Home Household machines What you pay for appliances – and how to save energy at home

What you pay for appliances – and how to save energy at home

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The shower is one of the most expensive appliances in the house, but an electric blanket is cheap to use.

Across the country, people are facing even more financial hardship as many household bills are rising the 1st of April.

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So, with prices now at their highest in living memory, many people will be looking for ways to reduce the cost of their energy bill.

Most people turn the heat on less when trying to save money – but have you thought about the price of a cup of tea?

This is what you need to know about how much you’re spending on appliances – and where you can cut costs.

How is electricity metered and paid for?

Electricity is sold in kilowatt hours (kWh) – usually referred to as “units” on your electricity bill.

If you look at your electricity bill, you will see that there are two charges: the fixed electricity charge and the electricity unit rate.

The permanent charge is applied daily and is billed regardless of the customer’s energy consumption.

The details of average permanent loads published by Ofgem show that from April 1 direct debit customers will typically pay 45 pence a day to their electricity supplier. Previously the average change for this was 25 pence a day.

For prepaid customers, electricity charges will average 50 pence per day.

For cash and check customers the electricity charge will be 51 pence per day.

How much does it cost to use each of my appliances?

If you want to reduce your electricity consumption, a good place to start is to focus on these everyday devices.

The precise amount used by each of your devices will of course depend on the specific devices you have and how often you use them.

Some fridge-freezers, for example, have higher efficiency ratings than others. However, regardless of their energy rating, refrigerators and freezers also tend to be appliances that consume more electricity simply because they are on all the time.

Each device uses a different amount of kilowatts (kW).

Below, we’ve used the average kilowatts consumed by each device, but you can check the actual consumption of your devices by looking at the label, usually printed on the outlet.

An average 3kW kettle will cost around 12.5 pence to boil. If you use the kettle to fill a medium sized cup with water, it will only take about a minute to boil, so it costs just over 1p to make a cup of tea or coffee.

An electric shower is the most expensive appliance to use, especially when coupled with rising water bills. This costs between 29p and 44p, depending on the power rating of your shower. If you like long showers, that means it will cost you between £1.75 and £2.62 for a one hour shower.

An average 2kW to 2.2kW oven will cost around 8p to 9p for 10 minutes of use. For an hour of use, it will therefore cost around 48p to 54p.

A medium 1kW to 2kW grill or griddle will cost around 4p to 8.5p for 10 minutes of use. For an hour of use, it will therefore cost around 24p to 51p.

The average microwave has a low power rating, only 0.6 kW. It only costs 2p to 6p to use. However, be aware that this number can go up for a microwave oven.

A washing machine will cost between 5p and 12.5p to run for 10 minutes, depending on the power rating. This means that for a one hour cycle you can expect to pay between 30p and 75p.

Clothes dryers generally have a higher power rating than washing machines, usually between 2kW and 3kW. They therefore cost more to use. For 10 minutes of use you can pay between 8p and 12.5p, or 50p to 75p for an hour.

An average 1kW to 1.5kW dishwasher will cost around 4.5 to 6 pence for 10 minutes of use, or 27 to 36 pence for an hour.

A fridge-freezer typically has one of the lowest kilowatt ratings of any household appliance – usually only between 0.2kW and 0.4kW, but it’s still the most expensive appliance to run because it should be on all the time. It costs 0.8p to 1.6p to run for 10 minutes, or around 5p to 10p for each hour. This means it costs between £1.20 and £2.40 to keep your fridge freezer on every 24 hours, or between £36 and £72 for a 30 day month.

A toaster usually has a power rating of between 0.8kW and 1.5kW and will cost between 3p and 6p. However, most of us only use the toaster for two to four minutes per slice or slices of bread, so the cost of using a toaster is probably no more than around 2p per time , but generally less than 1p. The more you like your toast well done, the more it will cost you.

The cost to watch TV varies depending on the type of TV you have. Plasma TVs tend to be more expensive, costing between 1.2p and 1.8p for 10 minutes of use, or 7p to 11p for each hour. An LCD TV, however, is cheaper and costs between 0.5p and 0.8p for every 10 minutes or 3p to 5p for every hour.

Your phone is a device that you use frequently and therefore it usually needs to be charged every one to two days depending on your usage. In fact, it doesn’t cost that much to charge an average smartphone – less than 0.1p for a 10 minute charge or less than 0.2p for an hour charge.

This one isn’t a device, but it’s something most of us have plugged in all day, every day. A typical broadband router costs less than 0.1 pence for 10 minutes of use or around 0.2 pence for every hour. That means it costs 4.8p to keep your internet connected every day, or £1.44 for an average 30-day month.

It’s no longer an appliance, but it’s a gadget many of us invest in as we seek to turn on the heat less while still keeping warm. The average electric blanket has a low power rating and costs between 0.5p and 0.8p to use for 10 minutes or 3p to 5p for an hour. This makes using one of these a very effective way to lower your bills and keep your body warm.

How can I reduce my energy consumption?

There are several things you can do to reduce your energy consumption, and therefore reduce your electricity bill:

  • Put only the amount of water you need in the kettle – it will boil for less time and you won’t waste water.
  • Spend less time in your electric shower. Since the shower is one of the most expensive appliances in the house, if you can reduce your shower time even by a few minutes, you will see a reduction in your bill.
  • Use the microwave more. There are a few foods that we can choose to cook in the oven, microwave, on a griddle, or on a grill. The microwave is the cheapest to use, so opt for this one if you can. As a bonus, food is often ready much faster when cooked in the microwave.
  • Fill the washing machine. It may seem obvious, but if you only turn the washing machine on when you have a full load, you’ll use it less and save you money. It will also reduce your water consumption.
  • Dry clothes outside if you can or on a drying rack. The dryer is also one of the most expensive appliances. Therefore, when the weather permits, turn it off and dry your clothes outside instead.
  • Think of other ways to warm up. When the temperature drops, your instinct may be to turn on the heat, but there are cheaper ways to stay warm. A electric blanket is really good value for money and feels comfortable. There are also many other products that help you stay warm that are worth investing in.
  • Switch off appliances at the outlet when not in use. Devices that aren’t powered by electricity don’t cost anything, so an easy way to save money is to shut off the power source for anything you aren’t using if you can.

What should I look for if I buy a new device?

If you’re buying a new refrigerator, television or other appliance, the best way to determine how much it will cost to operate it is to check the energy efficiency label, which is included with every new appliance or gadget and which you can consult in stores.

Those rated “A” or higher are the most efficient for their size, so it’s best to buy one if you can.

The energy labels also print the suggested usage in kWh per year for each appliance, which also allows you to compare appliances of different sizes.

What should I do if I’m still having trouble paying my bills?