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More sunshine on the way: FPL continues its successful affordable clean energy strategy with three more solar power plants

At FPL, we love solar. We know that it is an important part of our state’s energy mix, so we’ve been working hard to find ways to advance solar energy in the Sunshine State without increasing electricity costs. Currently, solar power – even the most economical large-scale installation – is generally not yet cost-effective in […]


Heating your home

We are new to the area and new to central A/C. In December, we had some cold days and turned the heat on. The increase in our bill was substantial. Does heating use that much more energy than the A/C?


Ensuring Reliability

Getting your life back to normal faster after a storm

As president of Florida Power & Light Company, Eric Silagy leads the thousands of employees who bring affordable, reliable power to you every day. He’s raising his family here in the sunshine state, something that fuels his drive to always look for ways to make tomorrow better for all of us. If you’ve experienced a […]


Old Poles Have New Life as Artificial Reefs

If you’re a local diver, angler and anyone who loves the ocean, I’ve got good news. You can now enjoy two new artificial reefs that were created using a donation of concrete FPL poles, right off the coast of St. Lucie County. Consider it  a new take on recycling! One of the things I love […]


Restoring power -- anytime, anywhere

From time to time, you may see an FPL truck parked near your home late at night, possibly even when your power is working just fine. Don’t be alarmed. Our crews work around the clock to restore power, and they may need to work on equipment located near you to resolve an outage in your […]


Energy Efficiency

Students see solar energy in action

Schools across Florida are using our state’s sunshine to help power classrooms and teach kids about clean energy. Through FPL’s Solar Pilot Program, nearly 100 schools and other educational facilities will be getting special solar-panel displays by the end of 2014. While installing solar panels can be out of reach for many Floridians, these facilities […]


Craig Muccio

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.

Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here

Top 5 energy users in your home

By Craig Muccio

Asked on: March 31, 2015 by Pat H. from Cortez, FL

Which appliances use the most energy?

Here in Florida, your air conditioner tops the list as the biggest energy user in your home. But, your A/C isn’t the only culprit when it comes to running up your energy cost. Here are the top five things that use the most electricity in a home, and my recommendations for cutting costs:

#1 Air Conditioner
This is your top energy user because it works hard, nearly year-round, to keep your home cool. To save energy and money, we recommend keeping your A/C thermostat set to 78 degrees when you are home and 82 degrees when you are away. If 78 degrees isn’t comfortable for you, just know that with every degree you raise the temperature on your thermostat you can save up to 5 percent on cooling costs. Every little bit helps!

#2 Pool Pump
Have a pool in your backyard? If so, your pool pump is actually the second biggest energy user in a home. To save energy, we recommend limiting your pump’s run time to six hours each day in the summer and four hours each day in the winter. Visit our pool pump tips page to calculate how much yours is costing you and learn how variable speed pumps deliver big monthly savings.

#3 Water Heater
Water heaters are also a big energy user because you pay to heat water and about 10 percent of the heat escapes from the tank. You can reduce this heat loss by purchasing a low-cost kit to insulate the pipes. You can cut your hot water usage by replacing old high-flow showerheads with modern low-flow showerheads and save up to $80 per year. Lowering your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees can also help you save about $10 a year. Read my blog post on water heaters to learn more ways to save.

#4 Lighting
Lighting is the fourth largest energy user for homeowners. Many of you are already taking steps to reduce the cost of lighting your home by swapping out older bulbs for more energy-efficient options like CFLs and LEDs. Learn more by viewing my previous blogs on energy-efficient lighting and light dimmers.

#5 Clothes Dryer
The fifth largest single energy user is the clothes dryer for most customers. However, refrigerators or even televisions could be the fourth or fifth biggest user if you have more than one and they are older models. If you are considering a new refrigerator or big screen TV, make sure you look for the ENERGY STAR® label to ensure it will be energy efficient.

Tools you can use
We’re here to help learn how much energy you’re using, so you can find new ways to save. Here are some tools that can help you do that:

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Comments [73]

  1. Magdalena Schwall

    First - sorry for my bad English. A/C and Humidity How should I set both ? We do not need low temperatures as American does but the A/C starts always because of the humidity. We like to have 79-80 degrees F in the house. What would be the best percent of the humidity that I should set up. Thank you, Magdalena

  2. w d

    Some observations: 1) There are good questions among the comments. Is anyone providing answers? 2) Generally, appliances that have motor(s) draw the most electricity along with electric resistance heating devices. The rated horsepower and/or wattage multiplied by run time will produce a list like Craig's top 5 users. 3) In a well sealed and insulated building, the best way to reduce air conditioning costs is to reduce solar gain through the windows. Replacing windows with a low shgc (solar heat gain coefficient) usually has poor economic payback. Instead, consider solar screens, solar grates, functional shutters, awnings, and window film, esp. for existing buildings. Each option has it's advantages. In our experience, summer electricity usage is now just slightly above mild weather months by using solar grates. Because of selective reflectivity, the rooms remain bright but cool while maintaining a view. 4) I think the blog would be even more fruitful if bloggers would interact with each other vs. just with Craig et al at FPL.

