Where is most energy consumed around the home, and what can we do to minimise its use? We look at where you can save money.
We are currently in the middle of what seems to have become the annual energy price-rise season.
SSE and British Gas have already upped rates by the best part of 10 per cent, with npower and ScottishPower following suit in December, and EDF at the start of January.
Experts estimate that the typical household will now spend around £1,400 a year on energy.
So where is most energy consumed around the home, and what can we do to minimise its use?
Five biggest energy wasters in the home
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has analysed the typical annual energy consumption of common domestic appliances and gadgets to highlight where our money goes.
1. A flat-screen plasma TV
A flat-screen plasma TV is the most energy-hungry home appliance, accounting for around £95 a year, or 658 kilowatt hours (kWh).
An LCD TV is much more efficient at just 199 kWh (£29 a year) while an old-fashioned cathode-ray tube (CRT) set costs about £17 a year to run.
2. A fridge-freezer
This appliance uses about 427 kWh of power a year, at a cost of £62. Keep it free of ice to ensure it is running as efficiently as possible.
3. Tumble dryers
These use almost 400 kWh a year, at a cost of £57. Add on £24 for the washing element if you have a combined washer-drier.
4. A cooker with an electric hob
A cooker with electric hob uses about 317 kWh, costing £46 a year.
5. A full-size dishwasher
This kitchen appliance uses 294 kWh, which adds £42 to annual bills.
Tips to save cash
EST spokesman Jack Melling says: "Savings can be made simply by switching appliances off rather than leaving them on standby – between £50 and £90 every year."
He adds that bills can be kept in check by using domestic appliances more efficiently.
"Only filling the kettle up with as much water as you need could save around £8 in energy bills a year.
"And washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than at higher temperatures could save around £13 a year."
Heating 60% of household energy bill
The EST says that heating is the biggest drain on domestic gas or electricity.
The organisation estimates that roughly 60 per cent of a typical family's annual bill is devoted to staying warm. But you can fight back.
Melling says: "Fitting the right controls will let households set their heating and hot water to come on and off when required, heating just the areas of the home they want.
"Installing a room thermostat if you didn’t have one before could save £70 a year.
"This also means households can then make savings by using controls more effectively.
"For example, turning down the room thermostat by just one degree if it's too warm inside could save around £65."
Melling adds that inefficient use of hot water can also be expensive.
"A four-person family could save around £75 on their yearly gas bills a by replacing their inefficient shower head with a water-efficient one."
Savings can be made on lighting too.
By replacing old-fashioned light bulbs with energy-saving versions, an average household can cut electricity bills by £60 a year – although the new bulbs will cost about £110, the EST says.
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