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Use of energy explained Energy use in homes

Electricity consumption in U.S. homes varies by region and type of home

The average U.S. household consumes about 10,500 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity per year.1 However, electricity use in homes varies widely across regions of the United States and among housing types. On average, apartments in the Northeast consume the least electricity annually, and single-family detached homes in the South consume the most. Homes in the South are more likely to have electric heating and use more air conditioning.2

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Unlike natural gas, petroleum fuels, and wood, which are used mostly for heating and cooking in U.S.homes, electricity can power well over 100 energy end uses for households.

  • The three largest categories and their shares of residential site electricity consumption in 2020 were:2
  • air conditioning19%
  • space heating12%
  • water heating12%

Lighting and refrigerators are used in nearly every home, and they are the next two largest electricity end uses. The shares of annual electricity end uses can change from year to year based on the weather.

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Air conditioning use is now common in most homes

Because of U.S. population shifts to warmer climates and the availability of air conditioning in almost all new homes, air conditioning has been one of the fastest-growing energy uses in U.S. homes. In 2020, about 89% of homes used air conditioning compared with 57% of homes in 1980. The share of U.S. homes with central air conditioning increased from 27% of homes in 1980 to 67% in 2020.

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The share of U.S. homes with central air-conditioning systems inceased from 27% of homes in 1980 to 67% in 2020.

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Most homes have refrigerators and many homes have more than one

Nearly all homes—99%—have a refrigerator, and in 2020, 34% of U.S. homes had two or more. Second refrigerators and separate freezers are most common in Midwest homes. In 2020, 38% of Midwest homes had a second refrigerator and 44% had a separate freezer compared with 34% and 33%, respectively, for all U.S. homes. The most-used refrigerator in a home cost about $87 on average to operate in 2020, and the second refrigerator cost about $66. Second refrigerators are often smaller than the home's most-used refrigerator. Separate freezers cost $74 per year to operate on average.

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1 Excludes losses in electricity generation and delivery.
2 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Last updated: December 18, 2023, with data from source reports as indicated.