how many watts house

How many watts does it take to run a house?

Most homes are connected to the electrical grid, which supplies the electricity to run all of the appliances and devices inside. If you’re looking to size a solar system or purchase a generator for your home, it’s important to think about what appliances you have in your home, and how many watts they all might use.


Key takeaways


  • On average, it takes about 1,223 watts to power a home in the U.S.
  • The actual amount of electricity it takes to run your home depends on what appliances you run, how efficient those appliances are, and the size of your home.
  • The appliances that use the most electricity are central air conditioners, EV chargers, ovens, and clothes dryers
  • The best way to save on electricity is to go solar – register on the EnergySage Marketplace today to compare your solar options.

How many watts does an average home use?

According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), the average American home uses an average of 10,715 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. That’s 29,360 watts (W) per day, which can be divided by 24 hours to get an average of 1,223 W to power a home throughout the day. 

Remember: this is an average across all states and over time. Your home’s power usage at any point could be as high as several thousand watts, and as low as a few hundred watts. 

Here’s what a day could look like: when you wake up in the morning, you might turn on your coffee maker and computer. As the day progresses and the weather heats up, your air conditioning might kick in. Later in the day, maybe you put a load of laundry in and turn your stove on to make dinner. At night, the weather is cooler, so your air conditioning turns off. By the time you’re asleep, your home might be using the least amount of energy it has used all day, between the air conditioning being off, most appliances being turned off, and lights out throughout your home.

Factors that influence how many watts you need to run your house

Electricity usage varies greatly, and there’s no simple rule of thumb for how many watts a house might need. That exact number depends on several factors, including the number and type of appliances in your home, how big your house is, and where you live.

The number and type of appliances

More appliances means you’ll need more watts, but the type of appliances you have also impacts how much electricity you use. For example, using more efficient Energy Star appliances can reduce your overall usage, especially for more power-hungry items like refrigerators, air conditioners, and dryers. 

The size of your home

It’s fairly self-explanatory, but in general, larger homes use more electricity. More rooms means more lightbulbs and appliances, plus a larger area to keep heated and cooled throughout the year.

Where you live

Especially for heating and cooling systems, your geographic location is a large factor in your overall home energy usage. If you live in a warm climate and need to run your air conditioning often, you’ll probably use more electricity than someone who lives in a more moderate climate.

How many watts do different appliances use throughout your house?

The appliances that impact your electricity usage the most are usually your heating and cooling systems, but electricity is used throughout your home. Here’s how many watts some appliances in different areas of the home might draw:

Kitchen

Kitchens have appliances that stay on for long periods of time (refrigerators and freezers) as well as appliances that you use intermittently, but will pull significant energy when on.

Living room

Compared to your overall home, keeping living room appliances and devices on won’t pull that much energy: TVs and light bulbs are some of the least energy-hungry appliances in the home.

Heating and cooling

Generally, heating and cooling electricity needs are some of the highest out of any appliance category.

Laundry

Washing machines and dryers pull significant energy when they’re being used, but your usage schedule will heavily affect the actual impact these appliances have on your monthly bill.

Miscellaneous

There are plenty of other devices and appliances around your home that use electricity. Here are a few more that could impact your overall usage:

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best time to use electricity?

If you’re on a time-of-use (TOU) rate plan, you are charged different amounts for electricity throughout the day. In general, it’s cheaper to run appliances during “off-peak” hours, which are usually overnight.

What size battery do you need to back up your home?

Most lithium-ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall or Generac PWRcell have a power rating of 4 to 5 kW or higher, and 10+ kWh of usable capacity. The average home uses about 1,223 W (1.2 kW) at a time and depending on the appliance you’re powering at any given time, that number could jump up significantly. This means you’ll only be able to power your home for a short amount of time with most batteries – to keep it running for longer, you’ll need several batteries stacked together. 

What are ENERGY STAR appliances?

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. government-backed system that certifies how energy efficient appliances are. If an appliance is better than the average appliance in its category by a certain amount, it is labeled as “ENERGY STAR certified”. ENERGY STAR appliances cost less money to run, given that they are more efficient with the electricity they use.

Save on electricity by going solar

Going solar is one of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate your electric bill, and you should make sure you are getting several quotes from reputable installers before you decide to move forward. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to get solar quotes from installers in your area and begin comparing options. Solar savings vary widely, and your unique savings depends on factors like electricity usage, your location, electric rates and plans, and more. In general, most homeowners can expect to save somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000 over the lifetime of a solar panel system. On average, it takes between 7 and 8 years for most homeowners who shop for solar on EnergySage to get their solar panels to pay for themselves.


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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he's an expert on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

One thought on “How many watts does it take to run a house?

  1. Jan Wampuszyc

    Careful – it seems as though you’re getting power and energy mixed up (the former being the rate at which the latter is delivered/ consumed/ etc.). From your second paragraph, for example, you apparently divided the kW-hrs (energy) used per year by 365 to get a daily Watts (power) value – the correct value would be W-hr, an energy unit.

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