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What appliances use the most electricity?

Conservatory of a house

Running a household is an expensive undertaking. Most appliances needed to run a happy home consume a lot of energy and there’s no way around it, right? Well, not really. Identifying equipment that uses a lot of energy and, making a few switches here and there can significantly reduce your energy bills. 

Fridge freezer

Energy usage

According to OVO Energy, a combined fridge-freezer uses between 250 and 427 kWh every year. And households that use a separate fridge and freezer can expect to use much more.

Expected annual running costs

In monetary terms, 250 - 427 kWh per year translates to an annual running cost of £40 to £65. Meanwhile, the average fridge uses around 170 kWh (£25) per year and a separate freezer consumes between 170 and 360 kWh (£40) every year. To lower costs, it’s advised to go for an energy-efficient combined fridge-freezer with a quality efficiency rating ( A++ is the highest rating).

3 tips for reducing your Fridge Freezer’s energy consumption

A kitchen is never complete without a decent fridge freezer to store away food and drinks. Here are some top tips to make the most out of yours:

  1. Consider setting your fridge freezer down by a couple of degrees. Every degree lower uses about 5% less energy.
  2. Avoid overcrowding your fridge-freezer. The more items inside mean more work for the appliance and a reduction of efficiency. A crammed fridge is also at risk of not closing properly and that creates its own problem for energy use and hygiene.
  3. Let hot food cool down before storing it in the fridge. The heat could be harmful to the cooling units and make your fridge work overtime.

Washing machine

Energy usage

The average washing machine is used for around 270 cycles per year at about 1.24 kWh per wash.

Expected annual running costs

Based on doing just two loads of washing a week, you can be looking at a cost of about £30. For a large household, that figure will only rise and rise.

3 energy-saving tips for washing machine

  1. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees or lower.
  2. From time to time, do a hot wash. The heat should clear any excess build-up of bacteria and anything that can prevent the machine from not working properly.
  3. Only use your washing machine when you have a full load.

Tumble dryer

Energy usage

The average tumble dryer gets used around 148 times per year using around 2.5 kWh each time. 

Expected annual running costs

While two loads of washing costs about £30 per year, drying the same amount of clothes works out to around £70. That’s over twice as much.

3 energy-saving tips when using the tumble dryer

According to Statista, nearly 3 out of 5 households own a tumble dryer. To keep them ticking along, try these great tips:

  1. Consider an extra spin for your clothes. This will soak up more moisture and mean less time in the dryer.
  2. Upgrade your machine. If it’s time to get a new dryer, invest in an energy-efficient one.
  3. Ditch your tumble dryer altogether. If you have outside space or clothes racks, try to use these instead. You’ll save on energy bills and the cost of replacing the dryer.

Electric Hob 

Energy usage

The average electric hob uses about 300 kWh per year. This figure is based loosely on using an electric hob at least once a day.

Expected annual running costs

It costs on average about £40 per year to use an electric hob. 

3 energy-saving tips when using the electric hob

Cook your way to energy efficiency with these hot cost-saving tips:

  1. Try to cook in bulk. Things like lunch for work, even dinner can be cooked in bigger portions to maximise your energy use.
  2. Where appropriate, use lids on pots to trap the heat (and energy) in.
  3. Use the right-sized pans and pots to give your energy less ground to cover when cooking food or boiling water.


Energy usage

Gas ovens consume around 1.56 kWh per use while electric models use slightly less at 1.52 kWh. Though electric ovens do tend to cost more to run on an annual basis.  

Expected annual running costs

Based on the information above the price of using a gas oven is around £7.60 while an electric oven will cost nearly three times as much at £21.08.

3 energy-saving tips when using the oven

If you’ve got an oven and use it regularly, you may be letting energy escape out of the door along with the delicious smell of baked bread: 

  1. Keeping your oven door clean should save you money on your energy bill. If you can see through the door then you won’t need to open the door (i.e. let the energy escape) as much.
  2. If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, don’t use it as this chews up energy. A bit of soap and a sponge should get the job done.
  3. If you do take the self-cleaning option, use it straight after your food comes out. The built-up heat will mean you won’t have to start the oven from scratch.  


Energy usage

At 55 degrees, a dishwasher consumes around 1.07 kWh of energy while at 65 degrees, the machine will use 1.44 kWh.

Expected annual running costs

Research by Carbon Footprint suggests that the cost of running a dishwasher at 55 degrees for a year is just under £12. At 65 degrees, that amount shoots up to just shy of £20 yearly. Of course, the size of your household and how often you use your dishwater would be a major factor when determining the true cost of running the appliance.   

3 energy-saving tips when using the dishwasher

In just under 20 years, the percentage of UK homes with a dishwater increased from 18% to just under 50% of the population. Try these suggestions to keep your dishwater in tip-top shape: 

  1. Skip the pre-rinse. Dishwashers nowadays are powerful enough to get your dishes squeaky clean on just a normal cycle. 
  2. Air dry your plates. If your dishwasher comes with this feature it’s worth leaving this part out. Simply opening the doors at the end will dry your bowls, cutlery and the like, the natural way.
  3. Use dishwashing liquid or powder that’s biodegradable, free of petroleum and phosphates. This should prevent the build-up of limescale and rust and increase your machine’s efficiency.   

Energy-efficient appliances

While considering the tips we’ve given you, you could take it a step further. Upgrading your appliances to more energy-efficient models can cut your bills in the long run.

The initial cost of buying new appliances may give you cause the pause initially but, as they are much more efficient and will need repairing less often, you should see a difference in saving further down the road.

Checking appliance efficiency ratings when purchasing new or upgrading 

When researching new appliances, check for the appliance efficiency rating. Most appliances like white goods have to display an EU Energy Label which rates how efficient or inefficient the device is. They are graded from A to G (or A +++ to G for fridge-freezers) with A being the most efficient.

Use of an appliance energy monitor 

An energy monitor is like a smart tablet for your energy appliances at home. Some energy suppliers offer them for free along with their tariffs. An energy monitor won’t save you money directly but its display will lay out where you’re using the most energy. This, in turn, could make you change up your energy consumption habits for the betterment of your wallet.

Be savvy with use

Remember, one of the best ways to save energy is to pull the plug. The biggest culprits here are things like mobile phone chargers we don’t disconnect after charging, TVs and stereos on standby and hairdryers.

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