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The biggest power consumers in the household

In times of increased energy prices, high inflation, and economic uncertainty, it is worthwhile to examine the biggest (avoidable) power consumers. Here's a brief overview of the potential savings that almost every household can achieve.

Where sweeping with a broom, handwashing, or drawing the curtains once sufficed, everything is now done with state-of-the-art technology. The robotic vacuum cleaner navigates the floor, the dishwasher takes care of the dishes, and the smart home not only controls lights and shading but also waters the garden lawn at the desired times. What was once done manually and by hand is now automated, resulting in increased electricity consumption. Rising energy prices, climate protection, and self-sufficiency considerations provide enough reasons to reduce electricity consumption and save energy in the household. That's why we have summarized the biggest power consumers in the household and provide tips on energy-saving!

WLAN Router

A constant internet connection has become a necessity for many, whether for work, leisure, internet surfing, streaming movies, or social media – the small WLAN router works for us 24/7. However, WLAN routers have a considerable power consumption and reveal themselves as real power consumers over time – calculated with an electricity price of €0.30 per kilowatt-hour:

Consumption: 0.12 – 0.36 kWh per day / 43.8 – 131.4 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €40

In order to save costs, the WLAN router can be switched off during times when the internet is not needed. Many modern WLAN routers already have a timer to automatically shut down during nighttime. Just turning it off during the night hours can reduce the annual consumption by almost half.

Television, Computer, Laptop, etc.

Even though televisions have become larger and slimmer over time, with better resolution and more extensive features, technology has ensured that modern TVs do not necessarily consume more power. However, this product group, including additional devices such as receivers, consumes more than expected:

Consumption: around 150 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €45

Energy-saving features or automatic shutdown in new models can help save electricity. However, savings can also be achieved by reducing screen brightness, shortening operating times, or avoiding standby mode.

Good to know

Tip: Using a power strip with a switch allows all devices (TV, receiver, etc.) to be turned off with a single click.

Dishwasher

Few people enjoy washing dishes by hand anymore, making the dishwasher an indispensable appliance for many. While the dishwasher is more energy-efficient than manual washing, it still consumes a considerable amount of electricity over the year.

Consumption: 200 – 250 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €75

To save costs, the appliance should always be loaded well, and if possible, the Eco program should be used as it consumes the least electricity and water.

Lighting

Especially in lighting, there is a growing trend: more and more lamps and light sources adorn living spaces, and proper lighting concepts are in demand. However, a significant part of the annual electricity costs in a household is caused by lighting.

Consumption: around 330 kWh per year

Annual costs: around €100

To reduce costs in lighting, the primary consideration is to keep the lights on as little as possible. Dusk sensors can provide support. Infrequently used rooms can be equipped with motion detectors, and depending on room usage, timers might be useful.

Saving on lighting does not mean sitting in the dark! Switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to LED lamps offers significant savings potential. LED lamps not only have a longer lifespan than other types of bulbs but also consume significantly less electricity than energy-saving lamps.

Washing Machine and Dryer

Washing clothes in the washing machine and then effortlessly drying them in the dryer has become a matter of course in today's time. However, the convenience comes at a cost.

Consumption: 300 – 600 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €180

Even if laundry cannot be avoided, it can still be optimized. To reduce annual power consumption, it is advisable to collect laundry and fully load the machine so that turning it on is worthwhile. Not only the choice of washing program but also the washing temperature should be well thought out – often 30 or 40 degrees are sufficient. The Eco program should generally be preferred.

After washing, the clothes often go into the dryer without much thought; this is not always necessary. Especially in summer, clothes can be easily dried outdoors, and even in winter, laundry can be hung indoors. A great side effect is that dry heating air is humidified, improving the indoor climate.

Refrigerator and Freezer

Two appliances that consume electricity around the clock are the refrigerator and freezer. Each device consumes approximately 200 to 350 kWh annually.

