In our recent blog, we looked at how to choose the most energy efficient household appliances for your needs. Selecting the right appliance can help save you energy and money on your electricity bills, but some common household items are more energy guzzling than others.
The electricity required to power all the lights in your home, for example, is dwarfed by the wet appliances in your kitchen – in particular, washing machines and dishwashers. These draw heavily on the electricity grid, as the power needed to heat the water they use pushes up consumption.
Here, we find out which are the biggest users of electricity in the home and offer some tips on how to use them as efficiently as possible.
Washing machines, dishwashers and anything else that uses water is known as a wet appliance. These appliances take the top spot in terms of how much energy they use, accounting for 25% of an average household’s electrical use – and 15% of total energy bills costs. The power needed to heat the water that they use pushes up consumption, making them energy-hungry household appliances.
Actively choosing to wash clothes at a lower temperature can help reduce your energy consumption and try to avoid washing half loads to save water. The same advice goes for you dishwasher: use the Eco setting if it has one and try to wait until it’s full to set it off. We’ve got more tips in our blog on being energy efficient when using your washing machine.
Today, we are far more reliant on consumer electronics – from laptops to TVs to game consoles – so it should come as no surprise that they take second place, accounting for around 19% of total electrical use in the average household, or 9% of your energy bill.
Some of the oldest advice remains relevant: remember to turn your devices off standby where possible. TVs take the top spot in terms of energy consumption when it comes to home electronics, using around 30% of the total electricity we use on electronic devices.
Are your cooking habits costing you too much in your energy bills? Around 19% of the average household’s electricity use – or 4% of your energy bill – is spent on powering kitchen appliances, including the hob, oven, kettle and microwave.
Did you know it’s more energy efficient to cook for more than one person at a time? You can check out more tips in our blog on how to get the most out of your kitchen appliances. Microwaves are more efficient than ovens at cooking, as they only heat the food and not the air space inside.
Fridges and freezers account for around 16% of total electricity use, which can equate to around 9% of the average household’s energy bill. By their very nature, these appliances need to stay on all the time, so they’re continually drawing power to maintain a constant temperature.
The more products they contain, the harder they have to work to stay cool, so you can save energy by not overloading them. Your fridge should be kept between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius, so if yours doesn’t have a thermometer installed, it’s worth investing in one to ensure it remains at an efficient temperature.
Coming in just behind cold appliances, lighting takes up around 16% of the total electrical use in the average home, or 6% of the total energy bill if you include the cost of heating your home. You can reduce the amount of energy you use by replacing halogen bulbs with LEDs.
LEDs come in a range of shades from cool to warm, allowing you to create the lighting effect that you want for your home. If the average household replaced all bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £145 and save around £40 a year on bills.
Applied energy saving
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, improve energy security and lower your bills at the same time, there are a number of actions you can take. Some of our top tips include:
don’t overload your fridge and freezer, as this reduces the energy they use
wash at 30°C to use around 57% less electricity than at higher temperatures
replace all your home’s halogen downlighters with LEDs to save around £40 a year
There are options to make your connected world that little bit more conscious too. Consider adding the following actions to you list of new year resolutions:
turn off Wi-Fi at night to save £3 a year
switch off smart home appliances at the wall, if possible
don’t constantly charge phones and other devices up to 100% – most have a longer lifespan if their batteries are kept around half charged
when you upgrade gadgets, consider their overall sustainability, and make sure they’re properly recycled, so valuable materials can go back into creating the technologies of tomorrow rather than needing to be dug out of the ground
There are ways to use less energy available in almost every home – by engaged behaviour and sensible purchasing power, it is possible to get the same or better performance for less.