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Which home appliances cost the most to run?

Here's a list of some of the biggest energy-wasting appliances in your home, and some tips on how you can lower their usage, cutting down the cost of your energy bills in the process:

In this
guide:

Television

In a typical household, the TV is one of the most frequently used appliances - the average TV racks up over 6 hours of on time every day. Costs vary between different types of TV:

  • Flat screen plasmas on average cost £95 a year
  • Flat screen LCD’s on average cost £29 a year

The cost of having a television also increases when you consider the other appliances that you use alongside it. For example, a complete set top box and DVD recorder will cost you an extra £35 a year, and an Xbox will set you back a further £10 a year.

If you’re in the market for a new TV, consider buying one with an A or A* efficiency rating, and you’ll see the benefits when your next electricity bill comes through. Also, opt for an LCD screen over plasma - although the picture quality may not be quite as good, they’re much more efficient and can also get a lot brighter.

To save money using your current TV, you can reduce energy usage by lowering the backlight and brightness settings. The biggest drain on TV power is the backlight, so keeping this lower will reduce your power usage. Finally, remember that standby is not the same as off. Devices left on standby will be constantly using power, slowly racking up hefty bills over the year. Turn your TV off completely when you are finished watching by switching it off at the wall.

Fridge Freezer

Costing on average £47.50 a year to run, the fridge freezer is one of the most expensive appliances in any home. Here are some simple tricks that will help you cut down running costs by reducing unnecessary power consumption:

  • Make sure it is operating at its optimal temperature. Refrigerators work best between 36 to 38 degrees F (2.2 to 3.3 degrees C). Freezers work best between 0 to 5 degrees F (-17.6 to -15 degrees C).
  • Clean the coils to maximise efficiency. Dust building up your coils means that energy transfer between them and the fridge is reduced, and therefore more power is required for it to stay cool. Regularly cleaning the coils means your condenser won’t have to run as often and you'll notice a sizeable reduction on your energy bill.
  • Defrosting regularly will also save you money. Frost build-up will reduce efficient energy transfer and will damage your fridges efficiency.
  • Find the best location for your fridge. Those exposed to heat from direct sunlight or sources around the home will require more energy to stay cool. You should also consider moving your fridge away from the wall by an inch or so. This allows for better air circulation which will increase efficiency.

Electric Hob

The best advice we can give for this appliance is to make the switch to using a gas hob. On average an electric hob costs £46 a year to run whereas a gas hob costs £33 a year. However, for those in the situation where gas lines are not fitted into your house, an electric hob may be the only option. Here are some tips on how to use it more efficiently:

  • Make sure the size of the pan you are using is suitable for the amount of food you are cooking. Using a large pan to cook a small amount of food will lead to unnecessary heat energy wastage.
  • Make sure you don’t put too much water in the pot to cover your vegetables.
  • Keep lids on your pots to trap heat.
  • Once your water is boiling, put a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to allow it to simmer.

Kettle

Despite being one of the most treasured devices in a British household, the electric kettle will set you back a hefty £24 a year. One of the biggest mistakes people make when handling the kettle is filling it up too much. When you go to make a cup of tea, make sure you fill the kettle appropriately - boiling enough water for four people when you make a cuppa is going to cost you in the long run.

Dishwasher

This household appliance is used on average 135 times a year, which can set you back £20 annually. Try utilising the following tips to lessen its energy usage:

  • Change the setting to energy saving or ‘eco’ mode. These programmes will be included on most modern dishwashers and will reduce energy usage by using less water and washing at a lower temperature.
  • Maximise the load. Make sure that the dishwasher is filled correctly by ensuring that every item is cleaned in as little space as possible. Underfilling the dishwasher will lead to more washes every year, and overfilling will lead to dishes being left dirty, which will also inevitably lead to more washes.
  • When shopping around for a new dishwasher, do some research and aim to purchase one with an A or A* efficiency rating.
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