Determining how much energy your household appliances typically use can help you in several ways. For one thing, the knowledge can help you better understand the real-world applications of units like watts and kilowatts. Secondly, this can help you determine where you can cut out energy usage, as opposed to which appliances are necessities.
An important thing to keep in mind is that an appliance which uses more watts and runs for a short period of time and an appliance that uses less watts but runs longer could end up using a similar amount of energy. Energy usage is measured in kilowatt hours, the product of power in kilowatts and the time usage in hours.
For instance, one of the largest users of electricity in most houses is the refrigerator. The Power Scorecard™ website, produced by Pace University, states that “Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use.” Most of the time, however, refrigerators are not using their full wattage. As Michael Bluejay (Mr. Electricity) states on his website, “Most of the time the fridge just sits there, using only 5 watts or so for its electronics.” It is the fact that the fridge runs constantly which makes its energy usage add up.
This is why you should choose the most efficient model available, and keep the thermometer as close to 37 degrees as possible. Some refrigerators are equipped with an energy saver switch for even more efficiency. The ENERGY STAR seal can help you find the best option.
Washing machines are another large user of energy, but here it’s easy to find ways to cut back. Jeffrey Orloff (at about.com) states that 90% of energy used during washing clothes goes towards heating the water. If you rely on cold water wash for the majority of your clothes, you can cut a significant amount of energy use out of the process. Orloff also recommends, if possible, replacing your top-loading washer with a slightly more expensive front-loading washer. The latter models have a larger capacity and use less water than top-loading models.
Besides using cold water for washing, you can turn down the temperature on your water heater thermostat to save even more energy. Reducing your water heater’s thermostat by even 10 degrees can save hundreds of pound of CO2 per year, whether you have an electric or gas water heater.
This information can help you to make more informed decisions about your monthly energy usage, and perhaps even save money on your electric and gas bills. Keep reading our blogs for more information on how you can make your Texas home energy efficient.