  3. Douglas Elder

    Why do I see power usage when the power is turned off at the meter, the Smart meter is charging $0.01 per hr 24 hr per day ($0.31 per day). is this a sneaky way to pad the billing for every user in Fl?

  4. George

    I have asked FPL 3 times to stop service 3 times since the April 15 2015. You keep charging my account. Why do you keep failing to stop service? I sold my business and the new owners have secured new service. But this has nothing to do. I want to stop service and this is my account, I asked you to stop service stop charging me and return my deposit. WHY have you not?

  5. Jerry Eastman

    Install solar panels, as many as one can afford and the roof can hold. Works for us.

  6. marc stern

    We are contemplating re-roofing our house moving from the existing white tile roof to an aluminum roof. Roofers have advised our energy usage will increase with a metal roof because a metal roof retains more heat in the building...great in Winter, but no help in Summer. Given the same level of insulation what percentage increase in our utility cost can we expect with a metal roof? Will an attic fan be effective in reducing the heat build and is it cost effective to install?

  7. g.gebler

    I just wasted paper and ink on what op think. talk about wasting money???????????????????????????????????????????????

  8. Carol Mahlebjian

    Q #1. Cost of running ceiling fans vs stand-alone/tabletop fans. Q #2. Cost of running 2 refrigerators, one in house and one in garage. Q #3. If I replace my 11 yr old a/c unit (Evaporator and Condenser only, not furnace part), how much will I save on electric bill and are there any rebates involved. Thanks for your quick response. 4/14/2015, 11:25am

  9. cassandra

    I would like to know why my bill is so high I have no dryer leaves my house every day at 8:00 a.m and return every night around 7:30 take a bath, eat and watch t.v for about a hour and a half everyday

  10. cath Johnson

    Love the new fp&l ap esp bill. But really wish you would make opening page paragraphs bigger for old eyes. It took forever to find top 5 appliance energy users!

  11. Pat Hicks Spakowski

    I elected for paperless billing but I cannot log in to retrieve my bill...... Keep up the good work! Thanks!

  12. luis

    What about the stove or the oven? Thanks, Luis

  13. Jude corielan


  14. harriett barrett

    Why isn't FPL doing more to create and promote renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power?? Florida is in the best position with it's abundant sunlight to design & create incentives to install solar power. Let's get going!

  15. Kat C.

    Thanks so much for this very helpful list! I can now show it to my roommates who thought I was "making it up" about the ACs, the CFL and LED light-bulbs, and the clothes dryer. I swear, they NEVER clean out the lint filters when they're done, leaving me to do it. If the lint filters are dirty, it takes the dryer longer to dry your clothes.

  16. Cecilia

    Is it true that leaving amplíences plugged in adds up to the energy bill?

  17. Jack Montague

    If I buy an electric car, how much will it add to my electric bill per mile driven?

  18. Guldine Egalite

    I appreciate how FPL control the energy, but I can't understand how FPL doesn't have a real date to send me the bill. Eventhough you send to me an email, you suppose to post me the mail, I can choose if I wanna pay online or at the office. Other thing, please coirrect my name, it's not GULGINE, it's GULDINE.

  19. Mark

    All of my important electronics are "protected" by a surge protector. I recently read that surge protectors need to be replaced every six months, or if they are tripped. What is the FPL advice for buying, using , and relying upon this device?

  20. Andrew McAllister

    You recommend keeping your A/C thermostat set to 78 degrees when you are home, what the hell is wrong with you people!!!??? Sorry Hippocrates, I know at least 90% of you people like it cooler then 78. Don't recommend things your selves can't live by!

  21. Ken

    If one goes away from home over summer should the refrigerator be turned off?

  22. Stella M Dumont

    I have been told by several "snow birds" that we should turn off our refrigerator when we head back North. Then, some people are saying to keep it on and fill it with cases of water to fill up the space and rumble up newspapers for the freezer. Which one would you suggest? Confused!!

  23. Carole Suess

    What do I set my thermostat and humidity dial at when I leave for the summer months?

