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Which Household Items Use the Most Electricity?

It’s not until you start going round your home turning off lights, turning things off standby and reducing the heat on the thermostat that you realise at just how many points you are using energy. Everything, from charging your little electric toothbrush to cooking the family dinner at night is consuming energy and contributing to your household bills. But to really understand just which appliances are using the most energy in your home, it is important you understand just how energy works.

A power rating is given to every electrical appliance you use, e.g. watts (W) or kilowatts (kW), which tells you the amount of electricity required for the device to work. Then, killowatt-hours (kWh) define how much electricity is used for the time it is on.

Killowatt-hour’s (or units as they are commonly named) is how your electricity is sold to you; so it is possible to calculate just how much electricity a device is using and what this will be costing you. To do this, all you need to do is multiply the appliances wattage, by the time it is used and then by the cost per killowatt-hour.

For example, if your oven was 1200W and you used it for 2 hours, this would equate to 1.2(kW) x 2 = 2.4kWh. Lets say your electricity per kWh is provided at a cost of 16p, which will then be multiplied by 2.4kWh, leaving you with a 38.4p bill for using your oven for 2 hours.

As you move around the house calculating how much electricity each item costs you may be surprised at what you find. Evidently, things like your fridge are going to take a massive chunk out of your bill because they are constantly on. However, they are of a low wattage, which often makes them as efficient as possible. Things like irons can use a lot of electricity when they’re on – so there’s one more excuse not to do that pile of ironing!

Here’s a couple of other household items average power ratings: an electric shower can often be a massive 4000W, a dishwasher 3000W, a toaster 1400W, a vacuum cleaner 750W and a hairdryer 500W. Seeing all these items and their wattage can really give you an idea of just where your energy bills are arising from. These are everyday items that you simply can’t do without and unless you stop drying your hair and having a shower, there isn’t much you can do about the amount of electricity they use.

However, there are things you can do around the home that really will help with your bills; and here are a few tips.

  • Leaving your phone on charge overnight can use a lot of unnecessary electricity, with many only needing a couple of hours to charge.
  • Don’t do half-loads in the washing machine; doing two of these will use up more energy than you would if you just did one big full-load.Opt for a laptop – these tend to use nearly 85% less electricity than your standard PC
  • By opening the oven door a quarter of the heat inside can escape, so quickly open and shut it to save energy.
  • Try not to use a tumble dryer unless necessary; hang your clothes outside as much as possible – even in the winter.
  • Regularly defrosting your fridge/freezer will allow for it to run more efficiently.

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