These common household items are likely driving up your energy costs

Light switch. (Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels.)

It’s comforting to know that, when you turn on your stove to cook or flick on your bathroom’s light switch in the middle of the night, your home’s appliances are ready to provide the electricity you need.

What might not be as comforting is finding out how much energy some of these items are actually using.

Check out this list of the top energy-guzzling appliances in your home, and tips that can help you reduce energy use and save on your monthly energy costs:

  • Heating and cooling: Michiganders know how cold our winters can get, but did you know heating and cooling makes up around 47% of a home’s energy use? You can help lower that usage with some simple steps:
    • Make sure to change your HVAC filter at least every three months.
    • Seal air leaks around doors, fireplaces and windows.
    • Use a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust your home’s temperature.
  • Water heater: Nothing beats a hot shower, but your water heater makes up 14% of the home’s energy use. Consider taking short showers instead of baths. This can lower your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees, and for every 10-degree reduction in temperature, you can save between 3% to 5% on your water heating costs. Another way to save is by using cold water for your laundry, when able.
  • Lighting: Lighting accounts for up to 12% of a home’s energy use, but simple actions like switching to LED lightbulbs will help you use up to 90% less energy.
  • Washer and dryer: If you’ve considered looking for a new washer or dryer, give an ENERGY STAR option a spin. The washing machines use 25% less energy and 33% less water than standard models, while the dryers use 20% less energy.
  • Refrigerator: Keeping your refrigerator’s temperature 10 degrees lower than what’s recommended on your appliance will increase the amount of energy it uses by 25%. As a general rule of thumb, your refrigerator should stay between 36 and 38 degrees, and freezers should be set between 0 and 5 degrees.
  • Electric oven: Your electric oven accounts for up to 4% of your home’s energy use. You can try using a convection oven (which can help lower your cook time and use 20% less energy each month), cook more than one dish at a time, or use your oven’s self-cleaning feature after you cook to conserve energy. Ovens with this ability have an insulation system that allows less energy to be used while baking.
  • TV/DVD/cable box: Your television and cable/DVD systems account for 3% of your home’s energy use. Turn off your TV and cable/DVD when you’re not watching, use a power strip to efficiently power down these electronic devices, or switch newer-model TVs to energy–saving mode to decrease energy use by a third or.
  • Dishwasher: Your dishwasher accounts for 2% of your home’s energy use. However, a standard-sized ENERGY STAR dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run, which can save you an average of 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime. Plus, waiting to use it until you have a full load can help you see more monthly savings.
  • Computer: A 1% energy use may not seem that high, but every penny you can save counts. Sleep mode is a great way to limit your computer’s energy use, or if you don’t plan to use it for a longer period of time, simply turn it off.

You can download the DTE Insight app to see your energy use in real-time. Learn more about our energy efficiency programs, rebates and tips at