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Which household appliances use the most electricity?

By FPL Expert

Asked on: October 11, 2013 by Trina A., Miami

Which appliances use the most electricity in the house and contribute the most to your electric bill?

Air Conditioner
There is one appliance here in Florida that works hard year-round – your air conditioner. It takes a lot of energy to keep your home cool in our hot, humid climate especially in the warmer months. That’s why we recommend keeping your A/C thermostat set to 78 degrees when you are home and 82 degrees when you are away to help manage energy costs. 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!

Pool Pump
While swimming pools can help you cool off, pool pumps are actually the second biggest energy user in a home. To save energy with this appliance, we recommend you limit your pool 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 about variable speed pumps that deliver big monthly savings.

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 kit to insulate the pipes for under $5. 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 from 140 degrees to 120 degrees can also help you save about $10 a year. Learn more about water heaters and ways to save.

Lighting is the fourth largest energy user for homeowners. But 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

Other Energy Users
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.

For more tips around your home, try our interactive house to get room-by-room tips that can help you save energy and money on your electric bill.


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Comments [45]

  1. Temecula Electrician

    Very well said… Thanks for sharing some great thoughts. Surely will help save money from electric bills.

  2. Jay Vann

    want to no more about this dashboard how do i use it and where is it?

  3. Maurice Glazer

    My central air conditioner is a Fedders, 40 years old. I use it for three months every year (July, August, September)It cools just fine. Is it worth the cost to replace it or use it like it is till it breaks?

  4. Gilbert Weber

    I have a 23 year old electric GE appliances including fridge, dishwasher and stove/oven. Do you think that changing these appliance would reduce the power I consume in our condo.

  5. Nancy

    I have two Chihuahuas in the house at what deg should I have my a/c.

  6. Hank Scherer

    What is the hourly cost to operate a 1500 Watt electric fireplace?? On cool days is it less costly to run the fireplace vs using the A/C unit outsides with the strip heaters?

  7. Kate

    I have a Smart Meter. I want to know what the flashing numbers represent. On occasion I see ADL, what does that mean?
    Thank you, Kate

  8. Tower Utility

    Good to know

  9. Les

    I replaced my old pool pump with a variable speed pool pump, I am saving over 20 percent on my electric bill. To bad FP L does not support the variable speed pump with a rebate, like most other utilities. I asked about rebates a year ago, still waiting for an answer.

  10. Sandra

    This great information update. This will help all families save on their FPL bills.

  11. Ashish.Poly

    Very Informative posts…
    Thank you for posting..

  12. Ron

    I noticed no mention was made of the electric stove.
    How Come??

  13. Marco Bisogno

    I used to have a timer on my hot water heater and it saved me tons of money per month. If you time it right you hardly ever have to override the off times. I have dual hot water heaters at my vacation rental and I am considering having timers installed on them, they are eating power like crazy!

  14. Danielle LaMarche

    RE Hot Water Heaters: i switched to a Tankless hot water heater. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! My bill was $36.00 lower the first month! AND the water is hoter than before! Best thing ever I did for my house and wallet! Less moeny, less space it takes up. No tank to rustout and leak! The BEST!!!

  15. Diane

    Have 22yr old appliances….still in working condition. Would my electric bill go down if new appliances were purchased?

  16. Gertrude farber

    My NEW hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker to my master bathroom and master bedroom.

    I only use it o LOW, not high…..AND when I push the COOL button it does it then also….



  17. Arthur Rey

    Ok we have the smart meter & as now we are away for 3 weeks & we unplug most lamps ..& our computer…washer & dryer & 3 TV’s in our home and when we return home & get our FP&L bill our bill is high…don’t tell me cause there is a draft coming into my home maybe from windows cause we replaced 5 windows so far in our home…and our A/C thermostat is set on 81 degrees…so tell me why????

  18. Matt

    I have a refrigerator that is only a year or so old, has an Energy Star rating of $51. What I don’t understand, is the two fans (one in the freezer on top, one to cool the compressor) seem to run a lot. I hear the fans shut off for about 15 minutes, and then they kick back on. Is this normal for a new fridges to run their fans that long?

    Thanks for any answers to this

  19. Shailesh

    What number will electric cooking range come in?

  20. carlos r costa

    I need a new insulation on my full celing how u can help me

  21. anthony pignatelli

    is it better to switch to an electric tankless heater fron an electri tank water heater?
    My wife and I live in a 1000 sq ft condo. We have a dish washer and a washer and drier. Very rare we have overnight guests.
    Would you suggest to switch if the replacement cost is somehow more.

    1. Danielle LaMarche

      ABSOLUTELY!!! i did and my bill was $336.00 less the next mont. Water is hotter than before, and not tanks to worry about rusting out over time, and take up lots of space. BEST EVER!!!

  22. Sonja Shiner

    I will certainly look for the Energy Star next time I purchase anything. Thank you for the input. Very nice to know.

  23. Kathleen McHugh

    Please help me understand why my FPL bill continues to be as high as it is even though I leave my therostat at 78,had a new air conditioner installed Dec 2012 (15 Seer) and I live alone? I have tried to conserve energy and keep my cost down but I have not succeeded. Do you have any answers?

