Compare which appliances use most and least power as energy bills set to soar

Split image. Left image: An air fryer. Right image: A microwave.
Switching the cooking appliances you use at home could help to reduce your energy usage. Credit: AP/PA

Energy prices are about to skyrocket - prompting households up and down the country to find ways to cut back on energy use.

By the time the next energy price cap takes effect this October, householders on a typical default tariff can expect to pay an extra £1,578 a year on average for their gas and electricity.

It comes after the energy regulator Ofgem announced the price cap would grow by more than 80%, affecting residents in Scotland, England and Wales.

The energy price cap, which was introduced in 2019, is a limit on how much suppliers can charge for each kWh of energy used, together with a maximum daily standing charge.

This means annual energy bills could be higher - or lower - than the £3,549 average under the new cap, which could change every three months from October.

In an effort to keep bills down, many people will be looking around their homes for ways they can take back control and reduce their energy usage.

Here are some changes you can make within your own home to help fight back against soaring bills.

Switch to cheaper cooking appliances

Microwaves have been found to be the most cost effective cooking appliance homeowners can take advantage of, according to a new study by energy supplier Utilita and supermarket chain Iceland.

Coined as the “Shop Smart, Cook Savvy” collaboration its figures - which are based on how frequently the average household uses an appliance each day - showed that it costs 8p per day and 58p across an entire week to run a microwave.

But it should be stressed this data does not take into account the new 80% rise to the price cap, which will come into effect this Autumn.

Though marginally more expensive to use than a microwave - 14p per day and £1.01 over the course of a week - air fryers offer another cost-saving substitution for people to employ within their homes.

Compared with the cost of running a traditional electric cooker for a single day (87p), using a microwave or air fryer provides cheaper cooking alternatives for those looking to save where possible.

And at 16p per day slow cookers will also save households more money compared with an electric cooker.

But despite costing less to run on a daily basis, these appliances actually fetch as much cash for a full years worth of usage as a typical gas cooker (£120.83 each).

Dual cookers (72p per day) and electric cookers were shown to be the most costly appliances for households to use.

Across a 12-month period it would set you back £264.03 to use the former and £316.54 for the latter.

Switch off and unplug

If you haven't already done so, now is a good time to carry out a complete check of every power outlet in your house.

Getting into the habit of doing this regularly, making sure to unplug anything that is not necessary and turning devices off standby mode can save an estimated £55 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming.

You may want to think about getting a standby saver or smart plug, which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.

But do make sure to check the instructions for any appliances you’re not sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in, so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.

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Check your boiler

A recent report by the Heating and Hot Water Council found that households can save around 6% to 8% on their gas bill just by turning down the heating flow temperature on their condensing combi boiler.

Doing so will allow the boiler to run more efficiently and could save around £200 off an average energy bill.

Another easy saving is to turn off the pre-heat mode on the boiler, which while it could mean hot water taps taking longer to heat up, might also save hundreds of pounds a year.

Stop using your tumble dryer

Tumble dryers are massive energy drains, so on warm days hang clothes outside to dry instead - if you have access to a garden or outdoor space - and invest in a drying rack for cooler months.

Use your washing machine on a 30C cycle and reduce its usage by one run a week. Only turn on your dishwasher when it is full and use eco settings if possible.

Defrost your fridge and freezer

Remember to regularly defrost your fridge and freezer, as the more they ice up the more energy they will use.

A full freezer is more economical to run as the cold air does not need to circulate as much, so less power is needed.

An extra tip is that if you have lots of free space, half-fill plastic bottles with water and use these to plug gaps.

Invest in insulation

New analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has found homes rated band F on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) system - a measure of the home’s efficiency - are set to have a gas bill worth £968 higher than a home rated EPC band C.

The average home in the UK is rated band D and these homes will pay £420 more for their gas this winter, compared with band C - the Government’s target for 2035.

Investing in professional draught-proofing and insulation in preparation for the winter months could also lead to a reduction in bills by £405 for a semi-detached home, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Meanwhile, installing solar panels for a similar property might lead to additional annual savings of around £450.

Topping up from 120mm to at least 270mm of insulation in your roof - where around a quarter of heat in an uninsulated house is lost - could also help to future proof your home.

Don't turn boilers, fridges or freezers off

Some people believe turning off their boilers could help to save them energy, but the exact opposite is true.

Instead, thermostats and timers should be used effectively to regulate their operation.

Likewise, fridges and freezers are designed to be kept on at all times. You will not save energy by turning them off for short periods because more energy will be used to cool them down again when turned back on.

There are also important safety issues that can arise if food partially defrosts before it is prepared for eating.

Heat the human

Rather than heating the whole house amid the energy bills rise, Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis shared a guide on how to ‘heat the human not the home’.

According to the research, a electric blankets, electric footwarmers and electric heat pads costs £1.47 a week to run. Comparatively, a hot water bottle would set you back £1 a week.