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What uses the most electricity in the house?

Image showing the reading on an electricity meter moving, indicating high electricity usage

If you’re looking at how to save energy at home, knowing which appliances use the most electricity is a great way to start.

If you have a smart meter, you may notice when you’re using more electricity, but if not our guide gives you the details on the most power-hungry appliances in the home, and how to save money on your energy bills.


Table of contents

  1. How is power measured in the UK?
  2. What is the average electricity usage per day in the UK?
  3. Which household appliances use the most electricity in the UK?
  4. Which appliances use the most electricity when turned off?
  5. Why is my electricity bill so high?
  6. How to save energy at home?
  7. Protect your home with HomeServe’s Electrical Cover

How is power measured in the UK?

In the UK, the power supplied to your home is typically measured in watts or kilowatts (kWh). This refers to the electricity per unit supplied to your home appliances and power outlets.

On your electricity bill you may also see a standing charge. This is a fixed, daily cost that you pay to the energy company to cover costs associated with being connected to the energy network. It’ll stay the same no matter how much energy you use.

What is the average electricity usage per day in the UK?

Daily electricity usage is a hard thing to calculate as it can depend on various factors, including:

  • The size of your home and how many people live there
  • Whether you work at home or not
  • Time of year
  • The day of the week

Taking these things into account, Ovo Energy suggests that household electricity use works out at around 7.5kWh for a medium household.

Which household appliances use the most electricity in the UK?

Knowing which of your appliances or devices use the most energy can help you save energy at home. You may be able to use high-cost appliances more efficiently, or explore if you should upgrade to one with a better energy rating.

Find out which of your home appliances uses the most electricity and how much you could save by switching to a more efficient one.

Dishwasher

Depending on the model, when based on a daily wash an A+++ rated dishwasher can cost up to £23 annually to run. Meanwhile, B-rated models can cost around £43 to power. On average, around 2% of your energy bill is used by your dishwasher.

Fridge freezer

We all know your fridge freezer is constantly using electricity, and the larger it is the more energy it eats up. Research has shown that an A-rated 180L fridge freezer can cost around £39 a year to run. A larger 525L capacity model will heighten your fridge power consumption to around £52 annually. A total of 8% of your electricity bill can be assigned to your fridge freezer.

Oven

An electric oven can be a costly appliance to operate, with a 3.3kw oven setting you back a whopping £90 annually, when used for 30 minutes daily. Surprisingly, on average, an electric oven only equates to 3% of your electricity bill.

Air fryer

Air fryers are often more economical than an oven as they cook food quicker and generally heat up a smaller cooking space, which uses less energy. In fact, an average air fryer costs only 17p for a 30 minute use. That means using your air fryer for 30 minutes every day can cost just £62 a year.

Tumble dryer

It’s well known that a tumble dryer is a pricey appliance to run. The average yearly cost of running a tumble dryer is estimated at £85. That works out at 13% of the average home’s annual energy consumption – it’s a good job we don’t need to use them as much during the summer!

Washing machine

The washing machine is an essential bit of kit and can be a really efficient appliance if you use the right settings. Based on the 1st October Energy Price Cap, a 1400W washing machine, used three times a week, will cost roughly £54.72 a year.

The overall cost depends on how long you use the appliance for and the energy rating of your machine. Making use of eco-friendly settings, shorter washes and lower temperatures could help you cut the cost.

Microwave

In general, a microwave with a good energy efficiency rating is cheaper to run than an oven. How much energy a microwave uses depends on the power setting you use. Most microwaves have a max power setting and then several lower power levels suited to cooking different types of food, and the cost of using the appliance changes with these settings.

As microwaves are very energy efficient, the majority of daily use doesn’t have a serious impact on your energy bills. For example, a 700W microwave used for 3 minutes costs just 3p to run.

Coffee machine

A coffee machine costs on average 47p per hour to run, but as they come in various shapes and sizes, with lots of different features, this can vary depending on the machine:

Pod-based coffee machines vs. espresso machines

Single serve or pod-based coffee machines tend to use less energy compared to an espresso machine, as they only have to heat enough water for one cup of coffee. Espresso machines, on the other hand, tend to heat all of the water in their container and may need to heat water to consistently high temperatures if using a steam wand.

