All of us use electricity every day. If you don't, you're probably not reading this blog anyway. When the electricity bill comes every month, we look at it, wish it was lower, then pay it. Then when winter comes, the bill goes way up, but we don't really do too much about it. Maybe we'll turn down the thermostat a little, but it only makes a dent in the bill.
To try to understand more about our electricity use, we'll look at major appliances and entertainment devices to see how juice our things are sucking up. Because we have juice suckers.
The Power List
Most of these values are taken from this site, which provides data for the average annual cost based on a four-person household. I have arranged them with the biggest offenders on top.
- Hot Tub - $501
- Electric Heater - $210
- Swimming Pool - $153
- Clothes Dryer - $126
- Water Heater - $102
- Refrigerator - $70-165
- 42-inch Plasma TV - $82
- Window Air Conditioner - $38
- Oven - $35
- Stove Top - $32
- 27-inch LCD TV - $30
- Playstation 4 - $23
- Dishwasher - $22
- Xbox One - $18
- Microwave - $18
- Incandescent Light - $17
- Clothes Washer - $15
- Desktop Computer - $13
- Coffee Maker - $8
- Wii U - $5
- Laptop - $2
- Bathroom Ventilation Fan - $2
- Compact Fluorescent Light - $2
- iPhone 6 - $0.47
As you can see, anything to do with heating or water takes the most power, with a hot tub being an absolute beast. Now let's break down some of these items to see what we could do better.
Hot Tub - Don't own one. Or make friends that do. If you're trying to keep the power bill low, this is one to avoid.
Electric Heater - This $200 comes around during the cold months, so each winter month might be $40-50 each. This is where we can man up and face the elements a little more. As great as it is to wear a tank top and shorts during a Christmas blizzard, it's actually good for our bodies to acclimate to different temperatures. It conditions us to be more comfortable in uncomfortable environments. I'm not saying you should be shivering on the floor all winter, but you could put on a warm sweater, invest in some fuzzy slippers, and get cozy that way. There's really something nice about being warm under layers while the air is crisp and cool.
Refrigerator - This variable price comes mostly from the age of your fridge. If you're still using an old refrigerator from 20 years ago, you're probably paying up to $165 every year. If you have a shiny new one, you're only looking at around $70. This means if you buy a new fridge today, it would pay for itself in about five years. Better yet, find a used one on Craigslist that's only a couple years old.
Television and Video Games - This brackets has huge variation as well. A plasma TV with an Xbox One or PS4 could run $100+ every year with moderate usage. Trim it down to a smaller, efficient LCD TV and a Wii U and it could be as low as $35/year. Better yet, use your laptop for casual gaming and watching shows and movies to get down to $2/year. So much savings!
Incandescent vs Compact Fluorescent Lights - At a difference of $15 per light, per year, it's easy to recommend upgrading all of your lights immediately. Pick up an 8-pack for $12 and save yourself a ton on your electricity bill.
iPhone 6 - Other smartphones will be around the same price, but I pulled the stats for the new iPhone. At less than half a dollar every year, the iPhone 6 is one of the most inexpensive forms of digital entertainment when it comes to power consumption. I'm not counting the cost of the device itself or the monthly data plan, but I assume you already have a smartphone to utilize.
- Use less climate control and compensate by dressing for the weather
- Upgrade your old gear to much more efficient models
- Use smartphones and laptops over consoles and TVs when possible
With a little bit of work up front, you could save hundreds of dollars every year on your power bill alone. Add that to efficient toilet paper usage and taking shorter showers and you'll be rolling in the dough!