
Since every house is built and lived in differently, each will consume a different amount of power. This power is measured in kilowatts (kW). Your energy usage, though, is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). If you’re not sure what a kilowatt-hour is, it’s simply the amount of energy it takes to keep a 1,000-watt appliance running for an hour.
In order to figure out why your house uses more or less energy than the national average, it helps to first understand the factors that influence your consumption. These include:
In 2019, residential customers in the United States purchased an average of 10,649 kilowatt-hours of electricity. This works out to be roughly 887 kilowatt-hours per month, or about 30 kilowatt-hours per day.
However, as we discussed above, there are many factors that will influence your actual home power usage. The size of your home has a large effect because of heating and cooling. The last time the Energy Information Administration collected specific data on home size, in 2015, the average kWh usage for a 2,000 sq. ft. home was 11,604 kWh for the year. A 2,500 sq. ft. home came in at 12,271 kWh, and residences that measured 3,000 sq. ft. or greater used an average of 14,210 kWh in 2015.
As you compare your usage to those averages, think about why your electricity use may be higher or lower. Maybe you have many people living in your house. Or you have a lot of big appliances. Or maybe you live in a place where you need to use your heat a lot in winter or the AC a lot in summer. All can play a role in your monthly electric bill.
There are several factors that will determine which appliances consume the most power in your home. For example, the type of appliance and how often it’s used will have an impact on its total energy consumption. In general, though, the appliances that will contribute most to your average home power usage include the following:
You can use this tool from Energy.gov to estimate the energy use of a given appliance. From there, you can take steps to reduce your overall power consumption.
Now that you understand how much energy your house uses — especially when compared to, say, the average kWh usage for a 2,000 sq ft home — you can start thinking about how to limit consumption. There are many ways to save energy in your home, and each of them is important. After all, the more you can reduce your home energy usage, the more you stand to save on your monthly bill.
Here are some ideas for where to start:
Purchasing high-efficiency appliances is a great way to take control over your home energy usage. When shopping around, just be sure to look for appliances with the yellow ENERGY STAR ® label. These types of appliances consume less power than traditional models and may even qualify you for rebates.
To give an example of how much energy you can save with high-efficiency appliances, let’s take a look at refrigerators. An energy-efficient refrigerator that has been certified by ENERGY STAR ® will use an average of 33% less energy than models that are more than 15 years old.
Another way to limit how much energy your house uses is by using smart tech to automate your home appliances and other aspects of your house. And since some devices allow you to monitor and adjust your energy usage remotely, this can be especially useful for people who are frequently on the go.
One example of an energy-saving smart home device is a smart plug. These devices are inserted into wall sockets and then appliances are plugged into them. Once plugged in, you can monitor your appliance’s energy use and control the device from anywhere. There are many different smart plug uses, so experiment until you find out what saves you the most energy.
Without proper insulation, your house will lose some of the hot or cold air produced by your HVAC system. As a result, your heater and air conditioner will have to work harder to control your home’s temperature, meaning your power usage will increase. That’s why it’s smart to check for gaps in insulation throughout your home.
One important place you may decide to add insulation is in your walls. By insulating your walls, you can help prevent drafts and increase your home’s efficiency. Adding roof and attic insulation can also be an effective way to curb your average home power usage.
If you’re concerned about how many kilowatts it’s taking to power your house, you may want to start unplugging your electronics when not in use. Doing so will help ensure that your devices consume as little energy as possible.
Most electronic devices have a “sleep” or “standby” mode that can be used in order to conserve energy. However, these devices will still draw small amounts of power even if they’re switched to an energy-saving mode. Powering down and unplugging devices is the most effective way to control your power usage. This is an especially important tip for saving energy if you’re working from home.
Whether it’s something as simple as turning the lights off when you leave a room or running fewer loads of laundry, adjusting energy-wasting habits can help reduce your average home power usage. If you use streaming services or game consoles, that’s a great place to start. You may not know it, but the energy consumption of streaming services can be substantial. Additionally, gaming console energy consumption can add up over time and affect your overall home power usage.
The more you’re able to limit the use of these services and devices, the more energy you can save.
Having a professional perform a home energy audit can help you take greater control over the amount of power you use. The auditor will be able to tell you how you’re using energy as well as help you determine ways to improve your average home power usage.
For example, part of the home energy audit process involves looking for potential air leaks, which can be big energy wasters. If the auditor does find air leaks in your home, they can tell you what areas in your house to seal in order to conserve energy.
It’s important to know how many kWh per day is normal for a home your size, as well as how much energy your house uses specifically. Seeing how your home power usage compares to the average can be a much-needed source of motivation to make sure you’re not overpaying for energy.
It also helps to know the factors and appliances that contribute most to your home energy usage. With this information, you can better understand your energy costs and where they’re coming from. It’ll be easier to determine what you’ll need to do in order to reduce your energy usage and lower your bill.
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