Water heating, lighting, dishwashing, refrigerating, clothes washing and the power consumption of our TVs, PCs and other electronics account for about 50% of the energy bills of American households, according to the last available EIA surveys.
Overall, they already exceed heating and cooling bills.
Modern homes have dozens of electronic devices, which individually aren't energy-intensive. But their large numbers can make their power consumption surprisingly important.
Many home electronics operate in several modes and draw power even when in stand-by or idle mode. These and other issues should be properly addressed and monitored (by using power monitors).
Be aware to their impact on your electricity bills; on average, they account for more than 10% of the household power bills.
Refrigerators, clothes dryers, and other appliances
Older refrigerators and freezers can cost you about $200/year in electricity. Refrigerators run 356 days a year, day and night. But other appliances have also relatively high power costs. Be aware. Check them.
You may use power monitors (see customer reviews and prices in Amazon: Power Monitors) to estimate their power consumption and to identify hidden energy wasters and energy improvement areas.
Update your incandescent light bulbs to compact and tubular fluorescents, or to LEDs. And do not forget timers and sensors to turn lights off, in unoccupied spaces and rooms. Lighting involves a much more signifcant expense than many people intuitively think: it accounts for more than 10% of the average home electricity bills in many countries, and can easily be reduced by half. Lighting is critical for home energy improvements.
See: Home Lighting Guide
Hot water heating
Analyze your hot water heating bills. Water heating bills are estimated to be between $300 and $450 per year in most homes, and if your bills are in this range you should try to reduce them.
There are small but rewarding energy improvements that you can implement, involving the showerheads, water pipes, tank insulation and circulation pumps. Or, in some cases, more expensive improvements like switching from electricity to gas, or installing solar water heaters.
Solar water heaters, in sunny climates, can provide energy improvements up to 80% for an investment of around $2.000-$3.000 (thermosyphon systems for moderate and hot climates).
See: Water Heating Guide