Appliances: How much do yours cost to run?

The rising cost of fossil fuels has caused the price of energy to soar over the last few months. Here’s what you could be paying to run your appliances and some ways you can save on your energy.

appliances with energy rating

All calculations used in this guide have been calculated using the April price cap figures. These figures will be updated again in October when the new price cap comes into effect. 

How much is the average electricity bill in the UK?

What you pay for energy depends on your usage and who you share your home with. It could also vary depending on where you are in the UK, and the type of appliances you have.

For example, some freezers are more energy efficient than others. 

But on average, Ofgem estimates that an average British household of 2.4 people uses around 12,000kWh for gas and 2,900kWh for electricity per year.

That’s 1,000 kWh for gas and 241 kWh for electricity per month. 

Ofgem has also estimated what a low, medium and high energy user would use per year in gas and electricity:

  • Low - Gas: 8,000 kWh Electric: 1,800 kWh
  • Medium - Gas: 12,000 Electric: 2,900
  • High- Gas: 17,000 Electric: 4,300

To calculate the average bill for a low, medium and high energy user, we’ve based our prices first on the standard variable rate (SVR) tariff cost.This is usually the tariff that you’re put onto when your fixed term deal ends.

The price of an SVR tariff is determined by the average energy price cap unit rates set out by Ofgem - in this case £0.07 per kWh for gas and £0.28 per kWh for electricity.

Thanks to the energy price cap, your supplier won’t be able to charge you more than this per kWh of energy. But this isn’t a cap on your total bill, you could be charged more if your energy usage is high, for example.

Here’s what the average energy cost for different energy users could look like per month and year: 

Usage type Typical usage in kWh* Average annual cost** Average annual cost for gas and electricity Monthly average cost for gas and electricity

*Based on Ofgem’s typical energy usage table for low, medium and high usage households.

**Based on Ofgem’s Average price cap unit rates from 1 April 2022:

  • Gas: £0.07 per kWh plus Daily standing charge: £0.27
  • Electric: £0.28 per kWh plus Daily standing charge: £0.45

This is an estimate. Figures will vary depending on usage, supplier and location in the UK.

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Energy appliance usage specifics:

It’s worth mentioning that even the best fixed energy deal is more expensive than the standard variable rate tariff at the moment. This is because of the current prices of wholesale energy.

You could be better off on the standard variable rate tariff than a fixed deal. An SVR  is covered by Ofgem’s energy price cap- so you shouldn’t be charged more than £0.28 per kWh. This is also below what energy suppliers are paying. 

A fixed rate energy deal is fixed for 12 months usually. Because the price of energy is high, energy suppliers have had to allow for this and raise the prices of fixed deals.


How much energy does it take to boil a kettle?

Based on using a kettle for 15 minutes a day - this might be higher if you’re a caffeine fiend - a kettle could use around 24 kWh per month. 

On a standard variable rate tariff that could work out at £6.72 per month, or £9.60 on the best energy deal at the time of writing.

One way to reduce this cost would be to cut down on your tea and coffee intake - which is easier said than done. Or only boil as much water as you need. 

By only boiling as much water as you need,
the Energy Savings Trust estimates you could save you around £33 per year. 


How much energy does it take to run a tumble dryer?

A tumble dryer used by a family of 4 every week could use a total of 48 kWh per month.

On a standard variable rate tariff, this could cost around £13.44 per month. This rises to £19.20 if you’re on the best energy deal.

If you can, try air drying your clothes. Or dry them outside if the weather is ok. 

You could save around £55 a year if you stop using your tumble dryer altogether. 


How much electricity does a washing machine use?

A weekly wash for a family of 4 could use around 36 kWh of electricity, working out at £10.08 on a SVR or £14.40 on a supplier’s best energy deal.

It’s hard to reduce your weekly washes, particularly if you have a family. But reducing your washing temperature from 40 degrees to 30 could be an option.

You might also save around £28 per year


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What do energy ratings mean and why are they important?

One way to potentially save energy and your bank balance from the outset is to buy an energy efficient appliance.

When you buy a new appliance, it normally has a label telling you the energy rating. The energy ratings changed in 2021. Instead of using A+++ to E, The new scale runs from A to G.

 The new scale gives a more accurate reading of the energy efficiency rating of appliances. 

At the moment, the new energy efficiency scale applies to refrigerators, washing machines, washer-dryers, TVs, displays and dishwashers. For other products like ovens and tumble dryers, the new label will be introduced when new or revised UK regulations come into force.

But what do the energy efficiency ratings actually mean? Well it turns out that for your wallet, it means quite a lot.

Let’s look at fridge-freezers. Most of us have one and it’s on 24 hours a day. We’ll use the new ratings for this.

A fridge-freezer with an energy rating of D might use 408 kWh per year. This could cost you £114.24 to run if you’re on a standard variable rate tariff, subject to the price cap.

If you went for the most efficient fridge-freezer with an energy rating of A, the usage could drop significantly to 206 kWh per year.

This could cost you around £57.84 to run on a supplier’s standard variable rate tariff. 

So you can see how investing in an energy efficient appliance could save you £56.40 per year on your energy use– and that’s just on one appliance!


How much energy do appliances use?

Here’s a rundown of typical usage for each common household appliance.

It shows how much an appliance costs to run each month on a standard variable tariff, versus how much you might pay on the cheapest energy deal available at the moment**.

Air Con (8 hours per day)
Electric heater (2 hours per day)
Washing Machine (weekly washing for family of 4)
Kettle (15 mins per day)
Tumble Drier (weekly drying for family of 4)
Fridge Freezer (A rating running 24/7)
Fridge Freezer (D rating running 24/7)
Games console - Xbox One X (4 hours per day)
43” LED SMART TV (5 hours per day)
Single incandescent light bulb [60 watts] (4 hours in the evening)
Single LED bulb [15 watts] (4 hours in the evening)
Laptop (5 hours per day)
Microwave (10 minutes per day)
Vacuum Cleaner (2 hours a week)
Hair dryer (5 minutes per day, 4 times a week)
Lawn Mower (once a week)
Hair Straighteners (5 minutes per day, 4 times a week)
Prices do not include standing daily charge/membership fee which varies between suppliers.
*Energy price cap correct for the period 1 April to 30 September 2022 – electricity charged at 28p per kWh. Prices may differ due to rounding. 
**Cheapest tariff may vary depending on your location, usage and offers available at the time. Prices may differ due to rounding. (example uses unit rates for Northern region electricity customers charging 39.680p per kWh provided by Uswitch).

How to lower your appliance energy cost

As you can see, the biggest costs are typically on managing the temperature of your home. If you rely on air conditioning during the summer, you can clearly see the massive amount of energy used by doing so – equally, electric heaters are also pretty pricey. 

When you add this to the cost of running your kettle, laptops, TVs, washing machines and hair straighteners, it can all contribute to a pretty tidy sum!

It might sound obvious, but you could easily save energy by:

  • Keeping the doors shut and using draught excluders in the winter
  • Opening a window if it’s summer and the weather is hot
  • Checking for draughts from your windows

Our home heating hacks can give you some simple, cost-effective ways to keep your home toasty too.

For more ideas of how to pay less on your gas and electricity bills, read our energy efficiency guide.

And bear in mind that if you work from home, the extra hours spent in the house, which would normally be spent in the office, also push up your annual energy bills. So if you’re allowed back into your office, potentially working there for a few days a week could mean a saving. 

If you run your business from home, and more than 50% of the energy you use is for business purposes, it’s worth considering a business energy account.