Washer and dryer in a utility room

High electricity bills? These appliances are costing you the most

We investigate how you can cut costs when you're using common household appliances...

For most homeowners and renters, daily use of things like the washing machine, dishwasher and oven are a fact of life. But, did you know that some appliances are much more expensive to run than others?

The standard unit of measurement used by energy suppliers for both electricity and gas is kilowatt-hours (kWh). A kWh is defined as the amount of energy used by a 1,000 Watt appliance over the course of an hour. So, for example, a 1,000-Watt electric heater left running for one hour uses 1 kWh of energy.

All of your household appliances uses varying amounts of kWh, so read on to find out more about how much each one uses, and how you can reduce your costs…

Washing Machine

Typically, washing machines with a decent energy rating use around 1 kWh per cycle.

Obviously you do need to use your washing machine, however you can reduce the amount of energy used per cycle by reducing the temperature to the lowest appropriate temperature for the load. It’s also more energy efficient to wash full loads, rather than smaller loads.


Modern dishwashers are pretty energy efficient, using between 1 and 1.25 kWh per cycle. Some recommendations for making your dishwasher as efficient as possible include only using it when it is full (not for half loads), and finishing the cycle in advance of the drying process - simply opening the dishwasher and allowing the dishes to air-dry instead.


The dryer is one of the more expensive appliances in our homes, using around 2.5 kWh per hour of drying.

For those of us that do have a dryer, it might be an idea to hang clothes first whenever possible and just use the dryer sparingly to finish the drying.


Fridge-freezers actually use relatively few kWhs, with the typical fridge-freezer using less than 1 kWh per day.

We can’t cut down the use of our fridge-freezers, as they obviously need to be switched on at all times. However, ensuring the fridge-freezer is not too full will make it run more efficiently, and it’s important to make sure you have the fridge set to the right temperature for the amount of food that’s in it.


You might be surprised to hear that the oven is one of the most expensive appliances in the home - using an electric oven can cost around 2 kWhs per hour of cooking.

Some people suggest cooking two meals at one go to make the most of the oven when you do have it turned on. Also, if you use the oven to reheat food, but you also have a microwave, you would be much better off cost-wise using the microwave for reheating meals.

Aside from the oven, there are some other tips for energy efficient cooking, like making sure your pan size is the same as your burner size.


Perhaps one of the most important appliances in any Irish home, the kettle can often be boiled multiple times a day to ensure a cup of tea is never far away.

Each time we boil a kettle, it can use up to 0.25 kWhs. If you can’t live without your cuppa, make sure you don’t overfill the kettle, and only boil the amount of water that you need to make sure you’re being as efficient as possible.


All this talk of kWhs might not make much sense, but to put it simply, the unit rate you pay on your energy bills is the cost you pay per kWh you use.

So, the best way to save on your energy bills is to switch to a provider with a low unit rate. At the moment, the typical dual fuel customer can save €396 by switching from standard tariffs to the cheapest deals on the market.

Switch and save now: Compare energy deals