Home Household machines The appliances that use the most electricity – and the cheapest times to run them

The appliances that use the most electricity – and the cheapest times to run them


With the cost of living and inflation rising dramatically, and fuel prices skyrocketing, now is a great time to pinch a few pennies when it comes to our electricity bills.

We all know that running a household is expensive considering that multiple people may all need to use the various devices in the home – but is it possible to identify the biggest consumers of energy and reduce how we use it to save money?

To calculate the cost of running a device, we use this equation: Cost = (Power in Watts / 1000) x (Unit Cost in Cents) x Time in Hours.

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This formula shows how much is spent per power usage, and a good rule of thumb is that if the device heats us up instantly or in a short time, it costs more.

For example, tumble dryers, washing machines, hair dryers and kettles are notorious for consuming a lot of expensive energy.

As households eagerly await the government’s €200 energy rebate, we’ve taken a look at which appliances use the most electricity to operate, and if there are any tips on how and when to use them to avoid a big bill.

As some of the biggest energy consumers in the home, washing machines and dryers can contribute significantly to your bills.

Washing machine

The most expensive time to wash or dry your clothes is between 4pm and 7pm.

Avoiding machine use between these hours can help reduce your bill.

Only ever turn your machine on if you have a full load to wash, and with energy prices at their lowest between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., you can do a wash during those hours for less cost. However, do not fall asleep while the device is running, in accordance with fire safety.

Don’t use a wash that’s too hot – wash lightly soiled clothes at 30°C, with an occasional wash at a higher temperature for dirtier clothes.

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The clothes dryer

The clothes dryer is the major consumer of energy in the household.

If you can avoid using the dryer at all, do so – and choose to use the clothesline or a drying rack instead.

If it’s too cold or damp to hang clothes outside, the best tip for drying them indoors without the dryer is to get a room dehumidifier that will absorb any moisture that could damage the air. infrastructure of your interior walls.

The same logic for energy prices applies here, with the most expensive times to run the dryer being 4-7pm and the cheapest 10-5am.


The kettle

Although the kettle can be energy-intensive, the type of kettle you have can make a difference. Using a kettle with a low minimum boil line, which prevents you from boiling large amounts of water unnecessarily for small jobs like cups of tea, is ideal.

Regular descaling of your kettle also helps – if the pan is full of scale, you end up using more energy to boil the same amount of water.

The dish-washer

A dishwasher costs around 36 cents an hour to run, which can add up if it has to run every day or even a few times a day.

Be sure to scrape all food from plates before putting them in the dishwasher and make sure the load is full but not over-stacked.

If your device has an “eco” setting, opt for that. Usually, green settings have been developed to use less water, lower temperatures, and less electricity.

The same electricity guidelines apply, with 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. being the cheapest time to run a large appliance.

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Hair dryer

Consider air-drying your hair – it’s free and better for your hair’s health. If you must use the hair dryer regularly, grab your heat protectant spray and listen.

It costs around €30 a year in electricity to run a hair dryer for 30 minutes a day – and that was the price before the current cost spike.

Partially towel or air-dry your hair before blow-drying to shorten the time spent using it.

Hair dryers are also “vampire energy drainers”, using small amounts of electrical charge when plugged in, so be sure to unplug them after use.

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