Home Household items Eight household items costing you hundreds of pounds in energy bills

Eight household items costing you hundreds of pounds in energy bills


Households are being warned they are wasting hundreds of pounds a year on energy in a shocking warning amid the cost of living crisis. Experts estimate that over £500 a year is spent paying for energy used by appliances left on or on standby.

Worse, every unit of wasted energy will cost people more than 36% more when the price cap is raised in April. The name for the electricity consumed by appliances left on is called ‘phantom load’ because it’s not obvious that these appliances sit unused, but it drives up our bills.

A third of every energy bill is accounted for by phantom charging, which costs around £506 a year for the 275 watts consumed in the background. This waste is expected to rise to £819 in October when the energy price cap is expected to be lifted again. But the good news is that there are ways to reduce it.

READ MORE: 10 kitchen appliances that are costing you the most to run as energy prices soar

A few simple changes could easily reduce that to 100w and save £322. In April, that saving would be worth £429 and if prices rose another 20% in October, those changes would equate to a huge saving of £521, according to energy app Loop.

Each individual home has a unique phantom load, depending on how many appliances in the home are left on, some of which – like fridges and freezers – obviously need to be on all the time. By analyzing the amount of phantom load generated by different devices in the home, Loop revealed where these savings can be made.

Typical big culprits of energy waste in UK homes include electric heating left on in an empty house, which could add £877 to an annual bill. This is a jump of £543 per year. Electric underfloor heating is the second biggest consumer of energy and the cost of leaving it on for an extra hour a day could rise from £227 to £367 a year.

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All of these devices consume huge amounts of power when turned on or in standby. Maybe it’s time to take a look around the house at your “phantom load” – the energy consumed in the background when not in use,

Common Culprits of Phantom Loading

Average annual cost (current @20.8p per unit)

Average annual cost (April @28.3p per unit)

Average annual cost (October at 33.6 pence per unit – 20% increase)

Extra fridges, old fridges or “beer fridges”




desktop computers




Faulty decoder recorder




Exterior security lights too sensitive




Traditional (non-intelligent) electric heating (heating an empty house – 40% of the time)




Electric underfloor heating (1 additional hour per day)




Two 60W outdoor lights on for 10 hours per night




Electric towel dryer




Steve Buckley, head of data science at Loop, explains, “A lot of people I talk to are really worried about their energy bills right now, and unfortunately things aren’t expected to improve yet until the reality is that the only way we can reduce our energy bills right now is to reduce the amount of energy we use and the key to that is to measure our usage. You can control it. If you measure it, you can see the impact of the changes you make.

“Understanding whether your phantom load is low, medium or high is the first step to reducing it and can lead to big savings. Our app connects to your smart meter so you can compare yourself to other households and track your usage and use data for your You can easily identify the culprits that are draining your energy and driving up your bills.

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Read more: Energy-saving trick could cut £1,000 off bills by using the cheapest time to charge the car

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