How Much Electricity Your Household Items Use (14 Common Items)

How Much Electricity Your Household Items Use (14 Common Items)

Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:

  • How much electricity mini-fridges and refrigerators use
  • How much electricity ceiling fans, space heaters and window AC units use
  • How much electricity dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers use
  • How much electricity TVs and gaming computers use
  • And more
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Whether your goal is to reduce the strain you and your home put on the environment or you’re simply looking at how to lower your energy bill and electricity use, understanding how much energy your most commonly used household items use is a great first step. So, how many kWh does a house use?

Knowing the difference between a watt vs. a kilowatt as well as the average energy draw for things like appliances and common electronics can help you figure out how many kilowatt-hours your home uses. This can also help you identify where you can conserve and reduce electricity usage, ultimately making your home more energy-efficient. Below, we’ll discuss how much energy the average household uses and how much electricity common household items consume.

How Much Energy Does a House Use?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average home in the U.S. consumed around 10,715 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2020, or about 893 kWh of electricity per month1 but consumption rates vary widely across the country. Hawaiians used the least amount of energy in 2020 at just 6,446 kWh, while homeowners in Louisiana consumed more than double that amount at 14,407 kWh.

Other factors besides geographic location also affect energy consumption. Home size, for example, plays a major role in heating and cooling costs and therefore energy consumption. The number of people living in your home will naturally affect the amount of energy consumed. Even things like electricity habits — like leaving lights on — and home age can affect energy consumption and energy efficiency. You can check your past energy bills to see how much electricity you consume throughout the year.

How Much Energy Do Household Items Use?

If you’re looking to conserve energy in your home to better the environment or slash your electric bills, it helps to understand which appliances and electronics are using the most electricity. The table below lists the top household items in terms of total energy used per year. 

Further below, we’ll delve into the assumptions behind these numbers, as the way you use these items in your home will affect your actual power usage quantities.

Household Item Estimated Energy Consumed Per Year (kWh)
Washer 140
Ceiling Fan 154
Light Bulbs 182 
Mini Fridge 220
Dishwasher 251 
TV 341 
Dehumidifier 504 
Dryer 550
Space Heater 630
Refrigerator 657 
Window AC 864 
Gaming PC 1,400 
Tankless Water Heater 3,500 
Pool Pump 4,000 
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How Much Electricity Does a TV Use?

Curved TV Isolated On WhiteOn average, a single TV consumes around 341 kWh per year. This assumes the TV is on for an average of four hours per day — which is standard in America — and that the TV is a moderately sized (40” to 56”) HD LED model.

Larger televisions will naturally consume more power than smaller ones, and high-definition TVs and OLED TVs will draw more power than less-advanced models. It’s also important to remember that smart TVs continuously connect to the internet and run software updates, so they consume more power than TVs that don’t connect to the internet. TVs draw power when they are turned off, and although the draw is significantly less than when they’re turned on, they will still contribute to your utility bills.

Do TVs Use a Lot of Electricity?

In comparison to other common household items, televisions use a moderate amount of energy. They use more than many household appliances, on average, but they also run for far longer every day than most appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines. 

How Much Electricity Does a Ceiling Fan Use?

Silver ceiling fan with five bladesThe average ceiling fan in a home uses just 154 kWh per year running constantly less than most household appliances. Ceiling fans are generally more efficient than box fans or stand fans, and they use far less electricity than window air conditioners and whole-home cooling systems.

This amount of electricity also assumes you use your fan 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which won’t necessarily be the case in all parts of the country. If you live in the southern states and are comfortable relying on just a ceiling fan, this number could be accurate. If you live in colder climates, it’s unlikely that you’ll use your fans during the winter months, so your consumption could be significantly lower per year than it would in warmer states like Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona. Lastly, the size of the ceiling fan matters, with larger fans consuming slightly more energy per hour running than smaller ones.

Do Ceiling Fans Use a Lot of Electricity?

