Take a look at your electric bill, specifically the portion that breaks down the actual charges. On most bills, it will show how many kWh (kilowatt hours) were used during the previous month and the rate per hour.
So the question is, what is a kilowatt hour? Simply put, a kilowatt hour is a measurement of energy equivalent to using 1000 watts over a one hour time period. And it is what electric companies primarily use to calculate your final bill.
Per Year, the Average American Home Uses 11,000 Kilowatt Hours
Doing the math that means the average home uses roughly 900 kWh per month. Usage fluctuates throughout the year with most power being consumed in the summer and winter months. Air conditioning and heating units are the biggest culprits when it comes to higher electric bills. In fact, these units could make up more than 50 percent of the actual expense.
If you are a smart consumer when it comes to using electricity, then you are aware of how to save money using your air conditioning and heating units. For example, if you live in Michigan, simply dialing down your heater by three degrees during the winter can save you up to $30 per month. And conversely, raising the temperature a bit higher during the summer months can save you money as well.
Putting One Kilowatt Hour Into Perspective
So the question is, what is one kilowatt hour equivalent to? Here are a few examples:
- Running a 1000 watt air conditioning window unit for one hour
- Using a 1000 watt hair dryer for one hour
- Using a 100 watt light-bulb for 10 hours
- Running a 750 watt refrigerator for 90 minutes
- Running a 70 watt stereo for 14 hours
- Watching television for one hour
- Vacuuming for one hour
- Cooking breakfast for a family of four
- Listening to the radio for 20 hours
- Working on a computer for 5 to 10 hours
- Washing 12 pounds of laundry
Other Interesting Numbers
- A hot wash, warm rinse laundry cycle uses 4.5 kWh per load
- A DVR uses approximately 28.8 kWh per month
- A frost free Energy Star refrigerator (21 Cu/Ft) uses 123 kWh per month