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Energy bills: Appliances and devices that drain £2.2bn from UK households

16% of Brits said they are unaware that many household appliances use up electricity whilst not in use appliances in life. Photo: Getty Images
16% of Brits said they are unaware that many household appliances use up electricity whilst not in use appliances in life. Photo: Getty Images (panithan pholpanichrassamee via Getty Images)

Brits could save 23%, or £110 ($150), a year on their electricity bills simply by switching off electric appliances left on standby, new data from British Gas has shown.

Set-top boxes are costing households the most amount of money — £420m in total — with 83% saying they leave these on standby for almost 21 hours in a day.

Chart: British Gas
Chart: British Gas

Internet routers, TVs and microwaves are other “vampire electronics” that guzzle up a ton of energy when left on standby mode.

If Brits turned these appliances off when they were not using them, they could together save a total of £2.2bn on electricity bills.

Almost one in five (16%) of those surveyed by British Gas said they are unaware that many household appliances use up electricity whilst not in use, and over two in five (41%) only occasionally switch these appliances off.


Almost one third (31%) said they wish they’d known appliances were costing them money whilst on standby and 45% said they are more interested than ever to make savings on energy bills.

Some 43% are also concerned about their winter energy usage.

Read more: Green homes could cut energy bills and give UK economy £10bn boost

But 23% said that they will continue to leave appliances on standby when inactive despite the fact it could save them money.

Almost half said this was because the effort of switching them off isn’t worth the cost saving and one in four (25%) said they just don’t care.

“Almost a third of total heating costs in the home are wasted through the roof and the walls and with vampire appliances, this figure is almost half of our electricity bills on wasted energy," said British Gas energy expert Marc Robson.

"Just switching some of these off can really help save straight away and those with a smart meter will be able to see the impact of this in real time."

A majority (72%) of those aged 54 to 65 said they would switch off appliances to save money on bills, compared to only 39% of 18- to 24-year-olds who found the idea less appealing.

Almost two thirds (64%) said they will make more effort to switch their appliances off now they know they could save money.

“While colder weather means a rise in bills is inevitable, there are some things we can do to reduce our energy usage at home this winter which will really help the bank balance and the environment," said Robson.

Read more: Why the UK is facing an energy crisis and what it means for your gas and electricity bills

His top tips to limit vampire appliances sucking up unnecessary energy is to switch off devices at the mains rather than leaving them on standby when they are not in use, such as at night.

Brits could also consider buying products that have low standby power usage.

Robson recommends adding all electronics, such as computers, gaming consoles and TVs, to a single extension lead and switching that off at night as this saves the effort of turning them all off individually.

Getting into the habit of turning lights off when leaving a room will also help, as will energy efficient lightbulbs — they could help households up to £40 a year.

Other tips include not leaving chargers plugged into your devices once it’s fully charged, not filling up the whole kettle if you’re only making one cup of tea and wait until the dishwasher and washing machine are full before putting them on.

Watch: The £2bn Green Home Grants scheme explained