Electricity and lighting

We all know that central heating systems are a necessary cost to keep your home at just the right temperature all year round. However, heating systems can use up to 27% of all your electricity. Meanwhile, water heaters can use up an additional 14% and lighting an estimated 12% – so it pays to conserve your energy where you can.

Kettle

Any device or appliance that generates a lot of heat will usually use more energy, and that’s especially true of your kettle. Boiling a whole kettle every day for a year can cost up to £36 annually.

There are ways you can reduce your energy use and therefore reduce your energy bills. Being smarter with your kettle is a really easy way to achieve this, try:

  • Only boiling the water you need
  • Don’t reboil a recently boiled kettle
  • Descale the kettle to keep it working efficiently

Computers

A desktop computer can set you back an additional £15 yearly, when used daily. Meanwhile, laptops and tablets are considered far more energy-efficient, but this obviously depends on your usage.

A laptop costs around 2p per hour to run. So if you work from home five days a week, it could cost you around £5 to £6 a month.

Which appliances use the most electricity when turned off?

Devices on standby switch to a low power, energy-saving mode allowing them to be switched on again quickly or save certain settings. Switching devices and appliances off standby is one of the easiest things we can do to save energy and money.

To help you decide which devices to prioritise here’s a quick list of appliances that use the most electricity when in standby mode.

Games consoles

Despite a lot of advancements in energy saving settings, games consoles are still one of the worst energy vampires in standby mode. Modern consoles often go on standby by default and actively use more power to continue downloading software, or to search the web for system updates.

The best thing to do to prevent consoles using energy is to switch them off at the plug, but it’s a good idea to check your user manual to avoid any loss of data or saved settings.

Usually, navigating to your console’s power options and choosing to shut it down instead of putting it into a ‘rest’ or energy-saving mode will allow you to then switch the device off at the wall without any problems.

TVs

Modern TVs use a lot less energy in standby than their older counterparts. In fact, since 2013 the European Commission ruled that TVs must not use more than half a watt of power while in standby mode. Despite this, taking the TV off standby is still an easy way to start saving energy and money.

Switching your TV off at the wall could save you £11-16 per year.

Mobile phone and laptop chargers

Any device that is still plugged in after being fully charged uses unnecessary electricity. Even when the device is at 100%, the charger still uses the same amount of energy while plugged in. If you unplug a fully charged device such as a mobile phone or laptop, the charger will use less energy but the only way to stop it from drawing power is to switch it off at the wall, or remove the plug.

Why is my electricity bill so high?

When it comes to increasing electricity bills, several factors could be at play. From meter reader malfunctions and faulty appliances, to hot water tank problems and heating issues – it’s key to identify the potential reasons for your bill increase and know how to tackle them.

It may well be that you’re simply using more energy than usual, or you’ve forgotten to switch off electricity-draining appliances. The current energy price cap will also have a direct affect on your electricity bill by increasing the unit price for your electricity. In January 2024, for example, the energy price cap will rise again to £1928 until 31 March 2024 , which will increase the unit price of energy for many households.

Keeping an eye on all of these elements can help you reduce your carbon footprint and lower your electricity bills.

How to save energy at home?

As we’ve covered, knowing more about how much energy your devices and appliances use can help you make impactful choices to reduce your carbon footprint and save money at home.

Generally, switching appliances off at the wall, using low power settings and switching to more efficient alternatives can help you combat rising energy prices and live more sustainably.

To learn more pointers on keeping your electricity bills low, why not check out 12 energy saving tips for the home?

Protect your home with HomeServe’s Electrical Cover

Electrics Cover from HomeServe will keep you prepared for unexpected electrical emergencies. With cover for wiring, switches, sockets and fuse box, HomeServe Electrics Cover will help make sure an electrical breakdown doesn’t leave you in the dark.

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About the author

Aspiring house-owner and interior design fan, Tom is always on the hunt to make people’s lives easier through his writing - whether it’s through life hacks, how-to guides or home inspo.
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Share this post

About the author

Aspiring house-owner and interior design fan, Tom is always on the hunt to make people’s lives easier through his writing - whether it’s through life hacks, how-to guides or home inspo.
Read more

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