No, ceiling fans are among the household items that have the lowest annual power draw. Ceiling fans are also far more energy-efficient than other cooling systems, making them a great way to cut down your electricity costs.

And although it seems counterintuitive to use a fan to keep warm, if you run your ceiling fan clockwise in the winter (it should be run counterclockwise in the summer), it will pull cooler air up toward the ceiling, making the air around the people near floor level seem warmer. This may allow you to turn down your heat several degrees and save more energy while still feeling comfortable.

How Much Electricity Does a Light Bulb Use?

LightBulb Isolated on WhiteAssuming you have your lights on for around five hours a day in the larger living areas of your home, they’re likely to consume around 182 kWh per year. This assumes you use approximately ten lights in your living area for that amount of time and that all lights are fitted with standard 60-watt bulbs.

Of course, larger homes and those that have multiple people living in them and using different rooms will drive up this consumption rate. The more lights you leave on for five hours a day, the higher your energy draw will be. Similarly, if you use your lights for more than five hours per day, you’ll consume more energy than this average. Finally, energy-efficient lights like LED bulbs consume less energy and will bring your consumption down.

Do Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

Despite the fact that we tend to use lighting every single day for for an average of five hours, using lights doesn’t account for a large portion of home energy usage. Lights use less energy than most appliances and other household items.

How Much Electricity Does a Space Heater Use?

Electric heater with fan, radiator appliance for space heating. Icon of domestic heater with electric cord. 3D illustration isolated on white backgroundThe average annual energy consumption you can expect from a space heater is around 630 kWh. This assumes that you use the space heater for only three months of the year, so your consumption could be much higher if you live in a colder climate where space heaters are needed for longer. The average consumption is around 1.4 kW per hour of use. At an average of five hours a day, that’s around 210 kWh per month or 630 kWh for three of the colder months of the year.

Naturally, using your space heater for longer than five hours a day or for more than three months of the year will increase its average energy consumption. Additionally, using aging space heaters or those that aren’t Energy Star-rated can bring this average consumption up as well.

Do Space Heaters Use a Lot of Electricity?

Yes, space heaters are among the top five common household items that use the most energy per year. This is especially significant because they’re often only used for three months out of the 12. They have a much higher energy draw than most other forms of heating, making space heating the least efficient way to heat your living space.

How Much Electricity Does a Refrigerator Use?

RefrigeratorThe average refrigerator consumes around 657 kWh per year. Refrigerators run constantly, which drives up the overall consumption. This number can be much higher for older refrigerators that run less efficiently, and it can be lower for Energy Star-rated refrigerators.

In addition to the model, how often you open your fridge and the climate you live in can affect the energy draw. Homes with more people tend to have higher consumption rates because the fridge gets opened many more times per day and has to work harder to remain cool. Warmer climates in which your indoor space is hot or humid will also increase this consumption rate.

Do Refrigerators Use a Lot of Electricity?

Refrigerators use more energy than most other major kitchen appliances, in part because they run constantly. They rank fourth overall in terms of energy draw for common household items.

How Much Electricity Does a Mini-Fridge Use?

3D rendering of a white mini refrigerator isolated on white backgroundA standard mini-fridge consumes around 22 kWh per year. This assumes that it’s plugged in constantly and is a standard size — between 1.5 and 1.8 cubic feet. Larger mini-fridges will consume more power.

Older mini-fridges will usually be less energy efficient, so they will consume more power on average. Excessive use — like multiple people opening the door frequently — will also bring up the annual consumption significantly. They will also tend to use more energy in areas that are hot and humid.

Do Mini-Fridges Use a Lot of Electricity?

Small mini-fridges don’t consume much energy. In fact, they’re ranked in the bottom five common household items in terms of electricity consumption. They’re often less energy efficient than full-sized refrigerators, but the small size means less power draw overall.

How Much Electricity Does a Dishwasher Use?

