Staff on November 19, 2014 1 Comment See how these four appliances are siphoning money from your wallet. When you get your energy bill in the mail, do you ever wonder which one of your appliances is the biggest drain on your wallet? While your furnace and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, you might be surprised by the amount of power some of your smaller, everyday appliances are using. We’ve previously discussed a few home improvements that will cut your energy bills, but here we’ve outlined a list of the top four most surprising appliances that are jacking up your energy bill. We’ve also included a few quick tips to keep these surprising energy-eaters in check. 1. Cable Box Everyone has their list of must-watch TV shows, but did you know that your cable box is one of the biggest power hogs in your home? Even if you’re not watching cable and have your box turned off, it’s still using energy. It’s been estimated that a set-top box with a digital recorder uses about as much energy when it’s turned on as it does when it’s turned off. If you keep your cable box forever plugged in, you’re spending an average $8 a month for the convenience of flipping on your favorite program. Solution: Unplug your box at night. Get in the habit of unplugging your cable box before you go to bed and plug it back in when you wake up. 2. Gaming System If you or someone in your family is a gamer, your energy bill might seem a bit higher than usual. In fact, recently released gaming systems are more energy efficient, but you’re still spending about $40 a year to let your kids play Super Mario Brothers (or whatever the hottest game is these days). Solution: Cut down on gaming time. 3. Washer and Dryer How much money do you think you spend to wash and dry your clothes? How about $200 a year? Maybe $300? Nope, it costs the average homeowner about $400 a year just to keep his or her clothes clean and dry. Solution: With other energy-guzzling appliances, you can just cut back on usage, but it’s not like you can cut back on the amount of laundry you do, right? Instead you can upgrade your laundry appliances to newer, more energy-efficient models. In fact, it’s estimated that a new front-load washer can save you $100 a year. If you don’t want to upgrade your appliances, wash your clothes in cold water. When you dry your clothes, add a dry towel to the load to absorb moisture and cut drying time. Remove the towel about halfway through the cycle and let it air dry. 4. Computers In today’s digital world, computers are a necessity. Whether you’re typing away on a laptop or a desktop computer, you might be surprised by how much you’re spending to keep these devices running. If you use a desktop computer, your machine and monitor are probably costing you about $50 to $75 a year. Of course, that number would increase if your computer is on more than eight hours a day, or if you use your computer to do a lot of heavy lifting like 3D animation or video editing. Laptops don’t draw nearly as much energy and only cost about $20 to $35 a year to run. You can figure out exactly how much your computer is costing you by using this handy calculator. Solution: If you’re working on an older desktop, it might be time to switch to a laptop. You’ll have a portable workstation and save money on energy costs. A lot of people think that using a screen saver is a way to save money, but unfortunately, it likely doesn’t save much, if anything at all. Using sleep mode, however, can save you a few bucks a year. Other Pricey Appliances in Your Home While the appliances listed above might be surprising increases to your monthly bill, there are plenty of other not-so-surprising appliances in your home that cost you a pretty energy penny, too. Heating and cooling your home is your biggest energy expense. The average homeowner spends about $1,145 a year to maintain a comfortable temperature in his or her home. Of course, these same homeowners can cut down on their overall energy expenses by following a supplemental heating strategy. This is a process of using a portable air conditioner or space heater to keep the temperature at a comfortable level in the room you are occupying, instead of heating/cooling your entire house. Here’s a quick list of appliances and energy costs from the U.S. Department of Energy. Older refrigerator — $80/year Lights — $115/year Electric stove and oven — $1,034/year Saving money on your energy costs isn’t hard, you just have to know what works and what doesn’t. By analyzing your usage of the four appliances listed above, you’ll have a better outlook on what you can be doing differently around your home.