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July 6, 2022

EIA releases state-level household energy characteristics data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey

For the first time, we have released Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) data for households broken down by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2020 RECS results show how homes use energy for space heating and cooling, water heating, cooking, appliances, and electronics, highlighting how household energy characteristics differ across the United States.

“This is an exciting new dataset,” said EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis. “We can see changes from previous surveys in the ways that households cooled, heated, and powered their appliances and devices.”

Notable takeaways from the RECS state-level results for the estimated 123.5 million homes in the United States:

  • Air conditioning was used in 88% of U.S. households; the types of air conditioning used varied by state. For example, in Florida, 96% of households used air conditioning, with 90% using a central air-conditioning unit. In New York, about 88% of homes used air conditioning; 61% used individual air-conditioning units, such as a window or wall unit.
  • U.S. households continue to rely on a variety of energy sources for heating. For example, in 2020, although only 5% of homes nationwide used fuel oil for heating, it continued to be widely used in New England. In Maine and Vermont, 53% of households in each state reported receiving fuel oil deliveries, followed by 43% in New Hampshire, 40% in Connecticut, 32% in Rhode Island, and 26% in Massachusetts.
  • The percentage of U.S. homes that were all-electric varied across states. While 26% of homes were all-electric nationwide, Florida and Hawaii had the highest percentages of all-electric homes, 77% and 72%, respectively. In California, 8% of homes were all electric, where three-quarters of households used natural gas for water heating.
  • The percentage of U.S. homes with two or more refrigerators continues to increase, from 30% in 2015 to 34% in 2020. In Idaho, almost half (47%) of homes had two or more refrigerators. Although only 33% of U.S. households had separate freezers, more than half of the homes in the Dakotas had them—65% of homes in South Dakota and 64% of homes in North Dakota.

We collected the 2020 RECS characteristics data in late 2020 and early 2021, at a time when many households were spending more time than usual at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the survey, more than 36 million households (30%) had at least one person working from home at least one day a week. In Washington, DC, nearly 60% of households had one person working from home at least one day per week, while in West Virginia, less than 15% of households had someone working from home. Despite people spending more time at home, residential energy use declined by 4% in 2020 from the previous year. The warmer winter months in 2020 reduced heating demand, which typically accounts for about 40% of energy use in homes.

You can find all available data from the RECS household characteristics and energy usage indicators on our website.

EIA processes RECS data in two phases; this release represents the data from the first phase of processing which consists of the preliminary housing characteristics data. The next phase, which focuses on household energy consumption and expenditures data, is currently being processed. We plan to release preliminary estimates of energy consumption and expenditures for electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and propane in spring 2023.

The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the U.S. government. The views in the product and press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the U.S. Department of Energy or other federal agencies.

EIA Press Contact: Chris Higginbotham, EIAMedia@eia.gov