Sunday 22 September 2019

How to identify the most expensive household appliances to run

For many of us, the only time we really think about our electricity usage is when we look at our latest bill.

They say that you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so planning and managing your energy costs is all about understanding your usage. If you know what appliances use the most electricity, you can then begin to reduce unnecessary spending.

How is electricity measured?

Your electricity is measured in Kilowatt hours (kWh) and the average Irish household consumes 4,200kWh in a year. So, what exactly do you get for a single kWh? A single kWh will heat your immersion for roughly seven to 10 minutes or boil your kettle for between 20 and 40 minutes. Appliances that are used to heat things up tend to cost more to run, as you can see from this rough guide.

Every KWh is the equivalent of one unit of electricity and, depending on your provider, your bill will be calculated based on the price for every unit you use. So, if you used a desktop computer with a monitor for around five hours, that’s about 1KWh. At Electric Ireland’s standard unit rate, it would cost you around 15c. It would cost roughly the same amount to use a large ring on an electric cooker for between 20 to 40 minutes.

If you want to calculate exactly how many kWh an appliance uses per day, you can take any appliance’s wattage and multiple it by the number of hours it was running. So, if its wattage is 100 watts and it was running for two hours, it used 200 watts. Then, simply divide that figure by 1000 to see how many kWh the appliance used.

However, nobody expects you to set a timer and grab a calculator every time you turn on your washing machine or boil the kettle. Energy monitoring technology means that you can now see exactly what you use. More importantly, you can see which appliances are costing you the most money, moderate your usage accordingly and anticipate your future electricity costs.

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Monitoring your usage has never been easier

You can drill down into the minutiae of your usage in a way that was once impossible with technology like Electric Ireland’s Smarter Home. This kind of smart home technology puts you in control and gives you a clear picture of how much electricity your home uses and how much it will cost.

Firstly, it will monitor electricity usage of your whole home in real time. It also allows you to look back at your history with information displayed as a monetary amount, which makes it easier to understand how it affects your pocket. You can also monitor spend on individual appliances and you can even control them remotely using smart plugs.

As you become more educated about what appliances cost, this type of smart monitoring system also lets you use timers to schedule your appliances or heating systems to only come on when they’re needed. This means that you’ll avoid unnecessary waste, which will improve your energy efficiency and save you money. Smarter Home also provides electricity bill forecasts so, as you get a handle on your usage and make the right changes, you can watch your bill forecast reduce over time.

Measure individual appliances and devices

If you don’t want to go for a centralised home system or if you’re a renter who doesn’t have that option, there are alternatives. You can still use smart plugs to measure the electricity usage of a device or appliance. However, they are not a perfect solution. Standalone plugs aren’t linked to your energy supplier so they can only tell you about usage. You still need to use your supplier's unit rate to calculate your predicted costs.

Will energy monitors save you money?

The short answer is no, they won’t save you money on their own. However, they will offer you an insight into your consumption habits and identify the appliances or devices that are using the most electricity.

Once you begin the process of measuring your usage, you will quickly understand how your behaviour shapes your bills. If you adapt your habits to reduce your energy consumption, that will ultimately mean more money in your pocket in the long run.

Electric Ireland customers get the best long-term savings on electricity and gas in the market, with discounts that last, year after year.

See the proof on the Electric Ireland Price Check.

Sponsored by: Electric Ireland

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