Money down the drain! Home appliances that burn energy

Natalia Lachim explains why leaving appliances left switched on and on standby increases your energy bills and why we should be switching off rather than throw…
TV on standby - money down the drain

With the energy price cap increasing to £2,500 from the 1st October, a significant increase from April’s price cap of £1,971,many households are trying to reduce their energy use and, in turn, reduce their bills. Below, Natalia Lachim from Discount Code explains why leaving appliances left switched on and on standby increased your energy bills and reveals the biggest so-called energy vampires which are throwing you money down the drain.


As a fridge/freezer needs to constantly be on, it is unsurprising that over 12% of the entire household’s energy comes from the fridge/freezer alone, costing households around £138.72 per year. Obviously, a fridge/freezer cannot simply be turned off when not in use, there are ways to ensure it works as efficiently as possible, meaning you will pay the minimum necessary. Regular cleaning of the fridge, both external and internal cleaning, is the simplest way to ensure it runs efficiently. Dusting the exterior means dust won’t get into the system and affect how it works and cleaning the interior and disposing of any out of date food means the fridge doesn’t need to work as hard to keep food cool/frozen.


A 2021 study showed that a massive 98% of UK households admit to leaving their TV on standby at all times, with many wrongly assuming that turning off via the remote switches it off entirely – however this isn’t always the case. Leaving the TV plugged in and switched on uses 1.3kWh. As the average cost of electricity is now £0.34 per unit, just leaving the TV on idle for an hour a day adds up to an enormous £161.33 a year to your bill. Now that really is money down the drain.

Games consoles

Games consoles tend to be left switched on and plugged in as much as TVs and are often overlooked. Simply ensuring it is turned off completely can save £5.10 each day, as when a typical games console is left on standby it uses a hefty 15kWh per hour.


A kettle isn’t the worst culprit for being an energy drainer, however, it will add an unnecessary amount to your bill. Leaving an average kettle plugged in and switched on when not in use uses around 0.3kWh. Although this is seemingly a small unit of energy, it still adds £37.23to your annual bill.

Home exercise equipment

Many of us used the pandemic and lockdowns to get fitter and invest in exercise equipment and invested in our own home exercise equipment. In fact, searches for “treadmills” saw a 282.86% increase in searches across 2020 and 2021 and has continued to grow in 2022, with an uplift of 164.3%. Whether or not we’ve kept to our fitness habits is another story, however, if sports equipment is left plugged in then it can be costly. An average exercise bike uses 7kWh when left on standby which will add just over £57 to your annual bill.

energy consumption - money down the drain

Plugged in chargers

For ease, many of us leave our chargers plugged in and ready to charge up our devices as soon as we need them, and it is a wrong assumption that the charger only will cost money if a device is actually plugged in. While leaving an empty charger plugged in might not be the most expensive, as chargers only use 0.006 kWh, it is adding unnecessary costs to your bills, adding around £17.87 to your annual bill.

Alarm clock

Invested in a SAD lamp this winter? Or perhaps you were once let down by your phone’s alarm so prefer to rely on an old-fashioned alarm clock? Whatever the reason, alarm clocks are convenient but will add to your energy bill. If your alarm clock is mains operated and is plugged in all the time, a standard digital alarm clock uses 3kWh, so when left on 24 hours a day, costs around £24.48. Although this may not seem too expensive, to make further savings, you could consider turning off your clock when not in use and simply reset the time and your alarm before going to bed.

Why does leaving devices plugged in a switched-on use energy?

If you leave an appliance plugged in and switched on, even if you are not actively using the product, it will drain electricity. This is because electricity will be able to run through, thus increasing your energy use and, unfortunately, your energy bills. To reduce the amount of energy used and the cost of energy prices, simply switching off the mains means the electrical current is unable to flow through.

If you found Money down the drain! Home appliances that burn energy helpful, you’ll find more tips to cope with energy price rises on our Money Saving Tips channel.

Tags: Last modified: September 29, 2022

Written by 1:00 pm Money Saving Tips, Finance