Open dishwasher with dishes isolated on white backgroundA standard dishwasher consumes around 251 kWh every year. This assumes that it’s run about once every other day, which is the common usage for a family of four.

Running the dishwasher more frequently — either because you have more people using dishes or because you don’t fill the dishwasher for each run — will bring up the power draw significantly. Using an older dishwasher or one that isn’t Energy Star-rated will also drive up the consumption. Finally, dishwashers that have a heat option to dry the dishes tend to use more energy than those that only have an air-dry option.

Do Dishwashers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Dishwashers do use a lot of energy usually around 1.4 kW per hour. However, most homes run the dishwasher once every other day, so the overall power consumption is low compared to other household items.

How Much Electricity Does a Washer Use?

Modern clothes washer on white background.A washing machine will consume an average of 140 kWh per year, assuming you do three loads of laundry a week and opt for cool or warm water rather than hot.

Of course, doing more than three loads of laundry per week will mean you consume far more than the average 140 kWh per year. Choosing to run loads with hot water will increase your energy consumption as well, although the increased consumption will come directly from your water heater.

Do Washers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Washing machines use around 0.8 kW for every hour they run, which is lower than many other major appliances. Homeowners typically use washing machines less often than other appliances — an average of just three times per week — so the overall consumption is the lowest you’ll typically see from any common household item that draws power.

How Much Electricity Does a Dryer Use?

White clothes dryerA standard clothes dryer consumes around 550 kWh per year, assuming it’s used for three loads of laundry per week in line with how much average homeowners use their washing machines.

Dryers that aren’t Energy Star-rated can be a much larger drain on resources, sometimes consuming more than double the average amount of energy. Your overall consumption will also be higher if you do more than three loads of laundry per week or if you use options like “wrinkle prevent” that keep cycling your dryer on.

Do Dryers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Clothes dryers use quite a lot of energy usually upwards of 2 kW per hour of use. However, the overall consumption is lower than many other major appliances because dryers are used less frequently.

How Much Electricity Does a Window AC Unit Use?

Air Conditioner, 3d illustration of a window air conditionerA window AC consumes around 864 kWh per year. This assumes you run your air conditioner eight hours a day (they’re most often used in bedrooms to maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature) and only use it for the four hottest months of the year.

If you use window ACs for larger living spaces and on a 24-hour basis, your consumption will be far higher. Larger window ACs also have a higher power draw, as do those that aren’t Energy Star-rated.

Do Window AC Units Use a Lot of Electricity?

A standard window AC unit will consume around 0.9 kW per hour. This is lower than many household appliances, but they’re also used for longer than many appliances per day. Window ACs rank in the top five household items in terms of power draw, which is significant considering that they’re only used for an average of four months of the year.

How Much Electricity Does a Tankless Water Heater Use?

A residential electric water heater, isolated on whiteAn electric tankless water heater will use an average of nine to 10 kWh per day or 3,500 kWh per year. This assumes that it runs for four hours a day to make the average of 50 gallons of hot water used per household per day.

Homes with more residents will naturally use more hot water for washing and bathing, so energy consumption will increase with the number of people in your home. Water heaters also work harder when incoming water is colder, so your consumption will be higher if you live in a colder climate than it would in a hot climate. The average shower length can also affect how much energy your tankless water heater uses.

Do Tankless Water Heaters Use a Lot of Electricity?

Tankless water heaters use around 2.5 kW for every hour they run, which is higher than most household items. Additionally, electric tankless water heaters use more energy than nearly every other common household item overall, with the exception of pool pumps.

How Much Electricity Does a Dehumidifier Use?

Dehumidifier isolated on a white background. Dehumidifiers extract moisture from the air to reduce the level of humidity in the area. Shot in studio with a DSLR camera.A stand-alone dehumidifier will consume around 504 kWh per year. This is assuming that it runs for around 10 hours a day — taking cycling into consideration — and is only on the job for half the year (humidity tends to dip in cooler weather). The average whole-house dehumidifier will naturally consume even more.