  24. Rita P

    Hey Craig, How about heating? Our bill is consistent all year but when the temperatures drop like they did this Winter our energy cost doubles. We only turn it on in the evenings for a little while.

  25. Bart

    You said to keep my home at 82 degrees while I am away. I assume you are talking about an all day or longer away and not just a movie theater away. If I set my A/C to 82 while I am away for 2 weeks, is that cool enough to retard mold growth? It seems like the warmer temperature would accelerate mold growth.

  26. Helke Engle

    I plan to get a tower standing fan and like to find out if it uses more power than an installed ceiling fan. Thank you, Helke Engle

  27. John S. Zagami

    I snow bird down to florida off & on thru out the year, Question ---What temp. should I set my air-condition at when away for several months at a time? My thermostrate has a humidistat. JSZagami

  28. Ana Patricia Pinnel

    Ver helpfull every comment and good lecture thanks

  29. Elizabeth Krempasky

    We use solar to heat our pool, just purchased enegery efficient kitchen applicances, and replaced or roof with newer underplacement...

  30. debra

    The apt. I rent has lines crossed and I have warm water in my TOILET ! They act like so what? but I am paying for this ,,,could you roughly tell me what that would be if I flushed it twice a day ? I use my other toilet primarily but this Bothers me. I need professional opinion though to take some money off my rent I am sure. Thanks.

  31. K.Hogan

    How do smart phones, tablets, laptops and gaming systems fare on average electric consumption? I think I read somewhere that an iPhone will use as much power as a refrigerator.

  32. Margaret

    I live on the top floor average sq ft 1100-1200 apartment with cathedral ceiling. I have a 2 ton unit and my AC is on all day and night. The apt temp doesn't go below 75 no matter what. I recommended a 3 ton unit cause there are many variables to take into consideration. They say it doesn't make a difference. Help please how can I fix this problem

  33. Wayne Erfling

    I'm surprised that dishwashers didn't make the list. The one in our home spends a lot of time and heats up the counter top in the drying phase. Gotta be a big user of energy.

  34. Mary

    When we heave for vacation, should we unplug small appliances and lights?

  35. John P Fahey

    2) If it is true about the electronic devices in the home costing less to use during off peak hours, I wonder if a pool filter / heater would fall into the same category as the other appliances being cheaper to use during off hours. Thank you from a customer that believes that FPL does its best to teach its customers how to save and also does its best to save on their part for the consumer..

  36. John P Fahey

    I've heard that using your washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc, afterhours can be a good money saver off your bill. Is this true?

  37. hugh sandullo

    I only turn on the water heater for one hour a day and I have enough hot water to shower twice a day , do the dishes etc. When I leave the house I always shut of the A/C off. When I come home 10 hours later I turn it on an in 30 minutes I have a nice cool home. No need to support the electric Co. In New York Con Edison tells you to shut the AC off if you're not home. My electric bill in Margate Fl. is $45 dollars a month. I live in a 900 square ft. condo apartment. I must be doing something right ! All my neighbors, on the other hand don't practice these conservation methods and therefore have an electric bill of $ 150 and up, for an apartment the same size as mine.

  38. Jenny Bustamante

    Thank you FOR all your tips AND information . You are doing an excellent job instructing people to save energy !!!!

  39. jean lavallee

    water heater after how many years should we replace our water heater ; as a snowbird, I do not want my 1st floor neighbour to be flooded with my perforated water heater mine was made in 2004, thanks

  40. Jon G. Troup

    What type electrical drain can be drawn using two house, electrical air cleaner?

  41. Mario flores

    Ac stuff dryer

  42. Lee Fowles

    Hairdryers use huge amounts of electricity also

  43. Patty

    The new light bulbs are very dangerous to our health. How is it that we are being forced to use them when them a broken one emits toxins.

  44. BARBARA Ruland

    Is it okay to shut off the tv, but to leave the cable box on?

  45. Flo Beckler

    I'm interested to hear more about savings.

  46. Barbara Haslage

    This article was very helpful to me. Thank you.

  47. Gary s branch

    We have recently had an air concentrator installed for health reasons. Please Let us know how this will effect our energy costs Thank you

  48. Margaret Taylor

    Is it more economical to run hot water and put that on the stove, or start with cold water when needing boiling water.

  49. Andrew Weeks

    Cable boxes and DVR's: those supplied by Brighthouse are energy pigs; how about a concerted effort to require them to be energy smart?

