What's the average monthly electric bill for a three- or four-bedroom house?

on February 26, 2020

Owning a house is a lot of work. You've got more appliances, more rooms to heat and cool, and more lights to remember to turn off. All this adds up to a whole lot less money in your wallet. In fact, the Energy Information Administration reported that the average residential monthly electric bill was $117.65 in 2018. Electricity costs vary widely by location; the average Hawaiian residential consumer spends $203 every month on electricity.

When you own a house, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to lowering your electric bill.

Your electric bill is made up of a combination of energy-reliant devices and appliances. Your HVAC unit and refrigerator make up the majority of your charges, but smaller appliances such as lights, hair dryers, and televisions will begin to add up if you use them frequently.

With several small modifications or some big investments in the energy-efficiency of your home, you can see years of savings on your electric bill.

Proper insulation

When you own a house, one of the best long-term investments you can make to save money is proper insulation. You’d be amazed at the amount of heat that your house loses in the winter and gains in the summer when it lacks adequate insulation. Household insulation materials work to combat conductive heat flow so that you stay comfortable without needing to blast your heater or AC. Insulation can also benefit your hot water heater and pipes. R-8 insulated jackets for hot water heaters can help reduce heat loss by 25-45 percent, saving you 4-9 percent in heating costs.

More efficient appliances

Another great option is replacing your older appliances and devices with ENERGY STAR-certified appliances. An ENERGY STAR-qualified appliance uses 10 to 50 percent less energy than a standard appliance. Because appliances generally make up 20 percent of a household’s energy use, ENERGY STAR appliances can save the average consumer $80 per year in energy costs compared to standard household appliances. We’ve included some of ENERGY STAR’s best picks for 2020, with their annual energy usage.

  • Standard Refrigerator: Beko BFBF2412WH (294 kWh)
  • 50” Television: AVGO NN42Z (83.7 kWh)
  • Standard Clothes Washer (4.3 cubic feet): Electrolux EFLW427**** (60 kWh)

Idle energy use

You can also change some habits to lower your electric bill. Cutting down on what's called phantom load is a great measure to take. Whenever your electrical devices are plugged into an outlet, even if they are turned off, they are still using power that gets charged to your electric bill. Ten percent of residual energy usage is from this standby power that we don’t even realize we’re using. This costs the average household $100 every year.

You can use smart power strips to reduce this unnecessary energy usage or you can simply unplug devices that you're not using. Smart strips are a great way to save energy wasted by the devices you use most or those that are difficult to disconnect from power.