Gas & Electricity

Which appliances use the most electricity?

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Image Mark Whelan
Staff Writer

The average Irish household uses 4,200 kWhs of electricity per year, amounting to a bill of about €1,006 (based on Electric Ireland’s Standard 24 hours tariff, including taxes). It can be hard to tell how this consumption is spread across appliances and difficult to know how to make savings. A good rule of thumb is: if it makes things hot, it costs a lot.

How is electricity measured?

Electricity is measured in units known as kilo watt hours (kWh). Electricity meters record each household’s consumption and are read by ESB Networks to determine exactly how much your bill will be.

ESB Networks strives to read your electricity meter four times a year but, if this doesn’t happen (due to nobody being home, for example), an estimate based on the national average for your size of house will be used. If there’s a big ‘E’ beside the final figure on your bill, that’s how you know your consumption has been estimated.

If you think that ESB Networks’ estimate is higher than your actual consumption, you can give them a call on 1850 333 7777 to request to be billed at your actual level.

Which appliances cost the most to run?

So, how can you keep your consumption – and bills – as low as possible? Step one is knowing which appliances use the most electricity. Step two is being smart about when and how often you use them.

A good rule of thumb is: if it makes things hot, it costs a lot. Think kettles, hair dryers and electric showers – they all have a ferocious appetite for electricity.

Let’s look at what you get for your few euro a day. Here’s a breakdown of what 1 kWh of electricity looks like:

Electric shower

7-10 mins

Immersion water heater

7-10 mins

Cooker (1 large ring)

20-40 mins


20-40 mins

Tumble dryer

20-40 mins

Washing machine

70-100 mins


70-100 mins

Desktop computer and monitor

4-6 hours

TV 28”

4-6 hours

iPhone charging

365 days

How can I monitor my usage?

We know that you’re not going to count every minute of usage for every electrical appliance in your house. Thankfully, you can get a great little gadget to do this for you. An Owl electricity monitor will cost you about €50 and, if used correctly, will pay for itself in no time.

We hope this guide helps you better understand your electricity charges and which appliances may be costing you more than you thought. If you’re still not happy with the rates you’re paying, we are here to help you find a better deal and switch to a new supplier on our Compare Electricity Prices page.