Here at Look After My Bills we’re all about cheap energy. Because we’re experts, we know that there are two ways of looking at cheap energy. One way is to shop around for the very best gas and electricity tariffs you can find (or at least ask Look After My Bills to do the shopping around for you). The other is to cut the amount of energy you use.
There is a third way, of course, and that’s to get yourself on the most affordable tariff you can find and go out of your way to cut the amount of energy you use. You might think that sounds like stating the obvious, but then again so does ‘don’t let energy companies rip you off by keeping you on their most expensive variable tariff’, and yet that’s exactly what lots of people do.
According to the last State of the Energy Market report from Ofgem, 54% of all customers have been stuck on poor value default tariffs for more than three years. Since the same report states that they could’ve saved an average of £320 per year by switching to a better tariff, maybe saving money is sometimes not enough of an incentive to do something about your energy bills.
It’s understandable in a way, because energy bills are extremely difficult to make sense of (just try relating kWh to the money you spend heating your house) and the thought of ploughing through the details of other tariffs is could be a cure for insomnia. The truth, however, is that there are plenty of simple tips to cut down energy use in your home, from not leaving items on standby (they’re still draining energy from the system) to making central heating cost-efficient by insulating your walls, loft, doors, windows and floors.
There’s also the question of the appliances you purchase and run. Let’s be honest, we all love big shiny appliances, with their buttons and dials and internet connections that let you check if the milk’s gone off while you’re on the train home from work (this might be a slight exaggeration of the power of the Internet of Things). Ask us what are the most expensive appliances to run, however, and we tend to look a bit blank. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to what household items use the most electricity.
Look for the rating
Juts like an EPC for your home… one of the easiest ways of checking the energy efficiency of any appliance you’re about to purchase is by checking the EU Energy Label. This is a label given to a range of products which works by giving each appliance a rating from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G the least. In recent years, ratings of A+, A++ and A+++ were also introduced, but these are being phased out at the moment, and by 2021 the more easily understood A to G system will be back in place.
The appliances covered by the scheme are as follows:
- Washing machines
- Electronic displays including televisions
The amount of energy an appliance uses, and therefore the amount it will cost you to run, is always going to be based on average usage and an average tariff. Organisations like the Energy Saving Trust run the kind of tests needed to ascertain just how much energy a range of devices use up, and these figures can be used to draw up a list of some of the most expensive appliances to run:
Lovers of the home cinema experience will be dismayed to hear it, but the bigger the screen, the more energy your TV is going to be using. This is the case even if you’ve invested in the best rated model you can find (although you should still get an A rated model). In simple terms, a 22 inch LCD TV costs £6 a year in electricity, while a 60” A rated TV sucks in £33 worth.
The point of a fridge freezer is that it’s on all the time, so this is always going to be one of the most expensive appliances in your house. As with a TV (and this is where all those complicated equations become much simpler), the bigger the appliance, the more it costs to run. An A rated fridge freezer with a capacity of 180 litres costs £39 a year to run, while a 525 litre fridge freezer, even if it has a better rating of A+, will use £52 in electricity every year.
Many people considering investing in a dishwasher worry about the amount of water they’ll be getting through (particularly if their water supply is metered). While this is one issue, the fact of the matter is that using your dishwasher on a regular basis (approximately five times a week) will generate electricity bills of £45 per year.
Still wedded to your desktop PC? For many people who work from home this has always seemed like the obvious choice, but the truth is that if you use a desktop PC on a daily basis it will be costing you £15 a year. Not a lot in itself, perhaps, but changing to a laptop will cut that bill by 85%.
Electric cookers are amongst the appliances that cost the most to run, not least because you need to cook food most days (particularly if you’ve got a family to feed). Energy provider OVO found that an electric cooker, running at 3.3kWh for just 30 minutes a day will run up costs of £90 per year. Using a microwave for 10 minutes a day, on the other hand, will cost just £3 per year.
If you’re British then chances are you use a kettle more than most other appliances. If you boil a full kettle for 10 minutes a day it’ll cost you £30 per year. Half a kettle will halve the cost, so the answer is obvious – only boil the amount of water you need to use.