Maximize appliance efficiency: your guide to cost-effective usage

5 min read
Published on
August 2, 2023
Woman's hand choosing energy efficient setting on a washing machine
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Save energy with your household appliances

In an era of escalating energy prices, the need to save money has never been more pressing. Our household appliances, while essential, come with running costs — some more significant than others. If you're looking to reduce your energy consumption and save on electricity, there are several strategies you can employ.

Which appliances are the most expensive to run? 

Typically, electrical appliances that heat up or have moving parts tend to be the most costly to operate. These are often the appliances you use to heat your home and water, or to cook and clean.

Every appliance has a power rating, usually given in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). In essence, 1000W equals 1kW. This rating indicates the amount of electricity the appliance needs to function. However, the actual electricity it consumes depends on how long it's in use.

Here's an estimated cost of using a range of common appliances and devices in the home, based on an electricity unit price of 34p per kWh:

These costs are merely estimates to help you calculate your electricity bill. You can check the average power ratings for different appliances on the Centre for Sustainable Energy's website and use the Citizens Advice appliances tool to compare the average cost of using different electrical appliances.

How can i save money?

There are several simple strategies you can employ to reduce the amount you spend on your home appliances.

Washing Machine Efficiency: According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save around £34 a year on your energy bill by using your washing machine more efficiently.

- Use your washing machine on a 30 or 20-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures.

- Reduce your washing machine use by one cycle per week for a year.

- Wait until you have a full load before running a cycle.

Tumble Dryer Efficiency: By using your tumble dryer more carefully, you can save around £70 a year.

- Try not to use a tumble dryer for your clothes but use racks inside where possible or hang washing outside in warmer weather.

- Use shorter cycles, for example, a ‘quick wash’ for things that aren’t very dirty.

Making a Cuppa: Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. By avoiding overfilling the kettle, you could save around £13 a year on your electricity bill.

Washing up: By only running your dishwasher when it’s full, you’ll save yourself some cash. This will mean a reduction in the number of cycles you need to run in a month, so that over a year, you'll find you’re spending a little less.

Unplug your appliances instead of using standby: The average UK household spends around £65 a year just by leaving appliances on standby. Unplug any appliance or device you’re not using. Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming.

Use your appliances at different times: Your appliances will only be cheaper to use at different times if you’re on a ‘time-of-use’ tariff like Economy 7. Don’t run appliances like washing machines or tumble dryers while you’re asleep. You can use a timer to set them to come on in the morning when you’re getting up before the off-peak price of electricity ends.

Using an energy monitor for a single appliance: A plug-in energy monitor plugs into a socket, then you plug your appliance into the energy monitor. It shows you how much electricity the appliance is using — either on a screen on the monitor itself or through a smartphone app. Some plug-in energy monitors let you enter the rate you pay for your electricity. This means they can show you how much the electricity is costing you.

In the face of escalating energy costs, it's more important than ever to be proactive and strategic in our energy consumption. Our household appliances, while essential, can often be significant contributors to our energy bills. However, with the right knowledge and a few adjustments to our habits, we can optimize these appliances for efficiency, leading to substantial savings.

From tweaking the temperature settings on your washing machine to being mindful of the amount of water you boil in your kettle, every small change can make a big difference. Unplugging appliances when not in use, using energy monitors, and timing your appliance usage to off-peak hours can also lead to significant savings.

At BIG Warranties, we're not just committed to providing top-tier appliance, home emergency, and motor breakdown cover. We're also devoted to ensuring our customers have the best advice to maintain their appliances and manage their energy consumption effectively, especially in the face of the current cost of living and energy crisis. With BIG Warranties, you're not just covered; you're empowered to make the best choices for your home and your wallet.

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