How many kWh does a house use?
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Many factors go into determining the kilowatt-hours (kWh) used by a specific home. The amount of kWh used in a home represents electricity usage, which determines a monthly electric bill. In the U.S., the average home uses about 900 kWh per month.
A home’s electricity usage will vary greatly depending on how big it is, how many people live in the home, and even the types of appliances used. Knowing the kWh usage in your home can help you plan for your electric bill, see where to reduce energy use, and help set you up for determining a solar system size.
We break down everything you need to know about how many kilowatt-hours your house uses and how you can save money on your electricity bills.
The average U.S. household uses about 900 kWh of electricity per month. That’s about 30 kWh per day or 10,800 kWh per year. When you look at the average electricity usage and the cost of electricity, you can expect an electric bill of about $135.
It is important to remember that the average kWh of electricity used is exactly that – an average. Your electricity bill could be way higher or way lower based on where you live, the time of year, the size of your house, and even the size of your family!
For instance, blasting the air conditioning (AC), charging an EV, and leaving lights on for hours will use more power than a neighbor who keeps the windows open, has a gas stove, and keeps lights off.
So, how can you figure out a more accurate estimate for your home? Let’s take a look.
Many factors go into electricity use. Home appliance use, heating, and cooling are some of the largest culprits, while household size and time of year can also influence your electricity use.
It is also important to note that if your home is all electric, the kWh usage will be higher. Home heated by gas or oil is not measured in kWh. But, an all-electric home can benefit extensively from solar savings – more on the benefits of solar below!
The size of your home significantly influences how many kWh of electricity it uses. It’s easy to assume that the larger the house, the more power it will use. Think about it: it takes much more energy to heat a large home than a studio apartment.
Based on the average home size in the U.S., about 2,000 square feet, and an average household electricity usage of 900 kWh, we can assume 0.45 kWh are used per square foot each month. This can help estimate how many kWh different-sized homes might use. A small apartment might use 400 kWh per month, while a large home could get closer to 2,000 kWh monthly!
Below, we’ve laid out how many kWh different-sized homes might use and an estimated electricity bill:
Household size, or how many people live in your house, can greatly influence your household electricity consumption. If there is one person in any size house, the bill will likely be low.
But if there is a family of five, energy use will probably be higher. Instead of one person getting ready for work, you’ll have someone blow-drying their hair, someone else running the toaster oven, and another person watching TV before school. All of the electricity each individual uses adds up!
Energy usage can vary widely from state to state for various reasons, from local climates to average house size.
An example of a state with high energy usage is Louisiana, where residential homes use an average of about 1,192 kWh of electricity per month. Louisiana’s hot summers cause homeowners to crank the air conditioning, eating up a bunch of electricity.
On the other hand, somewhere like Maine has a lower-than-average monthly electricity usage of 584 kWh. Maine doesn’t experience the same extreme summer temperatures as Louisiana. Most residential heating in Maine is powered by petroleum products, meaning homes won’t use as many kilowatt hours throughout the year to regulate their temperature.
How you use your electricity can significantly affect how much energy your house uses. If you leave your lights on 24/7 or the TV running overnight with the AC unit on full blast, your kWh usage will be high. But if you rely on sunlight during the day and opt for an open window on cooler days, your kWh usage can be kept low.
Certain characteristics of your house will impact this as well. Energy-efficient appliances, like those certified by Energy Star, use fewer kWh and lower your overall usage. How well your home is insulated can also play a large role in energy usage. The better insulated your home is, the less electricity you need to heat and cool it.
All electric homes will use more kWh of energy. Some houses run entirely on electricity - from their stove to their clothes dryer, even their heating system! When this is the case, the home will use more kWh than a home that has a gas stove or oil-based heating system. Keep this in mind when figuring out your own electricity usage!
No matter how well you plan and how much energy you save, sometimes the weather will win. If it’s the middle of summer in a heat wave, your AC will have to work overtime to keep your house cool. If your home is all-electric, the same is true for a below-freezing day.
The amount of kWh your home uses can vary based on factors beyond your control, such as the weather or the number of people in your home at one time.
Electricity costs an average of $0.15 per kWh in the United States. Based on the average monthly energy usage of 900 kWh, you can expect a typical electricity bill to be about $135.
But, electricity rates vary extensively throughout the country. Some states can expect an average price of about 10 cents, while others can be as high as 40 cents per kWh. The map below outlines the average electricity prices across the U.S.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides detailed data on average electricity costs across the United States. Source: EIA.gov
As you can see, electricity rates vary a lot. Let’s use the average energy usage for the country, 900 kWh, and see how much it would cost in both Hawaii (43.02 cents per kWh) and Washington (10.23 cents per kWh).
Hawaii: 900 kWh X $0.4302 = $387.10
Washington: 900 kWh X $0.1023 = $92.07
That's a $295.03 price difference for the same exact energy usage in two different states!
Energy costs vary based on how the energy is provided. In Hawaii’s case, the oil needs to be shipped in, whereas Washington relies more on cheap hydropower, leading to more energy savings for Washington residents.
The two best ways to use less electricity are practicing energy conservation and making energy-efficient home upgrades.
To figure out how to start reducing your energy usage, complete a home energy audit. You can hire a professional or complete one yourself using our DIY Energy Audit Checklist. Energy audits help you identify where you’re losing the most energy, so you can decide what changes need to be made.
For example, if your old windows are leaking hot or cold air or you still have incandescent lightbulbs, you need more electricity to keep your home at the right temperature and your lights on. By fixing drafty windows and switching to LEDs, you waste fewer kWh. You might even decide that installing a smart thermostat is right for you.
You can also use fewer kWh by changing your habits to conserve energy. Start turning off lights when you leave a room or open your windows instead of running your air conditioner when possible!
Not only will these changes lower your electricity usage, but they will also lower your electricity bills! Some fixes may cost you money upfront, but you’ll save energy in the long run.
The amount of kWh a home uses depends on its size, the number of people living there, and factors such as climate. You can find your specific energy usage by reading your electricity bills and tracking the kWh usage over time.
If you live in a state with extremely high electric rates (we’re looking at you, Northeast), solar panels can help provide you the power you need, so you don’t need to cut back on electricity use to save money.
No matter how many kWh your home uses, solar panels can provide you with electricity. The average kWh usage of your home will be factored in by deciding how many solar panels you need. This way, your panels can produce enough power most days of the year, even when your energy consumption is high.
More U.S. homes are turning to renewable energy to keep their lights on and their energy bills low!