When most people look at their electric bill, they just glance at the total to see how much they have to pay that month.

Some might look to see if the meter reading matches the one on their meter at home, but very few people look further than that. If this describes you, you’re missing out on an important piece of information about the way you use electricity: the number of kilowatt-hours you use each month.

Knowing what a kilowatt-hour is and what it can power can save you money. This knowledge can help you monitor electricity usage, make educated choices about saving energy, and lower your monthly electric bill. You’ll also learn the formula to convert KW to kWh.

What is a Kilowatt-Hour?

A kilowatt-hour, otherwise known as a kWh, is a way to measure how much energy you’re using.

It’s not the number of kilowatts you’re using in an hour, even though that seems to make sense. A kWh equals the amount of energy you would use by keeping a 1,000 watt appliance running for one hour. In metric, 1,000 = kilo, so 1,000 watts equals a kilowatt.

Some people got confused between the Kilos and Kilowatt these are boyh totally different units. Moreover, you can convert Lbs to Kg but not Kilowatt to Kg.

For instance, if you turned on a 100 watt bulb, it would take 10 hours to use one kilowatt-hour of energy. A 2,000 watt appliance, on the other hand, would only take half an hour. It all comes down to dividing the number of watts in an appliance into 1,000.

Kilowatt-Hour vs. Kilowatt

What’s the difference between kilowatt vs. kilowatt-hour? A kilowatt is 1,000 watts, which is a measure of power. A kilowatt-hour is a measure of the amount of energy a certain machine needs to run for one hour.

So, if you have a 1,000 watt drill, it takes 1,000 watts (or one kW) to make it work. If you run that drill for one hour, you’ll have used up one kilowatt of energy for that hour, or one kWh.

What Can a Kilowatt-Hour Power?

Obviously, every appliance in your home will use a different amount of power. Here are some of the usages for the more (or less) common items in a home:

  • 50″ LED Television: around 0.016 kWh per hour
  • Electric dishwashers: around 2 kWh per load
  • Most ovens are around 2.3 kWh per hour
  • Electric water heater: 380-500 kWh per month
  • Refrigerator (24 cu. ft frost free Energy Star): 54 kWh per month
  • Clothes Washer (warm wash, cold rinse): 2.3 kWh per load
  • Clothes Dryer: 2.5 – 4.0 kWh per load
  • Air Conditioner (3 ton 12 SEER): 3.0 kWh per hour
  • Nissan Leaf Electric Car – 40 kWh per full battery charge
  • Amazon Echo, Telling a Joke – 4 watts per joke (not sure how many hours you want to listen to that…)

Or consider this for your business office. That 2-warmer Bunn coffee maker in the break room? It’s a 1,575 Watt device. Run that from 6am to 6pm, Monday through Friday? And it’s 378 kWh on your monthly electricity bill.

The Energy Guide label on newer appliances will include the estimated yearly electricity usage. Multiply that by your rate per kilowatt-hour and you have the cost to use that device.

If you want to know more about the Energy Guide label and what appliances use the most electricity, we have additional resources for you.