This Is the Home Appliance That's Killing Your Energy Bill

Plus: one simple tip that will slash your costs by 10 percent.

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If your electric bill eats up a significant portion of your monthly budget, you're not alone. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American household spends $111.67 on electricity in a single calendar month. Over the course of a year, that amounts to a whopping $1,340.04. However, when it comes to your electrical bill, know this: your appliances aren't created equal. Everything in your house—from your major appliances right on down to tiny plug-ins, like phone chargers—contributes differently to that four-figure fee.

So, which is the most expensive appliance to run?

Data from Energystar.gov reveals that the appliances eating up the most of your hard-earned cash are the ones you use to cool and heat your house. Furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners account for 46 percent of domestic energy usage on average, with heating equipment making up 29 percent of that cost. And bringing up the rear in the heating and cooling category is your hot water heater, which typically accounts for 14 percent of a home's electricity bill.

Sure, while most people would be loath to keep their house at subtropical temperatures in the summer, brave a deep freeze in the winter, or take a shower frigid enough to classify as a Polar Plunge, there are plenty of ways to lower your electrical costs while maintaining a livable indoor climate.

"If you want to lower your costs, just turn those appliances off when you leave the house," suggests George James, an electrician with New York City Electricians. And on those days it's a little too hot or cold to turn your furnace or A/C off completely, adjusting the temperature by just a few degrees can make a major difference. According to the Department of Energy, changing your thermostat by just one degree for an eight-hour period each day can cut electricity costs by up to one percent. And the savings keep growing—dial your thermostat down to 68 instead of 78 while you leave for work and you could slash your electricity costs by up as much as 10 percent.

And if you're eager to reduce your electrical spending throughout the rest of your house, James has a simple rule of thumb: "Anything with a motor pulls a lot of electricity—but a lightbulb, computer, coffee maker, or TV doesn't." That means that the less you use motor-based appliances like your washer and dryer, or the less you open the door on your fridge or freezer, the lower your bill will be. Math doesn't get more basic than that. And for more ways to keep your costs down, check out these 20 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Money.

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