    Concerned Customer

  24. peter a

    If I am away for 5 months,is it wise to shut down the refrigerator?

    1. Michael Fairhurst

      As your refrigerator ages, its mechanical components gets tired, it will gradually get less efficient take more electricity to run. Keep the old one and put it in the garage when you get a new one for the main house? Not worth it!

  25. glenn smith

    why is it that ever since I put in a new Gas hot water heater, a new AC and a new GAS range that my electric bill is higher than ever before?

  26. Jim

    Better way to save money with a electric water heater. Olny if you do not have small children. First, turn off the power to your water heater. Then drain it. Get a piece of dence foam that is a little bit bigger than the water heater is round. Put under water heater. There is no insulation on the bottom of water heaters. You lose a lot of energy to the concrete. 2nd, you wrap your water heater in a really good insulation blanket and tape it up reel good. Don’t forget the top. Now the last step will save money on your electric bill and your water bill. Yes, you’re water bill. Turn the temperature on your water heater all the way up (150 degrees). This does 2 things. One is that the cold water coming into the water heater doesn’t dilute the hot water so fast, so the water heater doesn’t turn on so soon. Number 2, saving water, since the water is hotter. You don’t have to turn the hot water side of your faucet on as much to get the temperature you want. Therefore, you save on your water bill too.

  27. Donald Sammis

    A useful accessory would be a portable plug-in wattmeter so you could monitor your own appliance usage. I would envision a small black box with a digital readout. A selector switch to measure , watts, or amps, or volts, or cumulative usage, or cost . With a cord and plug to attach this device to the socket in the wall and a receptical on the box it would be easy to install and monitor. Alas, another of my million dollar ideas unexploited

  28. Dave Hall

    I turned my hot water heater down to 90 to save money. It makes for shorter showers in the winter when the air is chilly.

    I put a window a/c unit in my bedroom to keep cool, rather than cool the entire house. I put a TV in my bedroom. I used ceiling fans in other areas of the house as needed during the summer.

  29. Isabel

    My electric bill has been increasing more than ten dollars each month for the last six months, that means that I’m paying about $60 more.
    I use energy saving bulbs, the washer and dryer are only used twice a week, and I’m blaming it on my air conditioner that is thirteen years old, but works OK. Can the AC be responsible for such an unusual increase in my electric bill? I can’t afford a new AC. Is there any plan that would help me pay for an Energy Saving AC if this is the case?

  30. Jim Cusick

    What about ceiling fans?

  31. Jean Thompson

    Where do get the $5 kit for the water heater? Can FPL supply it?

  32. Andrew

    I agree that A/C use a most amount of energy but I don’t agree with setting thermostat, I set the on 77 degrees a 24 hours a day and I save almost 50% of my bill.

  33. Frank Murphy

    What are:
    The optimun humidistat settings for the AC when the house is occupied and unoccupied? And the thermostat should be set at what temperature?

  34. john roland

    I would like to know if it makes economic sense to turn off my ac
    when I’m away from home for a few hours.

    1. Danielle LaMarche

      I do, I turn ot off. Cools fast when i gt home. I am a bit nutz, buti actually track my usage onthe new meters it is easy yo read you usage daily, andi write it down, and i can see the difference in the usage when i have turned off the AC for 4hrs or more, for sure!!! It adds up. If oyu are outof the house for 4+ hours, Turn it off! Also, I do have that new, not -freon coolant, right now i forget what it is called, but it is more efficient, and cooler.

  35. donna astorino

    Hi, should we run our ceiling fans when we have the aA/C on? Does this help?

    How about when we are away for 4 to 6 months, (on the above question).

    thanks so much

  36. Richard Soucy

    I had my complete system replaced last year. I even had the technician go in my attic and look at the heating/cooling duct work and found that I was cooling the attic more than I was the house. It was old, cracked, and broken in several places. So, when they installed a newer, more efficient system, they also replaced the duct work in the attic. It made a very big difference.

  37. Mr. Constantine Houpis

    The cost of using fans to keep cool instead of lowering the thermostat

  38. Caleb

    There are many energy efficient appliances that work well and will help you save on energy cost. I would look into which appliances that you use are energy efficient and which are not.

  39. Another Bad Episode

    Was there a fpl program to update old ventilation systems? my ac is new running all day on 75 and nothing happens at the end of the house

    1. Brian Konkal

      Do you have a list of reliable air conditioning contractors to choose from in the West Palm Beach area

  40. Kim Nguyen

    I leave my ac running automatically when the temperature in the house get up to 80 deg to cool the house, it’ll stop when it reaches to 79 deg. is it the right way to do? what is your suggestion?

    1. Mike

      That is the way to do it if you’re home. I’m away from home for 12 hours a day. When I leave in the morning I turn my a/c off, and back on to cool when I get home, leaving the therm at 77. In doing this I noticed a huge energy savings, on average about $80 a month. If you’re away from home for a certain length of time this will def. save you money. I’m not sure of the minimum amount of time spent away from home to offset the energy use of the start-up and re-cooling of the house. But I want to say it’s somewhere around 3 hours or more. Kind of like if you’re idling your car for more than a minute it’s more gas efficient to turn your car off for that length of time. just saying.


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