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End-Use Consumption of Electricity

End-Use Consumption of Electricity

Electricity is consumed for a wide variety of uses in the home. This web product presents a detailed account of the amount of electricity used to operate numerous appliances in 2001.

Similar analyses were conducted for the 1987, 1990, 1993, and 1997 RECS. Table 1 summarizes the results.

Table 1. Percent of Electricity Consumption by End Use

Survey Year
End Use 1987 1990 1993 1997 2001
Air-Conditioning 15.8 15.9 13.9 11.8 16.0
Space Heating 10.3 10.0 12.4 11.4 10.1
Water Heating 11.4 11.2 10.3 11.0 9.1
Total Appliances 62.5 63.0 63.4 65.9 64.7

Summary Results for 2001 RECS:

  • The largest use of electricity in the average U.S. household was for appliances (including refrigerators and lights), which consume approximately two thirds of all the electricity used in the residential sector (Figure 1, Table 2);
  • Air-conditioning accounted for an estimated 16 percent, space heating 10 percent, and water heating 9 percent;
  • No single appliance dominated the use of electricity. Refrigerators consumed the most electricity (14 percent of total electricity use for all purposes), followed by lighting (9 percent), clothes dryers (6 percent), freezers (3 percent), and color TV’s (3 percent);
  • The many other electrical appliances are grouped together and their total consumption is shown as "All Others" (Figure 1). Included are some appliances, such as VCR's that typically are found in almost all homes but use small amounts of electricity, as well as appliances that use large amounts of electricity but are found in relatively few homes, such as swimming pool pumps;
  • "Residual" includes appliances for which RECS did not collect data (irons, hair dryers, electric blankets, power tools, and many more) and errors in the estimation procedure.
Electricity Consumption for 2001
  Annual Consumption
End Use/Appliance Household(million) Units
(billion kWh)
Total Households 107     10,656 1,139.90 100
Refrigerators 106.8 126 1,239 1,462 156.1 13.7
Central Air-Conditioners 57.5     2,796 160.6 14.1
Room Air Conditioners a 23.3 38.2 580 950 22.2 1.9
Total         182.8 16
Space Heating            
Main Space-Heating Systems 30.9     3,524 109 9.6
Secondary Space-Heating Equipmentb 12.9     503 6.5 0.6
Total         115.5 10.1
Water Heating 40.8     2,552 104.1 9.1
(indoor and outdoor)
107     940f 100.5 8.8
Other Appliances
(total of list below)
107     4,495 480.8 42.2
Clothes Dryer 61.1     1,079 65.9 5.8
Freezer 34.2 37.9 1,039 1,150 39.3 3.5
Furnace Fan 76.3   500g   38.2 3.3
Dishwasher 56.7     512l 29 2.5
Electric Range Topc 59.7   536g   32 2.8
Electric Ovend 47.8   440g   21 1.8
Microwave Oven 92.1   209g   19.3 1.7
Electric Toaster Oven 36.1   50g   1.8 0.2
Coffee Makerse 51.3   116g   6 0.5
Color TV 105.8 242.6 137 313h 33.1 2.9
VCR/DVD 96.1 161.9 70h 118 11.3 1
Cable Boxes 24.4   120i   2.9 0.3
Satellite Dish 13.9   130i   1.8 0.2
Personal Computer
(Desk Top)
54.2 65.8 262j 318 17.2 1.5
Personal Computer
(Lap Top)
14.2 16.6 77k 90 1.3 0.1
Printer with Fax/ copier 12.6   216g   2.7 0.2
Printer without Fax/ copier 40.2   45g   1.8 0.2
Pool Filter/pump 6.5   1,500g   9.8 0.9
Pool/ Hot Tub/ Spa Heater 3.3   2,300g   7.6 0.7
Ceiling Fan 69.6 192.8 50g 138 9.6 0.8
Clothes Washer f 84.1   120g,l   10.1 0.9
Waterbed Heater 5.5 6.4 900g 1,035 5.7 0.5
Well Water Pump 13.8   400g   5.5 0.5
Dehumidifier 12.1   400g   4.8 0.4
Evaporator Cooler 2.7   1,183g   3.2 0.3
Compact Stereo System 36.5   81g   3 0.3
Component Stereo System 36.3   55g   2 0.2
Portable Stereo
(Boom Box)
26.1   19g   0.5 0
Other Stereo System 3.1   55g   0.2 0
Large, Heated Aquarium 4.5   548g   2.5 0.2
Answering Machine 65.7   35g   2.3 0.2
Cordless Telephone 81.5   26g   2.1 0.2
Rechargeable Tools 47.7   43g   2.1 0.2
Humidifier 15.6   100g   1.6 0.1
Automobile Block/ Engine/ Battery Heater 2.3   200g   0.5 0
Residual 107       83.1 7.3

a2001 RECS reported 0.8 million households having both central air-conditioning and room/wall air-conditioners. These households were included in the count of 57.5 million households using central air-conditioning and they were excluded from the count of 23.3 million households with room/wall air-conditioners.
bThe 2001 RECS reported 2.8 million households having both electric main space-heating and electric secondary space-heating equipment. These households were included in the count of 30.9 million households using electric main space-heating and they were excluded from the count of 12.9 million households with electric secondary space-heating.
cHouseholds where most used range was electric and the household cooked more than one meal per week.
dHouseholds where most used oven was electric and the household used oven more than once per week.
eHouseholds that used the coffee maker more than once per week.
f1993 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) does not cover halogen torchiere lamps.
gEnergy Data Sourcebook for the U.S. Residential Sector, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1997.
hEnergy Use of Televisions and Videocassette Recorders in the U.S., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1999;
iVideo Networks: A Surprising Energy Drain, Home Energy Magazine Online May/June 1999;
jElectricity Consumption by Small End Uses in Residential Buildings, Arthur D. Little, 1998;
k2004 Annual Energy Outlook.
lDoes not include energy used to heat water coming into the washer
Notes: • "Residual" includes appliances not listed, such as irons, hair dryers, electric blankets, power tools, air cleaners, and a myriad of other small electrical appliances. • "Residual" also includes errors that may be present in estimates of annual consumption. • Totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding. •This table does not reflect the interactive effects of appliance usage, especially when mixing the estimates from RECS with those from outside sources.
Sources: Energy Information Administration, Office of Energy Markets and End Use, Forms EIA-457A-C, E, and H of the 1997 RECS; Energy Information Administration, Office of Energy Markets and End Use, 1993 and 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Surveys.

A regression-based procedure End-Use Estimation Methodology was used to estimate the amount of electricity used for the major end uses (air conditioning, space heating, water heating, refrigerators, clothes dryers and freezers). Results of the 1993 RECS special lighting supplement Residential Lighting Use and Potential Savings were used to estimate the average amount of electricity used for lighting. Data on the annual electricity consumption of other electrical appliances were obtained from outside sources.

The 2001 RECS estimates are air-conditioning 16 percent, space heating 10 percent, water heating 9 percent, and appliances 65 percent. Changes in the percentages reflect actual changes in the percentages, changes in the methodology used to estimate the amount of electricity used for the various end uses, and errors in the estimation procedure. An example where a change in methodology resulted in a large change is the estimated amount of electricity used for cooking. The 1997 end-use and appliance table used a regression-based estimate and an outside estimate of the amount of electricity used in microwave ovens. The 2001 end-use and appliance table did not use a regression estimate. It used outside estimates of the amount of electricity used in electricity ranges, electric ovens, microwave ovens, electric toaster ovens, and coffee makers.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy