The cost of living in the UK hasn’t been as high as it is now for many years. One of the major reasons for the dramatic escalation is the increase in energy prices. Household energy bills are, without a doubt, now the largest expense for most homes.
In the current climate, it makes sense to know which household appliances are costing you the most, and how you can go about decreasing these costs to more manageable levels.
Every bit of saving you can do now will go some way towards being able to pop that bit extra away for a rainy day.
Let’s delve into which household appliances cost the most in electricity in your home. We’ll also suggest some ways to be more energy efficient and reduce your electricity bill.
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The Most Energy-Consuming Appliances in Your Home
Ofgem estimates show that higher energy users will likely use 4,300 kWh of electricity on average annually. Even the lowest average electricity users will pay for 1,800 kWh of usage through their annual energy bills.
With the assistance of the UK Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, the average household user can expect to pay an energy bill of slightly over £200 every month. By being more energy efficient with your appliances, you can cut this down.
So which are the most energy-consuming appliances in your home? We’re going to list these from the least energy efficient to the most, indicating how much electricity each uses for an estimated average daily period in operation. Then we’ll supply some tips to bring down the running costs of each with energy-saving methods in your home.
The amount of energy consumed by a gas boiler depends on several factors, including the efficiency of the boiler, the size of the boiler, the heating load of the house, and the temperature of the water that is heated by the boiler.
Providing an exact measurement of the amount of gas consumed by a boiler is challenging. However, it is possible to estimate the gas consumption based on the size of the boiler. For instance, a 30 kW boiler will consume approximately 30 kWh of energy per hour, therefore, if your boiler is in use for 5 hours in one day, it will use 150kWh of energy.
Boilers are rated based on their efficiency, which is determined by various rating systems in use in the UK. One of the most recent rating systems is the ErP system, which assigns a letter rating from A to G to each boiler.
The rating indicates how efficient the boiler is, with A being the most efficient (90% or higher), therefore when purchasing a new boiler, it is recommended to pay close attention to its efficiency rating.
Energy saving with a gas boiler
The best way to ensure that you keep your gas bills down is to make sure your boiler is A-rated, or if you have an older boiler, ensure you get an annual boiler service every year. Turing down the hot water flow temperature on a combi boiler is also a great way, as even knocking it down 1 degree can save you money.
Your air conditioner is first on our list of the least energy-efficient appliances in your household, and even with only nominal use, it contributes greatly to your energy bill. Running your air con for only two hours daily means an annual amount of over £500 being paid over to your energy provider. That’s 123 kWh per month!
Energy saving with an air conditioner
How much energy can you save on air conditioning costs? That depends on what you’re willing to do to change your energy consumption. There are several things you can do to cut down on air con-related energy bills, including using it less. You could also upgrade your windows, restrict sunlight, install better insulation, or send your air conditioner for servicing.
It’s quite revealing how much energy we spend on keeping cool or warm. After your air conditioner, the next worst appliance is your electric heater. Heating your home comes at a cost and even for only two hours of daily use, you’ll end up spending nearly £250 per year to keep warm with an electric heater.
Energy saving with an electric heater
Try turning your heater down a notch, or running it for half the time. Although the jury is officially still out, it doesn’t seem to save energy if you leave it on low all day as opposed to up for a few hours, but try it if you’d like to check. Alternatively, invest in a halogen heater as it has a low power output that draws less energy.
A typical desktop computer uses 450W of energy every hour when in active use, and another 5.4W if it’s in sleep mode or on standby. If your computer runs for eight hours per day throughout the year, you’ll pay around £220 annually on your energy bill. If you physically turn your PC off every time you’re not using it, you’ll end up saving over £11 each year.
Energy saving with a desktop computer
You can always use your computer less to cut down your energy bills but, let’s face it, this isn’t always a practical option. A suggestion, if you’re a frequent desktop user, would be to switch to a laptop as an energy-saving alternative. Laptops can use up to 85% less electrical power, so you can save a lot on your energy bill over the course of a year.
Fourth on our list of high-energy-consumption household appliances is your LCD TV. If you use your TV for an average of six hours per day, it will use about 0.2o kWh hourly and cost you over £150 per year. Even in permanent standby mode, it can cost nearly £25 annually.
energy saving with a TV
If you’re considering a new TV, perhaps choose a more energy-efficient one, maybe with a smaller screen size. If you own a plasma TV, you’re likely already spending a lot on electricity. Think about switching to an LCD television, as you’ll save approximately two-thirds of your TV’s energy usage.
Fridge-freezer (A-spec rating)
Fridges and freezers are necessary but they aren’t cost-effective to run. As they need to remain connected all year round, they account for about 13% of an average household’s annual energy use. Much energy is needed to maintain a consistent level of cooling. You can expect to pay nearly £140 on a typical energy bill annually to keep your food cold.
energy saving with a fridge-freezer
Since your fridge-freezer will be drawing power 24/7, when you buy a new fridge it makes sense to get one that’s energy-efficient. Remember that a new fridge should last for upwards of a decade on average.
Consider getting one that’s highly rated and big enough to meet your needs without being excessive. You don’t want to battle for space but you do want to save power!
Another household appliance with high energy consumption is a tumble dryer. Wet appliances like tumble dryers, washing machines, and dishwashers account for close to 15% of electrical running costs in a household.
A 4.5 kWh tumble dryer costs £1.20 per cycle in electricity, meaning about £125 annually, and it’ll cost you almost another £5 every year without even being on!
Energy saving with tumble dryers
Compared to some smaller appliances, your tumble dryer has a major impact on your electricity bills. It might be worth buying a more energy-efficient dryer to save on power. Perhaps you could even put it out to pasture or limit your tumble dryer use to emergencies. There are several effective air-drying alternatives on the market nowadays.
On average, using a dishwasher for an hour uses nearly 1.5 kWh and will cost you close to one and a half pounds. So, based on a nominal number of 135 uses annually, you’ll spend £66 per year on washing your dishes. On standby, your dishwasher uses 3W, so leaving it on standby for a full year would cost you nearly £7.50.
Energy saving with a dishwasher
Of course, you could always wash your dishes by hand. But will this actually save energy? You’re still using water, and you’d end up using 10 times as much water hand washing your dishes as you would washing the same number in your dishwasher. The best way to save on your energy bills with a dishwasher is to do full loads, and use the “eco” setting on the washer!
You may be surprised to know that your kitchen running costs only account for approximately 4% of your annual electricity bill, on average. With many UK stoves and ovens powered by gas, kitchen appliances tend to cost less to run.
Your kettle is a nasty little item where energy costs are concerned, though. When you think of the use your kettle gets, it’s not surprising it consumes around £58 in energy costs per year for just over 1,500 one-litre boils.
Energy saving with a kettle
If you fill your 2-litre kettle to the brim every time you boil water for a couple of cups of tea, you’re actually wasting 5p each time you switch it on. Consider only boiling the amount of water you need each time you use the kettle and you’ll save on your energy bills. That way you’re not boiling water so it can just cool down again. Also, don’t forget it when it’s boiled!
What are appliance energy labels in the UK?
An energy label for an appliance supplies the energy efficiency standards of the appliance in question. The label indicates the energy rating from the most efficient A+++ rating to the least efficient G rating. The label also provides other information relating to consuming energy, noise levels, etc.
What are some common energy-wasting habits?
Some bad habits that waste energy include leaving appliances on standby and using the dryer when there’s good weather for air drying. Leaving the fridge or freezer door open for extended periods, and boiling a full kettle for a cup or two of water are also not great habits.
What is the appliance energy efficiency standard for appliances in the UK?
The UK has now set energy efficiency standards for several appliance types. Washing machines sold in the UK, for example, are required to have an A+ minimum EE rating. These EE standards also apply to dishwashers, refrigerators, and various other household appliances.
We’ve looked at appliances that comparatively use more energy than others in your home. How much energy they actually use is subjective depending on how much you use them. If your household does a lot of washing, for example, there’s a good chance that a washing machine would appear higher on this list for your home.
Hopefully this guide has given you some more information on what to look out for when you’re trying to reduce energy consumption and be more energy-efficient. You should be saving money in no time!