Data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2018 quotes the average electricity use of a U.S. residential customer as 914 kWh/month and 10,972 kWh/year.
Hawaii had the lowest annual energy consumption (6,213 kWh/customer), and Tennessee had the highest annual rate of energy consumption (15,394 kWh/customer).
What Is A kilowatt Hour (kWh)?
When you look at your energy bill at the end of the month, you may just look at the total due so you can pay it and be on your way. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see the amount of energy you used in the month in kWh.
The total amount of kilowatt hours used is an important measurement to look at in order to see how you use electricity. It shows how much energy you’ve used each month.
Knowing your kWh total, and how it influences your energy bill, can help you become a savvy energy consumer. You can even bring down your electric bill when you understand what’s taking up the most energy.
A kWh is not how many kilowatts you use in an hour. In metric measurements a kilo=1,000, therefore, 1,000 watts is a kilowatt.
A kWh = Amount of energy needed to keep an appliance running at 1,000 watts for 1 hour
A kilowatt is a measure of energy; a kilowatt hour is the amount of energy an appliance will need to run for an hour.
So, if you kept a porch light with a 100 watt lightbulb on, it would take a total of 10 hours to use 1 kWh of energy.
In order to figure out how many kWh an appliance is using, you’d check how many watts the appliance runs. Essentially you divide the number of watts the appliance is into 1,000.
How To Calculate The Amount Of kWh An Appliance Uses
You’ll find that your cooling and heating system uses at least half of your energy bill. Your appliances usually take up the rest of the bill.
Make a list of the appliances you use in your home–the major ones you use everyday. There should be a label on your appliance that has a number or a spectrum of numbers followed by a “W” for “watt.” For example: 1900-2000W.
Then you want to take note of how many hours a day you use each of those appliances and write it next to their wattage. To calculate the kWh use this simple equation:
Use Per Day: 2 hours
300 x 2hrs = 600 watt-hours per day
600 watt-hours per day / 1000
= 0.6 kWh per day
If you want to find kWh per month, simply multiply kWh by days in the month:
0.6 kWh per day x 30 days = 18 kWh per month
What Other Factors Influence My Energy Bill?
Besides the fluctuation of energy from state to state, your energy use will also depend on how large your household is, the age of your home and appliances, how much you heat/cool your home, and the type of climate you live in.
What Does A kWh of Energy Cost?
So now that you understand kWh and how to calculate your appliances, you’ll want to figure out how much they’re costing you per month.
The cost of energy will change depending on where you’re living. Any alternative energy you’re using (such as solar) will also change your energy bill. Check out the average energy cost by state here.
This takes us back to where we started in this article. How much electricity does an average house use? We gave the averages, but now you have the tools to figure out how many kWh of energy you use in a day.
Your electric bill will show you the amount of kWh you use per month, and you can figure out your average per month for the year from that data. Some utility companies will offer online tools to track your energy consumption so you can adjust as necessary.
Now that you have an understanding of what your energy bill means and how to find out which appliances are your big energy users, you can reduce your energy bill by cutting down on energy waste.
Tips To Immediately Lower Your Energy Bill
If you follow the advice in this article and keep track of your home’s kWh usage, you have begun the process of being energy conscious.
Here are a few ways to reduce your average energy use where you can:
- Make sure to turn off lights you’re not using
- Adjust the thermostat to lower/higher (depending on the season) when you leave home for work or vacation
- Use (or upgrade) to energy-efficient appliances like ENERGY STAR
- Use power strips to easily turn off appliances that you’re not using. Electronics, like your TV, still use energy even when they’re turned off. It’s easy to turn off a bunch of inactive tech at once with the powerstrip
- Use alternate forms of energy such as solar energy. Solar is much more affordable than it ever has been, and it’s increasingly popular among homeowners to reduce their energy bill significantly