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Your home appliance energy costs explained

With temperatures dropping and the cold winter months on the horizon, energy bills are inevitably going to rise for most households in the UK as we put the heating on more and make copious cups of tea. Large appliances such as fridges and washing machines are some of the most energy-sucking appliances in our home, accounting for an average of 27% of household energy usage.


However, there are ways that Brits can be more energy efficient and save on their bills; Will Ashton Smith, Director of Sustainability at Domestic & General, shares the cheapest times to run your appliances and how this can help save a few extra pennies.

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How energy is calculated 

Will says: “There is a simple calculation that you can do to work out how much energy specific appliances use; you just have to know how much a kilowatt of energy costs on your tariff and the wattage of your appliance:

Cost = power (in kWh) x time (in hours) x price of 1kWh (in pounds) on your energy tariff. A kilowatt hour or kWh is calculated by dividing the wattage of your appliance by 1,000.”

Will shares an example: “If you are charged 27p per kWh of energy you use, and you have your 1600 wattage dishwasher on for 3 hours a day, you will be charged £1.30 per day for this.” 

Energy tariffs explained 

“Currently, the energy price cap means you will be charged no more than 27p per kWh and 53p per day for the daily standing charge if you are on a standard variable tariff,” explains Will. 

“If you have an Economy 7 tariff, you can be charged less than this! An economy 7 is essentially an off-peak tariff where energy providers charge less for energy consumed over a period of 7 hours, overnight, from midnight to 7am.”


Will says: “You can find out if you are on an off-peak tariff by checking your bills, however, if this isn’t clear you can contact your energy provider for clarification.”

How you can use this to your advantage

“Based on the above, if you are on an off-peak tariff, you can save money by running appliances overnight,” says Will.


“This sounds highly inconvenient, but household appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers have timers that you can set. Simply put a load of washing in the machine before you go to bed, set it to start whilst you’re asleep and then wake up to clean clothes! Hanging the freshly laundered clothes out to dry, rather than putting them in the tumble dryer will also bring down your energy bills.”

Will says: “If running your appliances overnight is not viable or you’re not on an Economy 7 tariff, there are other ways you can help reduce your energy bills whilst consuming less energy overall.”

“Examples include turning appliances such as the TV off fully instead of leaving it on standby, regularly defrosting your fridge-freezer and ensuring appliances such as the dishwasher are fully loaded when using them.”


“When purchasing or replacing appliances that are past repair, check the energy efficiency rating, as this can also help you save money on your energy bills. Appliances have an energy efficiency ranking of A-G; A-rated appliances are green and most efficient, whilst G-rated appliances are red and least efficient.”

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