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Is your cup of tea silently hijacking your energy bill?


21st Mar 2019 Home & Garden

Gasp! Your energy bill is through the roof…again! Aside from sitting in a cold, dark room every night, is there anything else you can do to save energy? Could your favourite cuppa be hijacking your energy bill? Read on and find out if you need to cool your hot drink obsession.

Background Energy Usage

Every home has background energy usage driven by products that are running 24/7, necessarily or not. These include refrigerators, set-top boxes, pumps, boilers, televisions, routers, chargers, computers, and other appliances on standby all the time. 

The list of items that most people do not think of when looking for energy savings is quite long. While there are smart devices on the market that can be controlled by voice commands, installing a home hub is actually part of the background energy usage, so that doesnt really solve the problem. 

While a connected home can potentially have a positive effect on the energy bill, start with the obvious and save on the appliances that are part of daily life.

Foreground Energy Usage

Over 300k people switched energy supplier in January*, a good proportion of those compared energy online first. Were you one of them?  Do you think about how much you are paying for and using your energy?

Most of us are guilty in using more energy than we need to, by forgetting to switch off lights or leaving appliances on standby. Just being absent-minded can cost up to £40 extra per year! That leads back to the lowly kettle. In homes across the UK, the kettle is one of the most switched on items in the entire home. 

We love our hot bevvies - from traditional tea to exotic chai and indulgent hot chocolate, but there are hidden costs to these drinks. How much does it cost to run our kettles, and how do you run it smarter, with regard to energy savings? Let’s get to it.

How much does it cost to run the kettle?

Npower, one of Britain’s leading energy companies serving around 4.84 million homes and businesses, estimates that a 1.5 litre average sized kettle costs around 2p to boil, which takes three minutes to accomplish. That is 2p for every three minutes, or 40p per hour.

How does this compare?

Let us stay in the kitchen and compare the kettle to your electric cooker. The average oven uses around 0.87 kWh of electricity per hour, which is an average of 14p per hour. Compared to our kettle example, that is a bargain. Consider your slow cooker, though, as you would be better off using it for more meals, since it comes in at a budget friendly less than 1p per hour. 

The washing machine uses less power than boiling the kettle too, coming in at around 16p per hour. Your iron takes a large amount of electricity to bring it up to operating temperature, but is designed to hold heat and only uses around 10p per hour. 

Just  so you don’t get bored of all that ironing, running the television costs 2p per hour to keep you entertained and your kids’ game console comes in at just 3p per hour to keep them entertained. Therefore, at 40p per hour, the kettle is still the top energy waster, but you can stop the madness.

How to stop the kettle from hijacking your energy bill 

Thankfully, there are a few energy-saving tips you can practice to lower the energy cost of your cuppa, so break out the digestives. Firstly, do not fill the kettle for one or a few cups of tea. 

If you boil a full kettle, it takes longer and uses more electricity. Since you are not going to use that water anyway, it is a waste to boil more than you need.

Secondly, don’t be a re-boiler. You know who you are; you’ve turned the kettle on to boil, stepped into the other room for something when it went off, then hit the button to re-boil when you came back to the kettle. Every time you re-boil, it costs you 5p, so avoid doing this by sticking by the kettle until it boils and is ready to pour.