What 10 Appliances Use the Most Electricity? Find Out the Answers from an Off-Grid Homesteader. You May be Surprised!
Whether you are living in an urban or suburban environment with a utility company as your source of electricity or whether you are living in an off-grid home, where you are not hooked into any public utility and are responsible for your own power, it's a good idea to know where all that power is going! What appliances are responsible for sucking most of your power and even raising your electric bill?
What made me think of this is just the other day, I was trying to provide some supplemental heat to our new-born goats. They were shivering in the cold, still wet, and in an attempt to try to help more than just rubbing them down with a towel would do, I decided to pull out our little electric heater and place it safely in the goat stall.
Well. That did not last long. Our off-grid solar system lets me know when too much power is being used for what is stored in the batteries by simply going out!
I ended up having to wrap up the babies for a time until they were dry enough to handle the chill. And I ended up thinking about all the things that use a TON of electricity, and how inconvenient it is when you don't have access to your "stuff!"
I can't tell you how many times I've had to head off to work with wet or damp hair because the power cut out due to my blow dryer. Yes, the "all natural" look has become my look these past years, due to our off-grid life.
Let me also just say in full disclosure: I have done no research on ampage, and frankly I do not even know if that's the right term. I am speaking purely from my experiences using electrical appliances off-grid, and taking serious note of which ones affect our power storage the worst.
You may also enjoy these related article: 7 Ways It Pays to Be Frugal (and They're Not all Financial, 50+ Ways to Save Money Now, and 18 Necessities I Never Buy at the Store Anymore, and What I Do Instead. There are lots more on the blog too!
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links throughout this article, and if you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you--Heidi (Full Disclosure)
Off-Grid Living and Electricity
Off Grid living has its challenges. If you live in an off-grid area or home, you (or the small community) are responsible for creating your own methods for heat, light, and water. You are not hooked into any public utility system.
There is no governmental utility company telling you what you can and can't do or how much you can use. No entity is out there price gouging you---except for maybe the propane company. You can find out more about that in this article.
Electricity, specifically, is something we have learned to rely upon in our modern ways of living. Unless you revert back to pioneering and traditional ways (candlelight or fire for light and heat; manual tools for building, spinning, sewing; some type of natural cold storage for refrigeration; etc., you are going to be relying on electricity to the be the source of your power.
Luckily, with the advances in solar technology, gathering solar power from the sun is no longer a mystery, nor is it difficult. Is it the same as having that steady supply of power from a utility source? Nope. Not at all. There are circumstances that affect even the power of the sun to provide electricity in an off-grid home.
Of course, some people may choose to use a generator to either supplement or substitute solar power, however, generators are not ideal in my opinion. They are loud, use a ton of gas in most cases, and are generally unpleasant. They do have very expensive "quiet" options, nowadays, but most don't have this type yet. At least not in our off-grid village.
Which Appliances Use the Most Electricity?
Whether or not you live as most folks do these days, with a modern public or private utility company handling the electrical needs for your area, or are off-grid like we are, it is helpful and valuable to know which appliances eat up most of that electrical power!
Want to save some money on your electric bill? Or, if you are off-grid, I'm sure you have probably figured out which appliances and uses are the worst culprits, but perhaps this list will help you manage your usages better, either way.
Knowing which electrical items are the biggest users of power can save you some money if you are living on the grid, like the great majority. And if you are off-grid like us, then perhaps this list may help, although I have a feeling you are probably well aware. But see if you agree!
Here are the Biggest Users of Electrical Power, in My Experience Living Off-Grid:
This is first on my list because I can't tell you how aggravating it is to want that morning cup-o-joe, only to find your power goes off the minute the coffee pot goes on. Mostly this happens in the Winter, with the shorter days; or on cloudy days any time of the year.
I have learned that our batteries had better be charged up in order for me to get my morning coffee! Otherwise....I have to make due with my herbal tea. Or trudge outside in the snow and cold to turn on the generator.
We tried having a microwave oven when we first moved off-grid. BUT, for us, it wasn't worth the frustration. Besides. Microwave ovens are TERRIBLE for your health, and I have learned it truly IS just as easy to use old-fashioned methods to heat and cook food.