Dehumidifiers will consume far more energy in areas where humidity is higher. They will also use more electricity if they need to run year-round, like in areas that remain warm and humid throughout all seasons.

Do Dehumidifiers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Dehumidifiers use around 0.28 kW per hour they are in use. This is lower than most other household appliances. However, they tend to run for longer than others at an average of 10 hours a day for half the year, so overall consumption is moderate.

How Much Electricity Does a Gaming PC Use?

Gaming desktop computerGaming PCs use an average of 1,400 kWh of energy per year, assuming they’re used for gaming between three and four hours a day and remain on but idle for the remaining hours. Gaming PCs are made for high performance, which naturally draws a lot of power.

The energy drawn by your gaming PC will depend largely on the specifications, including hardware and software installed. More CPU-intensive games will consume more energy, and consumption will be higher in hot climates, where PCs need to use more energy to remain cool. Of course, longer play time each day will equate to higher energy bills.

Do Gaming PCs Use a Lot of Electricity?

The power draw for a gaming PC is around 0.6 watts per hour of gameplay, which is significantly more than standard computers, laptops and gaming consoles use. Overall, gaming computers are among the top three household items for energy consumption.

How Much Electricity Does a Pool Pump Use?

Pump with prefilter for water circulation in small and medium-sized household poolsA standard pool pump will consume an incredible 4,000 kWh per year, but yours could range from 3,000 up to 5,000 kWh or more. The 4,000 kWh estimate is based on an average-sized pool that is operational for five months of the year.

Factors that affect the energy draw of your pool pump include how many seasons you keep your pool open, the size of your pool and the overall energy efficiency of your pool pump.

Do Pool Pumps Use a Lot of Electricity?

Yes, pool pumps consume more electricity in a year than any other common household appliance. Not only do they use more energy overall, but they also run for just five months of the year on average, meaning the per-hour amount of electricity used is also extremely high.

Energy Saving Tips

With the average household consuming 10,715 kWh every year and the average per-kWh electricity price in the U.S. hovering around 14.47 cents, the typical American household will pay over $1,500 on electricity every year.2 Not only is consuming this much electricity expensive, but it also puts unnecessary strain on the environment, contributing to the burning of coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels, CO2 emissions, global warming and pollution.

Luckily, there are numerous things you can do to reduce your household electricity consumption and your electric bills. Below are just some of the things that can help:

  1. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, specifically those that are Energy Star-rated
  2. Install a smart thermostat to regulate the temperature in your home as efficiently as possible
  3. Avoid using window ACs and space heaters to cool or heat large areas use whole-home heating systems and air-conditioning equipment instead
  4. Upgrade light bulbs to LED bulbs or other efficient options
  5. Make sure you fill your dishwasher and washing machines to capacity to reduce how many times per week you need to run them – don’t run partial loads
  6. Take hot showers instead of hot baths, and limit shower time as much as possible
  7. Use ceiling fans over air conditioners whenever possible
  8. Do your best to limit how often your refrigerator is opened, especially in the warmer months
  9. Use dehumidifiers to reduce humidity and make your living space more comfortable in extreme weather; this should reduce the strain on your cooling equipment
  10. Limit TV and PC gaming time as much as possible

There are many additional ways to conserve energy and reduce your monthly electric bills, but the above tips should get you started in the right direction. Focusing on reducing how often you use the most energy-intensive household items on the list above — window ACs, gaming PCs, tankless water heaters and pool pumps — will have the most significant impact on your home energy use.

How to Save on Energy Rates

In addition to reducing your overall energy consumption, you can save money on your electric bills by switching to a more cost-effective energy plan. In states where the energy market is deregulated, you have your choice of energy providers and can instantly reduce your energy costs by choosing a more affordable plan that suits your needs and your budget. You can check out our guide to electricity rates and plans for more information.

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Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.
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Expert reviewer
Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.