How much does it cost to boil a kettle? What you pay for household appliances - and how to save energy at home

How much does it cost to boil a kettle? What you pay for household appliances - and how to save energy at home

People around the country are faced with even more financial hardship as many household bills rise.

Consumers are facing soaring prices on many bills including energy, council tax, water, broadband and TV.

So, with prices now at the highest in living memory, many people will be looking at ways to cut the cost of their energy bill.

Most people turn the heating on less when trying to save money - but have you thought about how much it costs to make a cup of tea?

This is what you need to know about how much you’re spending on household appliances - and where you can cut costs.

How is electricity measured and paid for?

Electricity is sold by the kilowatt-hour (kWh) – usually referred to as ‘units’ on your electricity bill.

If you have a look at your electricity bill, you will see that there are two charges: the electricity standing charge and the electricity unit rate.

The standing charge is applied daily, and is charged regardless of how much energy the customer uses.

Details of average standing charges published by Ofgem show that, from 1 October, direct debit customers will typically pay 46p a day to their electricity provider. This time last year the average change for this was 25p a day.

Average price cap units rate. (Graphic by Mark Hall / National World)

What does it cost to use each of my household appliances?

If you want to cut down on your use of electricity then a good place to start is by focusing on those everyday appliances.

The precise amount used by each of your appliances will, of course, depend on what specific devices you have and how often you use them.

Some fridge freezers, for example, have higher efficiency ratings than others. No matter what their energy rating, however, fridges and freezers also tend to be appliances that will use more electricity simply because they are switched on all the time.

Each  appliance uses a different amount of kilowatts (kW).

Below we have used the average kilowatts consumed by each appliance, but you can check how much your actual appliances use by looking at the label, usually found printed on the plug.

All of our estimations are taken from the Centre for Sustainable Energy and are based around appliances being used for 10 minutes.

Kettle

An average 3kW kettle will cost around 12.5p to boil. If you’re using the kettle for water to fill one average sized cup then it will only take around a minute to boil, so it costs just over 1p to make a cup of tea or coffee.

Electric shower

An electric shower is the most expensive household appliances to use, especially when coupled with the rise in water bills. It costs between 29p and 44p, depending on the power rating of your shower. If you like long showers then that means it will cost you between £1.75 and £2.62 for an hour-long shower.

Oven

An average 2kW to 2.2kW oven will cost around 8p to 9p for 10 minutes of use. For an hour of use, therefore, it will cost around 48p to 54p.

Grill/Hob

An average 1kW to 2kW grill or hob will cost around 4p to 8.5p for 10 minutes of use. For an hour of use, therefore, it will cost around 24p to 51p.

Microwave

The average microwave has a low kilowatt rating, only 0.6kW. It costs just 2p to 6p to use. However, be aware that this figure may rise for a microwave oven.

Washing machine

A washing machine will cost between 5p and 12.5p to run for 10 minutes, depending on the power rating. This means that for an hour-long cycle you can expect to pay between 30p and 75p.

Tumble dryer

Tumble dryers tend to have a higher power rating than washing machines, usually between 2kW and 3kW. They therefore cost more to use. For 10 minutes of use you can pay between 8p and 12.5p, or 50p to 75p for an hour.

Dishwasher

An average 1kW to 1.5kW dishwasher will cost around 4.5p to 6p for 10 minutes of use, or 27p to 36p for an hour.

Fridge freezer

A fridge freezer typically has one of the lowest kilowatt ratings of all household appliances - usually only between 0.2kW and 0.4kW, but it is still the most expensive appliance to use as it needs to be switched on constantly. It costs 0.8p to 1.6p to run for 10 minutes, or around 5p to 10p for every hour. This means it costs between £1.20 and £2.40 to keep your fridge freezer on for every 24 hours, or between £36 and £72 for a 30 day month.

Toaster

A toaster typically has a power rating of between 0.8kW and 1.5kW, and will cost between 3p and 6p. Most of us only use the toaster for somewhere between two and four minutes per slice or slices of bread, however, so the cost of using a toaster is probably no more than about 2p per time but usually less than 1p. The more well done you like your toast, the more it will cost.

TV

How much it costs to watch TV varies depending on what type of television you have. Plasma TVs tend to be more expensive, costing between 1.2p and 1.8p for every 10 minutes of use, or 7p to 11p for every hour. An LCD TV, however, is cheaper and costs between 0.5p and 0.8p for every 10 minutes or 3p to 5p for every hour.

Mobile phone

Your phone is a device that you use frequently, and therefore it typically needs charging every one to two days depending on your usage. It actually doesn’t cost very much at all to charge the average smartphone - less than 0.1p for a 10 minute charge or less than 0.2p for an hour of charge.

Broadband router

This one isn’t an appliance, but it is something most of us have plugged in all day, every day. A typical broadband router costs less than 0.1p for every 10 minutes of use or around 0.2p for every hour. That means it costs 4.8p to keep your internet on every day, or £1.44 for an average 30 day month.

Heated blanket

This isn’t an appliance again, but it’s a gadget many of us are investing in as we seek to turn the heating on less but still keep warm. The average heated blanket has a low power rating and costs between 0.5p and 0.8p to use for 10 minutes or 3p to 5p for an hour. This makes using one of these a very effective way of keeping your bills down and your body warm.

How can I lower my energy use?

There are a few things you can do to cut your energy use, and therefore lower your electricity bill:

  • Only put how much water you need in the kettle - it’ll be boiling for less time and you won’t waste water.
  • Spend less time in your electric shower. Given that the shower is one of the most expensive appliances in the home, if you can cut your shower time, even by a few minutes, you will see a reduction in your bill.
  • Use the microwave more. There are a few foods that we can choose to cook either in the oven, microwave, hob or grill. The microwave is the cheapest one to use so opt for it if you can. As an added bonus, food is often ready much quicker when cooked in the microwave.
  • Fill the washing machine. This might sound obvious, but if you only put the washing machine on when you have a full load you will use it less and that will save you money. This will cut down on your water use too.
  • Dry clothes outside if you can or on a clothes horse. The tumble dryer is also one of the most expensive appliances so, when the weather allows, switch it off and instead line dry your clothes outside.
  • Think of other ways to keep warm. When the temperature does drop your instinct may be to go and turn the heating on, but there are cheaper ways to keep warm. A heated blanket is really good value for money and feels cosy.  There are also plenty of other products that help you to stay warm that are worth investing in.
  • Turn off appliances at the plug when not using them. Appliances that are not having electricity supplied to them are not costing any money so a simple way to save cash is to turn off the electricity source for anything you’re not using if you can.

What should I look for if I’m buying a new appliance?

If you’re buying a new fridge or TV or other appliance, the best way to judge how much it will cost you to run is by looking at the energy efficiency label, which is included with every new appliance or gadget and available to see in shops.

Those rated ‘A’ or above are the most efficient for their size, so it’s best to buy one of those if you can.

Energy labels also now print suggested kWh usage per annum for each appliance, so you can also compare between differently sized appliances.

What should I do if I’m still struggling to pay my bills?

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills then there is help available. NationalWorld spoke to Consumer expert Martyn James about what to do if you’re struggling amid the cost of living crisis.