How much does it cost to dry your hair? Take the household energy quiz!


You can save tons of money by changing how you look at your appliances. For example, did you know that your electric oven uses more electricity than your refrigerator? Or that drying your clothes costs you three times more than washing them?

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Question 1 of 20

Which of these appliances uses the most energy?

portable heater
air conditioner
water heater

... Water heaters can cost you more than $45 per month to run. Save energy by lowering the set temperature a few degrees and turning the water off when you're going to be away for more than a couple of days. Better yet, check into a tankless water heater, which only heats water when you need it.


Question 2 of 20

Which of the following does NOT use any electricity when in standby mode?

coffee maker

... Office equipment and home entertainment products usually draw energy even when they're on standby, but most coffee makers use little to no energy when plugged in but not running.


Question 3 of 20

A new refrigerator uses ________ less energy than your 20-year-old hand-me-down model.

20 percent
40 percent
60 percent

... It's hard to part with hand-me-downs, especially when they're from grandma. But you could buy her flowers -- a few times a year -- with the energy savings. New refrigerators use 60 percent less energy than models from 20 years ago, according to the California Energy Commission. That's an average of $280 a year.


Question 4 of 20

What does the Energy Star label mean?

The product is green and has no emissions.
The product is energy efficient.
The product is the least expensive to run on the market.

... The Energy Star label was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It only gets slapped on if the product saves energy, but also performs well and has high quality.


Question 5 of 20

Which of these two appliances use about the same amount of electricity, on average?

TV and portable heater
freezer and dishwasher
iron and washing machine set to cold water

... No wonder we love doing laundry! It takes plenty of our energy, plus an iron and a washing machine use equal household energy -- if you use cold water for your wash. If you're washing your clothes with hot water, then the energy use is much higher.


Question 6 of 20

If you want to make your entertainment room more energy efficient, get rid of your ________ .

video game console
DVD player
stereo system

... None of these entertainment devices compare to the cost of a night out at the movies, but your stereo system costs the most: about 66 cents per month. The DVD player only costs 2 cents a month to run and the video game console, 4 cents a month.


Question 7 of 20

Which of the following kitchen appliances costs the most to run for one hour?

toaster oven
pressure cooker
deep-fat fryer

... A 1,500-watt deep-fat fryer costs 19.5 cents to run for an hour, the most of any of these three -- and probably the least healthy, too.


Question 8 of 20

If you want to save $5 a month, which appliance should you unplug?

cordless phone
clock radio

... Having a clock radio permanently plugged in uses about $5 in electricity every month. If you seldom use the radio, try an old-fashioned wind-up clock with a bell, or use the alarm on the smartphone that you already take to bed with you. It's OK -- admit it.


Question 9 of 20

Which of the following TVs is more expensive to run for an hour?

42-inch LCD
42-inch plasma
27-inch conventional

... You pay in energy use for the higher quality of plasma pictures. The plasma TV will set you back 3 cents per hour, while a conventional TV only costs less than 1 cent an hour to run.


Question 10 of 20

More than 50 percent of the energy used by a computer goes to this component:

the tower or motherboard
the monitor
the speakers

... Turn off your monitor even if you want to leave your computer on and you'll still save electricity.


Question 11 of 20

How many times more expensive is it to run an air conditioner than a ceiling fan?

eight times
five times
three times

... Get ready to sweat a bit -- you'll pay about 1 cent per hour to use a ceiling fan, but 8 cents per hour for a one-room air-conditioner.


Question 12 of 20

Which appliance costs the most to run?

washing machine

... The dishwasher can cost up to 37 cents per load to run, depending on the make and model. It's more than the other appliances, but maybe not enough to justify eating out instead of cooking at home ...


Question 13 of 20

Which home item keeps draining energy even when not in use?

battery charger
toaster oven

... If you leave a battery charger plugged in, it still generates heat, even if there's nothing attached to the other side. When you're done charging your cell phone, unplug the charger.


Question 14 of 20

What costs more to run?

a laptop
a desktop computer with an LCD monitor
a desktop computer with a CRT monitor

... You pay about 1.76 cents per hour for a desktop computer with an old cathode ray tube monitor. The laptop is more efficient, even when charging.


Question 15 of 20

You've decided to keep your plasma TV and DVD player in your home theater, but you want snacks. Which food-related appliance would use the least amount of energy?

waffle maker
popcorn popper
hot plate

... At least in terms of pure wattage, a waffle iron uses the most energy, followed by a hot plate, and then a popcorn popper. Real energy depends on how long you use them. Thank goodness the popcorn popper wins, because waffles are great, but who wants to get syrup all over those comfortable chairs? Besides, popcorn and movies...


Question 16 of 20

Which appliance can you hold on to because it costs less than 1/4 cent per day to run?

track lighting
electric toothbrush
night light

... It costs a whopping 3 cents per hour to run a three-light track light. A night light costs about 1 cent per night, but an electric toothbrush is really efficient, costing less than 1/4 of a cent to run each day. Why bag something this efficient that also might keep your dentist happy?


Question 17 of 20

What appliance is surprisingly energy efficient?

vacuum cleaner
desktop computer
microwave oven

... Even if you use a microwave for 30 minutes per day, you'll only spend $2.49 a month enjoying its many wonders, like reheating restaurant leftovers, which were cooked using someone else's energy the first time around!


Question 18 of 20

What percentage of your monthly expenditures do lighting and appliances use?

31 percent
45 percent
63 percent

... Lighting and appliances are the second largest energy expense group, at 31 percent. In the average U.S. household, 48 percent of energy goes to heating and comfort.


Question 19 of 20

Which appliance is a huge energy waster?

gas oven
garbage disposal

... Running a garbage disposal for just 5 minutes can cost you 22 cents, and it's easy to scrape those plates into the trash can. Or how about composting some of the scraps?


Question 20 of 20

So, how much does it cost to run a hair dryer?

4 cents per hour
14 cents per hour
30 cents per hour

... At 14 cents per hour, it costs more to dry your hair than it does to run a vacuum cleaner (which costs 11 cents per hour). If your hair is manageable, you might try letting it dry naturally -- while you vacuum.


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