With rising food prices and inflation in August at 9.9%, just 0.2% lower than the 40-year high of 10.1% in July, thousands of households in the UK are now struggling to make ends meet. Adding fuel to the unfolding cost-of-living crisis, energy bills are soaring and many people fear they would need to choose between food and heating this winter. The new increase in energy prices is expected to come into effect in October, squeezing out an even larger portion of the income of millions of Brits.
According to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK is less vulnerable to the current gas crisis than most of Europe. Still, the rise in wholesale gas prices increases the electricity price cap set by industry regulator Ofgem. The system introduced by Theresa May’s government in 2019 capped the standard variable tariffs temporarily, promising affordable prices for gas and electricity. But it is now being adjusted quarterly and is forecast to be raised to £4,266 annually early next year – more than twice the current £1,971 set in April 2022. All this prompted the analyst team at BestBrokers to look into typical household appliances and their power consumption, aiming to answer the question how families can reduce their energy bill this season.
How to Save Money on Your Energy Bills
What people can do to reduce their electricity bills is simply look at common household appliances that draw up the most energy. One of the easiest ways to save energy is by unplugging the appliances when they are not in use. You can also turn the lights off when you don’t really need them, make your house heatproof and install electricity usage monitors. Opting for energy-efficient models is also smart in the long term, although appliances with higher energy ratings are more expensive. The energy efficiency classes are from A to G, with those labeled A being the most energy-efficient and F and G-rated products waste the most electricity.
The standby mode, even though quite handy, still uses electricity. According to the UK-based Energy Saving Trust, we can save around £55 (£45 in Northern Ireland) a year if we turn the appliance or device off its standby mode. The savings have been estimated based on an electricity price of 28.3p/kWh (based on the April 2022 price cap) for England, Scotland, and Wales. Other methods for reducing energy bills include washing clothes at lower temperatures, avoiding the tumble dryer altogether, and using the dishwasher only when it is full.
The displayed annual energy savings tips are for a typical three-bedroom home in England, Scotland or Wales that uses gas heating. Savings are calculated based on a gas price of 7.4p/kWh and electricity price of 28.3p/kWh (per April 2022 price cap), while water savings use average occupancy. The numbers for Northern Ireland use an oil price of 9.2p/kWh and an electricity price of 30.9p/kWh (as of July 2022).
Calculate the Potential Savings for Your Home
There are several things to keep in mind when assessing how much you could save from your energy bill every month. What appliances do you have in your home? Which ones are used regularly (once a day, twice a week, etc.)? Of course, while some appliances such as refrigerators are in use 24 hours a day, we use others just for a short period of time.
You need to calculate the hourly, daily, or monthly power consumption for every appliance based on its wattage, a unit of power expressed in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). Usually, it is displayed on the back or the bottom of the appliance and although it may differ slightly across brands, you can also find the typical wattage of every appliance or device online. For instance, most microwave ovens have a maximum power of 900W. Alternatively, you can calculate the wattage yourself by finding the electrical draw and the voltage, and using the following formula:
Power Consumption (Watts) = Electrical draw (Amps) x Voltage (Volts)
To find the actual daily consumption of the appliance, however, you need to multiply the wattage by the operational hours. The energy consumption is usually expressed as kilowatts hour (kWh); one kW equals 1000W. The kWh measure does not show how much an appliance would consume in 1 hour. Instead, it represents the energy consumption of keeping a 1000W appliance running for 1 hour.
kWh = Wattage (W) x Operational Hours
If we have, for instance, a 10W LED light bulb, we can find out how much energy it consumes by multiplying its wattage by the hours it will be switched on per day. Let’s say we use the bulb for 8 hours a day.
kWh = 0.01 x 8, which means the LED bulb has an average daily consumption of 0.08kWh. Now that you have a way to calculate how much energy your appliances are draining, you can easily see the potential savings from reducing their use.
Household Appliances Wattage
|Appliance/Device||Mininmum Wattage||Maximum Wattage||Standby Mode||Hours of Use Per Day at Typical Wattage||Daily Energy Consumption (kWh)||Monthly cost|
|40W light bulb (incandecent)||40W||40W||N/A||8 hours at 40W||0.32kWh||£2.72|
|LED light bulb||7W||10W||N/A||8 hours at 10W||0.08kWh||£0.68|
|Fluorescent tube||28W||45W||N/A||8 hours at 30W||0.24kWh||£2.04|
|Toaster||1200W||2500W||N/A||1/2 hour at 1200W||0.6kWh||£5.09|
|Coffee maker (espresso)||800W||1400W||2W-3W||1/2 hour at 1000W||0.5kWh||£4.25|
|Microwave oven||500W||1400W||1W-3W||1 hour at 800W||0.8kWh||£6.79|
|Electric kettle||1200W||3000W||N/A||1 hour at 2000W||2kWh||£16.98|
|Iron||1000W||3000W||N/A||1 hour at 2400W||2.4kWh||£20.38|
|Refrigerator||100W||300W||N/A||24 hours at 150W||3.6kWh||£30.56|
|Vacuum cleaner||600W||2000W||N/A||1/2 hour at 1600W||0.8kWh||£6.79|
|Electric oven (single)||2000W||3500W||1.9W-3.5W||1.5 hours at 2200W||3.3kWh||£28.02|
|Stove hobs (plate) per hob||1000W||2000W||1W-3W||1 hour at 1600W||1.6kWh||£13.58|
|Induction hobs (per hob)||1000W||2000W||4W-8W||1 hour at 1600W||1.6kWh||£13.58|
|Slow cooker||150W||300W||1W||4 hours at 200W||0.8kWh||£6.79|
|Kitchen vent hood||50W||200W||1W-2W||1 hour at 100W||0.1kWh||£0.85|
|Pressure cooker||700W||2000W||1W||1/2 hour at 1800W||0.9kWh||£7.64|
|Washing machine (8kg load)||500W||2500W||2W-6W||2 hours at 2000W||4kWh||£33.96|
|Dishwasher||1000W||1600W||2W-3W||1 hour at 1600W||1.6kWh||£13.58|
|Tumble dryer||1000W||3500W||3W||1 hour at 3000W||3kWh||£25.47|
|Hot water immersion heater||3000W||4000W||N/A||4 hours at 4000W||16kWh||£135.84|
|Instant water boiling tap||2000W||2500W||15W||1 hour at 2000W||2kWh||£16.98|
|Games console||100W||350W||5.4W||2 hours at 200W||0.4kWh||£3.40|
|Broadband router||5W||15W||5W||24 hours at 10W||0.24kWh||£2.04|
|LCD LED TV, various sizes||20W||300W||2.3W||4 hours at 70W||0.28kWh||£2.38|
|Smartphone (charging)||2W||7W||N/A||1 hour at 7W||0.007kWh||£0.06|
|Tablet (charging)||10W||15W||N/A||1 hour at 15W||0.015kWh||£0.13|
|Phone/tablet charger (no device connected)||N/A||N/A||1W||20 hours at 1W||0.02kWh||£0.17|
|Laptop computer||40W||80W||1W – 3W||4 hours at 50W||0.2kWh||£1.70|
|Desktop PC||100W||350W||1W – 3W||4 hours at 200W||0.8kWh||£6.79|
|Gaming PC||300W||650W||1W – 3W||4 hours at 450W||1.8kWh||£15.28|
This list of appliances and their average energy consumption uses an electricity price of 28.3p/kWh. Note that the daily consumption in kWh depends on the amount of time each appliance is in operation. This will vary significantly across consumers since some will play on their gaming consoles for 2 hours every day, while others may not even have such a console in their homes.