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19 Sep 2019
Adam Bate Confused.com

Appliances: How much do yours cost to run?

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An oven, washing machine and fridge-freezer stood side by side, next to a graph showing energy efficiency ratings

How much does it really cost to boil the kettle?

Energy prices have been a hot topic in the UK for the last year or so.

The introduction of an energy price cap has focused the public’s attention on the amount we pay for our gas and electricity.

In addition, the use of energy comparison sites including Confused.com has exploded in recent years, as more and more people realise there are massive savings to be made.

At the same time, factors such as climate change and increased environmental awareness are making lots of us examine how we use our energy, as well as how much we pay for it.

But since all we see is an estimated bill each month, it can be a little confusing to figure out which appliance is using up all that energy. This should help you out.

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What do energy ratings mean?

When you buy a new appliance, it’ll normally have a label telling you the energy rating from A++ to E. But what does this 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.

A fridge-freezer with an energy rating of A might use 408 kWh per year. This would cost you £73.44 to run if you’re on a standard variable tariff, subject to the price cap*.

On the cheapest tariff** offered by Confused.com, it’d cost just £55.52, saving you £17.92 a year.

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

This would cost you £37.08 to run on a price cap tariff. And on the cheapest tariff, only £28.03 per year.

So you can see how combining an energy efficient product with the cheapest tariff could save you a massive £45.41 per year on your energy expenditure – and that’s just on one appliance!

READ MORE: Smart meters explained

How much energy does it use?

Most of us have been made aware that standby mode uses almost as much electricity as when the appliance is switched on.

We also know that you should only put as much water in the kettle as you actually need, because kettles use lots of electricity.

So how much do your appliances cost to run? If you have a smart meter, you could switch everything off and look at how much each appliance uses one by one… but that would take ages.

And if you take too long, all the food in the freezer might defrost.

Here’s a rundown of typical usage for each product. It shows how much an appliance costs to run each month on a standard tariff, versus how much you’d pay on our cheapest deal**.

Item Kwh per month Cost per month (£) Standard Variable tariff Cost per month (£) Best energy deal

Air Con (8 hours per day)

492

88.56

66.96

Electric heater (2 hours per day)

60

10.80

8.17

Washing Machine (weekly washing for family of 4)

36

6.48

4.90

Kettle (15 mins per day)

24

4.32

3.27

Tumble Drier (weekly drying for family of 4)

48

8.64

6.53

Fridge Freezer (A++ rating running 24/7)

17.2

3.10

2.34

Fridge Freezer (A rating running 24/7)

34

6.12

4.63

Games console - Xbox One X (4 hours per day)

21.6

3.89

2.94

43” LED SMART TV (5 hours per day)

10.7

1.93

1.46

Single incandescent light bulb [60 watts] (4 hours in the evening)

7.2

1.30

0.98

Single LED bulb [15 watts] (4 hours in the evening)

1.8

0.32

0.24

Laptop (5 hours per day)

4.2

0.76

0.57

Microwave (10 minutes per day)

4

0.72

0.54

Vacuum Cleaner (2 hours a week)

4

0.72

0.54

Hair dryer (5 minutes per day, 4 times a week)

3.33

0.60

0.45

Lawn Mower (once a week)

3

0.54

0.41

Hair Straighteners (5 minutes per day, 4 times a week)

2.46

0.44

0.33

Prices do not include standing charge/membership fee which varies between suppliers.
*Energy price cap correct for the period 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020 – electricity charged at 18p per kWh.
**Cheapest tariff may vary dependent on your location, usage and offers available at the time (example uses Igloo Pioneer charging 13.609p per kWh).

How to lower your appliance energy cost

As you can see, the biggest costs are typically on managing the temperature of your home. For those that 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 simple things like keeping the door shut or opening a window (depending on the weather) could go a long way towards reducing your energy bills. 

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, will also push up your annual energy bills.

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.

READ MORE: Green energy explained

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