Gas & Electricity

Which appliances use the most electricity?

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Image Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

The average Irish household uses 4,200 kWhs of electricity per year, according to the CRU. Though some homes will use far more. However, it can be hard to tell how this consumption is spread across appliances and difficult to know how to make savings. So here's a look at what some common household appliances cost to run.

How is electricity measured?

Electricity use is measured in units known as kilo watt hours (kWh) and there are 1,000 watts in a kilo watt.

So one kilowatt hour is the amount of energy you’d use if you kept a 1 kilo watt/1,000 watt appliance running for one hour. 

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.

To avoid estimated bills it's always a good idea to submit an actual meter reading to your supplier at every billing cycle. You can learn more about how to read your meter here. 

However if you have a new smart meter installed, you won't get estimated bills or have to submit a reading as they have a two-way communication system, which means both you and your supplier have constant access to your usage levels.

This means you'll only be billed for what you've used.

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.

When you buy any appliance, its handbook will tell you how much energy it uses. The higher the kWh, the more it uses. So for example a 3 kWh appliance will use three times as much energy for every hour of usage as a 1 kWh device and five times as much energy as a 600 watt (0.6 kWh) device. 

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

So let’s look at what running a few appliances over the course of a day could cost you.

Note - your actual costs will depend on the energy efficiency of the appliance you use. Most modern appliances (particularly washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and TVs) are way more efficient than older models, but the rating will help you choose the most efficient model. The ratings, which are compulsory, range from A to G, with A being the most efficient.

Also, if you have a smart meter or a Night Saver meter, you may be able to avail of a much cheaper electricity rate by switching your energy use to a different time of the day.

Activity Energy Hourly cost at €0.24 per kWh inc Vat* Cost Based on
Immersion 3 kWh €0.72 €2.16 Three hours of heating
Fridge/freezer 0.18 kWh €0.04 €1.04 One day of use
Tumble dryer 3 kWh €0.72 €0.72 One hour of drying
Desktop computer 0.2 kWh €0.05 €0.38 8 hours of use
Electric shower 9.5 kWh €2.28 €0.38 10-min shower
Dishwasher 0.8 kWh €0.19 €0.38 A two-hour cycle
Washing machine 0.8 kWh €0.19 €0.38 A two-hour cycle
Cooking (induction) 3 kWh €0.72 €0.36 Half hour of cooking
Iron 2.5 kWh €0.60 €0.30 Half hour of ironing
TV 0.2 kWh €0.05 €0.19 4 hours of use
Laptop 0.1 kWh €0.02 €0.19 8 hours of use
Kettle 2.5 kWh €0.60 €0.10 10 mins of boiling
Lightbulb 60 Watt 0.06 kWh €0.01 €0.09 6 hours of light
Hair dryer 2 kWh €0.48 €0.08 10 mins of use
Vacuum cleaner 0.7 kWh €0.17 €0.06 20 mins of hoovering
Router 0.01 kWh Less than one cent €0.06 One day's use
Microwave 0.8 kWh €0.19 €0.03 10 mins of use
Toaster 1.5 kWh €0.36 €0.03 5 mins of use
A Nespresso 0.9 kWh €0.22 €0.02 5 mins of use
Daily standing charge €0.57 One day
PSO levy €0.16 One day
Total €7.68 A day

*based on Electric Ireland's standard 24-hour urban rate. Rounding has been applied to all figures. 

You're unlikely to use all of the above appliances every day, and according to average usage, smaller homes in particular won't.

But as you can see, at current standard rates, a few basic tasks around the home could quickly add up to almost €8 a day - or almost €240 a month - and that's before you've even turned on the heat!

You can also see how expensive heating water is. So make sure you have a good lagging jacket for your tank and don't leave hot taps running as you're literally pouring money down the drain!

How can I monitor my electricity 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 electricity monitors to do this for you. One of which is the Owl electricity monitor, which will cost you about €50 and, if used correctly, will pay for itself in no time.

Also, if you have a smart meter and sign up to a smart electricity tariff, your supplier should be able to provide you with lots of up-to-the-minute info on your usage.

How can I use less energy?

Being energy efficient is both good for the environment as well as your pocket. With that in mind, here's a list of 15 easy ways to reduce your electricity consumption, lower your bills, and do your bit for the planet.

And if you're looking to save even more money while continuing to reduce your impact on the environment, follow these 12 easy tips to use less water and save money and check out this great list of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, while saving on your everyday expenses.

However, the best way to save on your electricity bills is to switch to a cheaper supplier...

Switch and save 

All suppliers offer big discounts of up to 40% for an entire year to those who switch. 

So switching to a new provider is a great way to cut down on your electricity costs. 

You can compare tariffs and deals from all of Ireland’s energy suppliers on in just a matter of clicks. With our energy comparison tool, switching has never been easier!

You can learn about what you need to switch energy suppliers in this guide.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about energy usage or switching supplier, feel free to get in touch with us. You can contact us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.