How to reduce your energy bills by tackling 'vampire' devices

Leaving appliances on standby could be adding to your energy bills

Woman checking smart meter
Appliances such as kettles and TVs could be costing you more money than you realise
(Image credit: Getty Images/agrobacter)

Households have faced record-high energy bills over the past year but some of the costs could be cut by turning off 'power-sucking' devices. 

Using the standby button is a "convenient function", explained, but it still means appliances are draining power. This is a "vampire device in action", added the comparison website, and could increase your energy bill.  

UK households spend £60 a year powering appliances left on standby, said the Energy Saving Trust.

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The energy price cap may be falling, pushing average household bills down to £1,923 from October, but you could also cut your energy costs by making sure your devices are fully turned off. 

Here is how some of the biggest energy-sucking devices could be pushing up your energy bills. 

What you eat and drink

Most people like a cup of tea, but a kettle can be the "Dracula of the energy vampire world", said, with the accumulative cost of several hot drinks at £4.79 per day.  

While reducing how much tea you drink may not be an option, making sure you boil only the water you need can ensure you do not pay for unnecessary energy. 

Additionally, when cooking food on the go, using a microwave instead of an oven can save you "as much as £80 per year", said The Times Money Mentor, as "most of the energy it creates is used to cook food".

Your viewing habits

Leaving a set-top box and TV on standby can cost approximately £24 each per year, according to Centrica

It may be worth plugging all your electronics into an extension lead and switching that off at night or by using smart plugs controlled from your phone, the energy supplier said, which "saves you the effort of turning them all off individually". 

Monitor your workspace

Computer monitors and printers are among "most energy-sucking appliances", Ian Palmer-Smith, appliance expert at Domestic & General, told the Daily Mirror. 

Even in "sleep or standby modes", these devices use energy for updates, connecting to remote servers and recording data. 

Monitoring a workspace can help people to cut down on unnecessary spending.

Limit your laundry days 

How you wash your clothes can have an impact on your energy bills, 

The average washing machine uses £4.00 worth of electricity per day, according to 

They may be "essential appliances" that are hard to unplug, but you could save energy by washing only full loads and dropping to a lower 30-degree temperature. 

Running a tumble dryer can also "push up" your energy costs, said GoodtoKnow. If you want to dry items after a wash, an average 8kg tumble dryer would cost between £81 and £175.50 per year to run as of July 2023, the website said.

Does turning off standby really work? 

Every little helps when "grappling" with high energy bills, said Which?, but its own tests suggest some of the savings are a "far cry from reports claiming you could save £15 a year by turning off your TV alone". Instead, choosing energy-efficient appliances is "one of the best solutions to combat rising bills".  

However, these may cost a "little more", said 

You can see how much power an appliance uses and its energy-efficiency rating on its labels, added the comparison website, while installing a smart meter can help monitor your usage and see the difference. 

Under EU law, TVs and other devices made since 2013 can't use more than 0.5 watts in standby mode. A TV left on standby for 20 hours a day would cost about £1 a year, said MoneySavingExpert

So while fully switching off devices "is a good idea", the savings on more modern appliances are "fairly low".  

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