energy lifestyle

Which appliances cost the most to run?

As price rises drive people to look for ways to save energy, there is suddenly a wealth of well presented information about energy use in the home. One of my favourites that I’ve seen recently is this chart from Bloomberg, which details the price of a variety of household appliances. It shows how much it costs to use them, ranked according to how long you will use it for.

As I regularly tell people in workshops on home energy, heating is the killer. They’ve assumed six hours of heating here, so insulation to reduce that is going to be a good saving.

There are also a handful of other potential savings in that list. If you can cook less with the hob or the oven, and more with the microwave, that will definitely add up. You could boil the kettle and wash up the old fashioned way, and let the £1 saving motivate you. Hanging the laundry on the line is even better, and I spy a great excuse not to do any ironing.

The most frequently heard advice on energy saving is to switch off lights when you leave a room – which is great, but is only going to save pennies.

It’s interesting to see these sorts of graphics doing the rounds, because we are currently getting a crash course in energy literacy. People who have attempted to get to grips with their carbon footprints may know a lot of this already, but as I mentioned last week with cooking, energy has been cheap enough that energy efficiency isn’t common knowledge. Just as the 1970s energy crises led to much greater awareness, this year might also boost energy saving up the agenda. Action is mainly motivated by saving money of course, but there could be a carbon saving too if we all develop some energy saving habits.

There are also opportunities here to help households in a way that locks in long term savings. If governments freeze bills, they’re simply underwriting current energy use patterns with tax payer funds – which may be necessary in a crisis situation, I should add. But if you directed support towards efficiency, you would roll those savings on beyond the current emergency. Insulation would reduce bills and emissions in perpetuity. Discounted low-energy appliances might help. Could we imagine some kind of scrappage scheme for old and inefficient fridges? (I see that Greece are doing it.) It feels like a time for imaginative solutions.


  1. We have a gas hob, no oven, it broke but used loads of leccy anyway, but we do use an electric grill sometimes for pizza. I am wondering how much it would cost to start using my slow cooker again…and no way would I start using the breadmaker again it cost a fortune in electricity! We have to run dehumifiers in our damp rental flat, costly even though two are energy efficient. Disability means at home all day, plug in heaters won’t be on much this winter though. 😦

    The electric central heating (!) the landlord installed before we moved here, crazy crazy, not been used by us for years. Biggest energy user is heating water for showers…and dishes, though as you say might be worth using the (gas) kettle for dishes. With autism son who has to shower and change clothes more than is normal, our bills are huge as it is.
    Dreading winter. Hope it’s a mild one, though it never is in Scotland, energy rich Scotland, freezing, terrible. The Scottish governments’ carers top up payment of £450+ a year is a massive help. The £600 ‘cost of living payment, that the EngGov (public purse) are awarding those most in need, though not all sadly, is paid in TWO installments. The 2nd part is not paid until ‘winter’ and only IF a person is eligible on a certain date, yet to be ascertained…hmm.

    I definitely do NOT want to be in DEBT to the (English) government..isn’t that what the payments they are planning to the pay to the energy companies on our behalf (!) are about? Make the people indebted to the system, how unethical is that?

    Debt companies are not nice. If the govs’ ‘loan’ is not paid back, will they send it to a debt company, pass it onto family members/offspring and/or take people to court and lock them up for non payment?? If a person dies what happens to the ‘debt’? If a person leaves the country, lucky them, though with Brexit that’s less likely now, do they still owe that debt and how is it going to be taken from them? Is every single person in the UK, including those in high office lol, going to be in debt to the treasury to the tune of £400+?? Perhaps they have all of those small matters covered already, but I doubt it.

    We need a campaign on this to demand that people are not indebted, without their consent, for £400’+, to a government/treasury etc…surely forcing people into debt is akin to the mafia or money laundering, it cannot be just or moral in any way whatsoever. It would be wholly unethical.


    1. Hmm, I was looking up possibly switching provider, pretty much impossible, some just are not taking on new custimers, and prices hardly differ between them. whatever happened to having more choice through privatisation and an open market??

      I do see however that the EngGovs’ £400 ‘energy support payment’ is no longer a loan, presume then it does not have to be paid back as they first touted would be the case?
      Public money paying the utility companies for raising their prices, disgraceful. Energy companies operating in the UK are blaming the massive price hikes on Russia’s war on Ukraine and global events etc. I have family in Australia who say their bills are going up by 30%, a tad less than in the UK. Governments in countries like France and others are not allowing profiteering energy companies to hike prices and force people into fuel poverty or debt as they are doing to the UK, the companies are lying by saying their price hikes are due to events beyond their control, disgraceful.

  2. Thanks for this, Jeremy. Very interesting.

    Do you know whether the costs were calculated before Truss announced the
    price cap?


    1. Yes, these were calculated from October, incorporating the new price cap. I believe Truss’s intervention comes in slightly below that, so they would all be moderately cheaper to run. The proportions would all be the same though.

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