How to calculate running costs for electricals
Energy bills are one of the biggest household outgoings after mortgage and rent payments. The average UK household bill for electricity, gas and water is over £1600 per year.
In addition, UK domestic energy prices have risen by an average of 10% per year for the last 10 years, meaning that current energy prices are more double the price levels in 2006.
So it has never been more important to look at ways of reducing your energy and water usage at home. However, finding out how much it costs to run each of your appliances is not always easy.
European Union energy labels
Most big appliances are labelled with a European Union energy label, which rates the product on a scale from A to G in terms of energy efficiency. Some labels will include the amount of energy that the appliance uses, but this doesn’t really help you to understand how much the appliance will cost you to run per year.
The banding of EU energy labels periodically changes as product technology advances. This means that an A rated product that was bought a couple of years ago, may be only B rated on the current energy scale.
Furthermore, many smaller appliances may have no EU energy labelling at all.
Calculating running costs from energy consumption figures
One of the best ways to compare the efficiency of electricals is to calculate their actual running cost per year.
The starting point is to identify the amount of electricity and water that the appliance uses. For some types of product that are in continuous use such as fridge-freezers, this may be expressed as the total electricity consumption per year (measured in kilowatt hours) or an energy consumption rate (measured in kilowatts). For other products that are used intermittently such as washer-dryers or televisions, the energy consumption will comprise an amount of energy per use (e.g. amount of water and electricity per wash) and a measure of the energy used when in standby mode (e.g. the amount of electricity that a TV uses when on standby).
Once you have the energy consumption rates you then need to identify the usage rate for the product. So for an oven or vacuum cleaner you would need to consider how many hours per day you typically switch it on for, or for a washing machine you would need to estimate how many washes you do per week.
Using the energy consumption rates for the product and the typical usage rate you can then calculate the total amount of energy and water that would be used by the product per year. You would then need to add on the energy used by the product when not in use, such as the electricity used by a TV for all the hours that it is left on standby.
The final step is to convert the total energy consumption figure into an annual cost. To do this you will need to know how much you pay for electricity and water from your current providers. Multiplying the energy consumption by the energy price will give you the annual energy cost.
Once you have calculated the total energy cost you then want to know whether the cost is good or bad and what you could do to save money. You could repeat the calculation for other similar products and then compare the total running cost of those products to you current product to see if you could save money by switching.
Watch out for hidden costs
While household appliances can consume a significant amount of energy, other electrical products in your household can also contribute to the cost of your energy bills. Many people work from home these days, which means that their PCs and Monitor remain switched on for most of the day and consume electricity.
Projectors have high power lamps, which also require a significant amount of energy while switched on.
The Kagoo running cost calculator
Thankfully there is an easier way. The Kagoo Running Cost Calculator does all of the above calculations for you and works out how much your appliances cost to run. Simply search for the product by name or by barcode.
You can adjust the usage levels for each product to match your estimated usage and also enter your own energy prices if you know them.
Our energy calculator is completely impartial and will compare your product to other similar products and show how much you could save per year by switching.
Just click in the search box above to get started.