We've lived without a microwave for nearly five years now, and I don't miss it one single bit. They are massive electricity suckers, too.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Picture this: It's early morning, and the sun hasn't risen yet in the dead of winter. You emerge from your hot shower with wet hair and are rushing to get yourself off to work. You turn on the blow dryer expecting to quickly dry your hair and maybe add a little extra heat to your body, and...
Out goes the power.
You are once again left standing there, shivering and naked with a completely wet head of hair, and you must run outside to get the generator started so you can finish. OR, suck it up and put your hair in an unattractive "messy" bun and hope it's dry (right) before you get to work.
LOL....I actually kept an extra blow dryer in my classroom where I taught, so if I arrived with still-damp hair, I could get it dried before students arrived.
These tiny appliances use a TON of electricity, my friends.
Although we do not have a microwave oven, we do have a small convection oven for convenience, especially in the summer time when heating up the kitchen is not a great idea.
But this little thing uses a TON of power too. We don't use it so much in the winter time for this very reason. We prefer to use our gas oven which adds some great heat and doesn't affect our power stored in the batteries in our solar system.
If I am going to use my dryer to dry clothes, I have a plan. I don't dry my clothes in the dryer just any old time I want because I'm telling you, the power will be affected.
I use the dryer during sunny days. Once in awhile, I've had to run it in the evening during Winter, and I always wake up to no power and sometimes damp clothes. I have learned to have a tight plan for our laundry.
Honestly, though, I have also learned to prefer to hang our clothes to dry. We live in a very arid place, so even in the coldest days of winter, our clothes dry fairly quickly. Plus, it's WAY better for your clothes too.
I LOVE me my crock pots. Yes, that's a plural. I have four of them! Why do I have three large crock pots and one small one?
Well, I cook food with one of the large ones and the smaller one.
And if you're familiar with my website, then you know I make my own soap. I use the other two crock pots for my soap making, as I prefer the hot process method.
My crock pots, however, are a big energy suck.
So, once again, I plan my soap making sessions when 1) there is plenty of sunshine, 2) I'm not using my cooking crock pot, and 3) when I'm not doing laundry or much else that uses a lot of electrical power.
But that's ok---It's good to have a plan! And if you are living on the grid, well, now you know that your crock pot happily slow cooking your food over there in the corner is eating up your electricity!
Small Lights, believe it or not!
How surprising it was to discover that my lovely Himalayan salt lamps that add such a cozy glow to a space use quite a bit of energy in comparison to other kinds of lights.
Yep! Who knew?
Also, I love my Phillips Sunlight alarm, but guess what? I don't use it during the Winter (ironically, when I need it most) because it WILL be a factor in our not waking up with power the next morning....or an alarm either.
We have just one of these, and it's in storage. Except for the other day when I pulled it out to help the kids (baby goats) dry off and get warm, we just don't use it. First, we don't need it during the summer. Right? And in the Winter----you guessed it: It's an energy suck. Even in the middle of the day. Yep--no electric heaters around here.
We use heat lamps when we bring home baby chicks, usually in February or March. Luckily the days are a little longer and therefore, we have more stored power, but these are also on the high energy usage list.
Sometimes heat lamps are a necessary evil, though.
De-Icers for Animal Water
We kept one of these de-icers in our horse trough when we still had horses, because during the dead of winter when temperatures drop to the single digits, frozen water is not an ok thing for the livestock.
But. With that said----
NOTHING else runs when that de-icer is going. And usually the generator ends up being on. Just saying.
Final Thoughts on Appliances That Use the Most Electricity in Your Home
I'll bet you've noticed a pattern here, haven't you? Pretty much, any appliance, large or small, that creates heat is a BIG electricity user.
And what about air conditioners, you ask?
Yes, these will use a lot of power too. In our hot summers, we have two of those portable water-holding swamp coolers we can roll around to cool rooms, if need be. And yes, they use a lot of power too, but they are very effective.
For us, being that it's summer time and we have lots of sunshine when we use these, we don't worry about the power usage. BUT if you are in the city or on-grid, just know that your air conditioner, if it is electric, is also using a LOT of power---but you knew that already, especially if you need to use one a lot.
So---here I go on my self-reliant rant one more time. It's just really a good idea to have some kind of back up plan.
As for my baby goats the other day....I ended up relying on my body heat and a warm blanket, and their very good Big Mama's body heat to keep them warm. Just as nature intended.
Did I leave anything off the list that you think should be added? I'd love to know! We all would! Please leave comments in the comments section---
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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