Have you noticed that your energy bills have been climbing higher and higher this year? The latter half of 2021 has seen a huge surge in energy prices that has had a huge impact on both consumers and energy companies. More than 20 energy companies have been shut down this year, and many households have seen a substantial rise in their energy bills.
In order to bring their energy spending under control, households need to fight a battle on two fronts. They need to ensure that they have the right energy tariff, while also keeping an eye on their energy use and trying to use high-output appliances less.
A smart meter is a great way to keep track of your energy use. Try to cut down on your use of high-wattage appliances, and you’ll be able to track your energy savings in real-time.
What are the appliances that use the most electricity?
So, which are the appliances around the home that use the most electricity? The better you know these, the better positioned you are to make savings on your energy bills by cutting down on their use, or by using them in different ways.
The biggest energy guzzlers in your home include:
1. HVAC system
Built-in air conditioning systems (also known as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning or HVAC systems) are less common in the UK than across the pond. At least in terms of domestic use. While they can be a powerfully effective way to control your home’s ambient temperature, they can have a substantial impact on your energy consumption.
Regular servicing can ensure that it is operating as efficiently as possible, while investing in better insulation means that you’ll need to use it less often.
Sure, your fridge keeps your food nice and cold to prevent it from spoiling. But all the cold air it uses comes at a cost. There’s no getting around it. A refrigerator needs to be kept running 24 hours a day. But did you know that your fridge could account for over 30% of your home’s energy usage?
Investing in a more energy-efficient refrigerator could save you over £110 per year according to OVO. However, you can save money on running your existing fridge by:
3. Washer and dryer
The washing machine of a family of four uses around 36 kWh of energy per month. If you want to use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes, this will set you back a further 48 kWh per month. That’s 84 kWh spent on washing and drying your clothes every month. Enough to power a games console for 16 hours!
You can reduce your energy consumption while still enjoying beautiful clean clothes. You just need to:
Using your dishwasher can actually be better for energy conservation than washing your dishes by hand. However, there’s still potential for energy waste. As with your washing machine, be sure not to under-load the dishwasher and use the eco setting where possible.
Today’s TVs use significantly less than the power-sapping CRT televisions of yesteryear. Still, some are more energy-efficient than others. LED TVs are the most energy-efficient as they switch off pixels that are not in use (i.e. when there are black images on the screen). Not only does this mean a better picture with deeper blacks, but it also means lower energy consumption!
5 hours of LED TV time a day will use around 11 kWh per month. However, it’s important to switch your TV off at the wall when not in use. Leaving it on standby means that it uses up to 80% as much energy when not in use as it does when active.
Both desktop and laptop computers can put a sizeable dent in your household energy bills. Especially at a time when many of us are working from home.
Be wary of leaving your computer on throughout the day or leaving your laptop plugged in all the time while you work. If your home has an Economy 7 meter, save money by charging your laptop (and other devices like phones and tablets) during off-peak hours.
Why are your energy bills high?
There’s no denying that the cost of living is high right now. Inflation has hit a 10-year peak, while our wages have broadly stayed the same. One area where many of us are really feeling the pinch is our energy bills.
Broadly speaking, there are two reasons for this:
Lack of energy efficiency in the home
Without realising it, we can all develop bad habits that reduce the energy efficiency of our homes. We can leave appliances on standby, leave computers switched on overnight, leave lights on in empty rooms, and leave the TV switched on when nobody is watching.
Over time, small energy inefficiencies can add up to make a big difference.
Increase in energy prices
Wholesale energy prices have hit an all-time high, leaving suppliers with no choice but to pass that cost on to the consumer. As such, Ofgem has increased the Energy Price Cap substantially in October 2021 to £1277 per year, with the possibility of multiple further increases in 2022.
What can you do to save on energy and lower your bills?
Fortunately, you are not powerless in the face of rising energy costs. There are a number of ways in which you can reduce your energy use and save on your bills. Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend a fortune on replacing your windows and doors, or install solar panels. Here are three things you can implement right now to save on energy:
Install a smart meter
A smart meter won’t reduce your energy consumption overnight. However, it is a very useful way of tracking the impact of energy-saving measures around the home. What’s more, because smart meters transmit your usage data directly to your supplier, you don’t need to worry about wasting money on estimated bills that bear no relation to your actual usage.
Best of all, your supplier will fit one absolutely free of charge!
Use appliances in off-peak times
If you have a dual-rate meter like Economy 7 or Economy 10, this allows you to save around 50% on the unit costs of your energy during off-peak times. Even if you’re not a night owl by nature, you can still benefit by charging devices like your phone, tablet or laptop overnight or programming your washing machine or dishwasher to operate during off-peak hours.
Unplug appliances on standby mode
TVs, games consoles, DVD and Blu Ray Players… any device with a standby mode is an electricity vampire just waiting to suck energy out of your home overnight. Make sure these are unplugged or switched off at the wall every night before going to bed.