  50. Vilas Herekar

    Is there any program By FPL to visit apartments and advise how to reduce Electric Bill. Is there any one who can fix ALL leaks and prevent drafts and loose air Conditioning via leaks. Thanks supervilas@hotmail.com

  51. vannessa Williams

    Is it true that you should do laundry after 10 pm to save money?

  52. Elizabeth Randall

    That's right, I usually keep The AC 78 all The time And yes, it is right, i save about 30% Of The bill

  53. Mark

    Thanks for the tips. Sometimes we forget and appreciate the reminders... Is the 78 to 82 degree zone safe for the cooling setting? The rate of which mold grows will become a problem in a home within that range and could bring the levels of humidity up to 60-70% in the Spring and Summer months. Thoughts? Having an instant hot water heater vs. a tank is also a good way to conserve and doing laundry at night is always better or during cooler days. Having the AC battle the dryer is not a good fight to be in the middle of, $$..

  54. Susan Thompson

    Interesting! All the items we use for comfort and saving (?). I got a better idea, why not just drop FPL altogether. Wonder what the HOA would have to say.

  55. Bob Iorio

    Does FPL have a way to reduce my hot water tank temperature between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. This could be similar to a set back thermostat as used on AC/heater units.

  56. Adeline Gloade

    I thought that being away for a long time that I would see a marked difference in my bill but have been very disappointed by the bills I received. I live in a single family home and I also live alone I believe that considering all of that my did not change much.

  57. Irene Ramey

    Thank you so much, great info. I recently installed an electric Hot Water Heater that is installed on the wall, does this save?

  58. Carolyn Veihl

    How much does a 5.3 small reference use?

  59. Frank Squire

    You mentioned the air-conditioner as the number one energy user. Actually the electric heat is right up there depending on usage. Electric heat is very expensive to operate per kilowatt hour

  60. lillian sheridan

    PLEASE TELL ME IF I NO longer have a computer will this bring down the cost? I now own a tablet. Please respond.as soon as , thank you. Lillian Sheridan

  61. Frank Rodriguez

    Very helpful....

  62. dan dummeyer

    How much of a savings is there by installing a new variable speed pump?

  63. Judith Bickel

    I travel a lot and before leaving turn down my water heater when not at home for 4 days. Recently had elements replaced and the plumber says this will not save much money. With the water heater listing as #3 on the list of appliances that use the most electricity, please clarify.

  64. Richard Rish

    Winter and summer pool run times you suggest are good. With a variable speed pump I run winter at slow (1400 RPM;200 watts) and summer at moderate (1850 Rpm: 400 watts). The pool used to run with a fixed speed pump 10 hours at more than 3000 RPM (2KW). Needless to say my bill savings have been quite significant. Your suggestions might well include comment on pump speed as an additional variable in the equation.

  65. Susan Ammann

    I just love checking my bill every month and seeing that even though I've used more kw than last year, my bill is consistently lower than it was the year before! I think that's great. I use all those big ticket kw users every month like most others do, including a sprinkler pump, and am thrilled with what I pay every month. It always surprises me that the bill is lower than I think it will be. Years ago, tho, we had solar hot water, and I just loved that. With three active boys at the time, it really saved money.

  66. A.FORD


  67. Jerry Shepard

    Is there an economical way to run a Spa? I have a spa which my family loves to run at 101F and I have a conflict with them if I seek to move it down. Would a timer be helpful in limiting its run time, similar to the conversation above regarding the pool pump? Thank you.

  68. Roberto Lagomasino

    It's doing it the old fashion way. Whenever I wash heavy items \ clothes like towels and jeans, I let the sun dry them for me, yes they get a little hard but I then put them in the dryer for only about 10 min with a fabric softener and they come out soft and with a nice smell. I think I'm saving energy by not having the dryer run for 45 min or more trying to dry the heavy items. When I wash my small rugs I also put them out to dry.

  69. Pamela

    Is there some sort of credit for getting impact resistant windows and doors in your home? Pamela

  70. Frank Mattes

    Why does FPL charge your bill by temperature,and by consumption?

  71. Charles Hall

    Looking forward to safe money .Thank you

  72. Edward Arnold

    What about refrigerators?

  73. DeusCat@Eurosolar

    How do PCs fare? I'm not talking laptops, I mean big stationary ones.

Heating your home

We are new to the area and new to central A/C. In December, we had some cold days and turned the heat on. The increase in our bill was substantial. Does heating use that much more energy than the A/C?



FPL reserves the right to edit any user submissions to "Ask the Energy Expert" for brevity or clarity. Publication of readers' questions or comments is at the sole discretion of FPL.