Demand response (DR) has been widely recognized as an important approach to balance the power grid and reduce peak load of power systems. In order to better estimate the capability and the expense of peak load reduction through DR, we need to obtain the residential load profile and customers’ attitudes toward DR programs. Based on a large-scale online survey collected among over 1,500 customers from New York and Texas in the U.S., this study investigates the relationships among household appliance activities (e.g., electric water heater and air conditioner), load profiles, and incentive-based DR (IBDR) participation for peak load curtailment through reward payment. The daily load profiles of major home appliances are developed. Additionally, this study estimates the expense of reducing the yearly peak of the local grid load. Finally, the study addresses the importance of investigating the multifaceted factors of affecting IBDR participation and provides useful suggestions to utility companies when implementing DR programs.