Your Nan might have told you that if you looked after the pennies the pounds would look after themselves – and there’s nothing truer. But it’s easier to look after the pennies you spend on electricity when you know how much every gadget and flick of a switch is costing you.

To help you save energy, we’ve pulled together a list of how many units of electricity your appliances and gadgets use to run, based on national estimates. Using the cost of one unit of electricity based on our current average standard tariff (19.87p per kWh* which means 1000 watts or one kilowatt (1 kW) of power expended for one hour (1 h) of time), we’ve worked out how much that’s roughly costing you. So if you want to know roughly how much it costs to do a wash or power your PlayStation, keep reading …

Your appliances, and what they cost to run

  • Light Bulb: around 0.5p an hour
    Energy efficient light bulbs use around one unit of electricity to give off 40 hours-worth of light. That’s roughly 0.5p an hour.
  • Kettle: around 2.5p to boil a full kettle
    The average kettle holds 1.5 pints and uses about one unit of electricity to boil 12 pints of water (or 8 x 1.5 pint-full kettles) – so that’s around 2.5p every time you boil a full kettle.
  • Electric Cooker: £2.98 a week
    Most electric cookers use 15 units of electricity – that’s about £2.98 worth – to cook a week’s worth of meals for a family of four. Costs will vary depending on the cooker you have, how often you use it and how energy efficient it is
  • Slow Cooker: around 2.5p an hour
    The average slow cooker uses about one unit of electricity or 20p to power eight hours of cooking – that’s roughly 2.5p per hour.
  • Fridge Freezer: around 30p a day
    Fridge freezers generally use between one and two units of electricity a day – that’s around 20 – 40p, so 30p on average.
  • Washing machine: around 50p per one hour wash
    On average, a washing machine takes around 2.5 units of electricity – roughly about 50p – to run an hour-long wash.
  • Iron: around 10 or 20p an hour
    Your iron probably uses around 0.5 – 1 unit of electricity (or around 10 – 20p) for every hour you use it. In fact, most irons cost around £4.50 a year to run.
  • PC: around 6-7p an hour
    The average PC needs one unit of electricity (roughly 20p) to run for three hours – that’s about 6-7p an hour. A desktop computer costs around £24 a year to run – but laptops are much cheaper at just £4 a year.
  • TV: around 2p an hour
    Most 21 inch TVs use about 1 unit of electricity to power approx 10 hours of viewing – that’s about 2p an hour. The average family spends about £67 a year powering their TV, DVD player and set top box.
  • Games Console: around 6-7p an hour
    On average, games consoles use one unit of electricity (around 20p) to power three hours of gameplay – or around 6-7p an hour. The average house spends £7 a year powering their consoles. But some consoles are slightly cheaper to run than others – they say running a Wii costs around £6 a year, an Xbox costs £8 a year and a PS3 costs £9 a year.

Remember to switch your appliances off!

Last year, a report released by the Energy Saving Trust, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) found that the average household was wasting between £50 – £80 of their annual £530 electricity bill by leaving appliances on standby instead of switching them off at the socket.

That means the average family is paying around 16% more than they need to – all because they’re powering things they’re not even using. Make sure you’re not one of them by turning off everything you use when you’re finished with it.

Making these prices relevant to you

You pay for electricity by the unit – but depending on what tariff you’re on and other variables like how energy efficient your appliances are, you may spend slightly more or less on your electricity than we’ve costed above. To help keep these figures as fair and relevant as possible, we based our calculations on the price of one unit of electricity costing 19.87p based on our current standard tariff.

But, if you want to know exactly what you spend on all of the activities above you can use the unit price listed on your energy bill instead.

Are you surprised at how much some gadgets and home appliances cost to run? Are there any you think we’ve missed out and would like us to include? Please tell us by leaving a comment or two below!

*The price per unit used in this blog post is in pence per kWh and is based on npower’s current standard tariff (as at 01/02/2013).

Our standard tariff uses a Primary rate (for the first 728 units of electricity) and a Follow On rate (for the remainder of units of electricity). This blog post uses the Primary & Follow On rate The price per unit and the charges provided in this blog post are based on npower’s standard tariff using the primary rate. The actual price per unit for using electricity is dependent on whether a customer has used all of their primary block units.

The primary block price per unit used in this blog post has been calculated as a weighted average of npower’s customer base by regional electricity supply area.