Consumption: around 400 – 700 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €210

To save electricity – and therefore money – one should not keep the door open longer than necessary. The choice of location also plays a significant role: refrigerators and freezers should not be placed next to the stove or heater, as more energy is needed to maintain the cold. Setting the devices to a lower cooling and freezing temperature also unnecessarily consumes a lot of electricity. Temperatures of +5°C to +7°C in the refrigerator and -18°C in the freezer are optimal. If an ice layer forms on the back of the appliance, it means the temperature is set too low. In this case, defrosting the appliance is essential, as it also helps save electricity.

Electric Stove / Oven

For those who love cooking and baking, the electricity consumption is substantial: around 500 to 800 kWh per year in a household with four people!

Consumption: around 500 – 800 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €240

With a few tips and tricks, you can save electricity and money while cooking: Always use the smallest possible cookware, as it heats up faster than larger ones. However, it is crucial to use a pot or pan of the right size – if they are too large, heating takes unnecessarily long; if they are too small, energy is wasted. To retain heat, always use a lid – this way, residual heat is also utilized.

Using the residual heat from the stove to preheat the oven can save time and money, as preheating the oven is often not necessary. Instead of top and bottom heat, the convection function is usually sufficient.

However, the stove or oven does not have to be the only kitchen appliances. A kettle or an egg cooker serves their purpose precisely, quickly, and consumes much less electricity. The microwave can also be a helpful alternative.

Hot water

To heat water to an average of 45 degrees, a heating system requires approximately 600 to 800 kWh per year per person. For a four-person household, this corresponds to an energy demand of about 2,400 to 3,200 kWh per year, making it one of the biggest power consumers in the entire household.

Consumption: around 2,400 – 3,200 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €960

Hot water is needed for many household activities: showering, bathing, cooking, laundry, dishwashing, and more. While we've already discussed how to save water and electricity here, the costs for hot water depend not only on individual consumption behaviour but also on the technology used:

  • Set the water heater temperature correctly

  • Insulate heating pipes and hot water lines comprehensively

  • Operate circulation pump efficiently

  • Use PV electricity for hot water

Using heating rods, solar electricity from the photovoltaic system can be used to heat hot water storage. This way, hot water generation is especially cost-effective in the sun-intensive summer months. Even better, with continuously adjustable devices that intelligently control the generated electricity from a PV system based on surplus energy! This allows precise dosing of the heat output of the heating rods when excess solar power is available. my-PV offers solutions falling into this category.

Many references demonstrate that from March to October, no other energy source is necessary for hot water production, and even in the winter months, significant support with solar energy can be achieved through photovoltaic heat.

Check out our website for more information on hot water with photovoltaics.

Warmwasser mit PV

Heating

The energy consumption of the heating depends on factors such as heat generation, heating behavior, weather, heating demand (due to the condition and age of the building), the chosen heating system, and the heated area. The electricity consumption – for example, of a heat pump – ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 kWh per year for a thermally renovated single-family house with a four-person household and a heated area of 140 m².

Consumption: around 3,000 – 5,000 kWh per year

Annual costs: up to around €1,500

With the right energy behaviour and optimized technology, heating costs can also be saved:

  • Set the correct temperature

  • Insulate the single-family house

  • Technical condition of the heating

  • Regular maintenance of the heating

  • Heating with photovoltaics

With innovative products from my-PV, energy can finally be used in the house to use it for something meaningful like heating. Heating with photovoltaics means about 30% lower operating costs and up to 30% lower investment costs compared to conventional heating systems (e.g., air heat pumps). It is essential to know that photovoltaics in our latitudes not only yield good results in the summer but can also supply significant energy in the winter.

This applies not only to electric heating systems; photovoltaic energy can also be used for heating support. A heating rod with continuous power control can make the difference: even the lower yield of the PV system in sun-poor months can be used precisely to heat the buffer storage, saving money.

Check out our website for more information on heating with photovoltaics.

How to Easily Save Money

The biggest power consumers in terms of consumption and resulting annual costs are clearly defined. Relying on the power of the sun for hot water and heating, especially with a photovoltaic system – and above all, a continuously adjustable device for photovoltaic heat – not only serves household consumers but also offers significant savings potential.

How to harness the power of the sun to increase the self-consumption of your own photovoltaic system and simultaneously save on other (fossil) energy sources for heating, is straightforwardly explained on our website, where we detail the various application possibilities of photovoltaic heat.

References

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