Buying a more energy efficient appliance

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

If you're thinking about buying a new appliance, you should think about: 

  • the cost of the energy (gas or electricity) you'll need to use it 

  • the upfront cost to buy the appliance

  • whether it's worth repairing your appliance instead of replacing it

Some appliances are more energy efficient than others - this means they use less energy and cost less to run.

Some appliances have energy rating labels. You can use these to check how efficient an appliance is and compare it to other appliances. 

If you have an appliance that doesn’t have an energy label, you can still roughly work out how much it costs to use.

How to read an appliance’s energy label

An appliance should have a label on it to help you understand how much energy it uses. 

You'll usually find the energy label on or near an appliance if you're in a shop.

If you're searching online, you'll usually be able to view the energy label when viewing products.

You can compare how much energy one appliance uses with another similar appliance by checking the information on the label.

Example

 

This is an example of an energy label for a washing machine. It tells us the washing machine:

  • has a C energy rating

  • uses 123 kilowatt-hours of energy for every 100 washes

Example

This is an example of an energy label for a TV. It tells us the TV:

  • has an F energy rating

  • uses 123 kilowatt hours for every 1,000 hours of use

HDR means ‘high dynamic range’ - the TV shows more colours and is brighter. Some TVs in HDR mode might use more energy for every 1,000 hours of use.

You should check the label for the 2 most important parts of information about an appliance’s energy use: 

  • energy rating from A to G - this tells you how energy efficient the appliance is

  • energy use in kilowatt-hours (kWh)

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) is a measurement of energy. An energy label will tell you how many kilowatt-hours of energy an appliance uses over a period of time.

For example, a TV’s energy label might show 123kWh / 1,000 hours. This means the TV uses 123 kilowatt-hours of energy for every 1000 hours it’s on.

Example

This part of the energy label shows the appliance uses 123 kilowatt-hours of energy for every 1,000 hours of use.

A washing machine’s energy label will have a circular arrow with 100 inside it. This shows how many kilowatt-hours of energy the washing machine uses for every 100 washes. For example, 123kWh / 100. 

Example

This part of the energy label shows the appliance uses 123 kilowatt-hours of energy for every 100 washes.

Energy labels will always show the same number of hours or washes. This makes it easier for you to compare how much energy they use:

  • washer dryers, washing machines and dishwashers will show the energy used for every 100 cycles

  • TVs and screens will show how much energy is used for every 1,000 hours

  • fridges and freezers will show energy used per ‘annum’, this means each year

1,000 hours is about the same as 3 hours a day over a year. 100 cycles is about the same as 2 cycles a week over a year.

The bottom part of the label shows other information about the appliance - for example, how long the eco wash takes or how many litres of water is used for every wash.

If the energy rating scale on the label goes from A+++ to D, this is an older style energy label. An A+++ rating is not as energy efficient as an A on the newer energy labels.

Work out how much an appliance costs to use

You can use an energy label to get an idea of how much a new appliance would cost to use. First you need to check your energy bill for the rate you pay for gas or electricity, depending on the appliance.

Your bill will say how much you pay for each kilowatt-hour of gas or electricity you use - for example 27p / kWh.

Calculate how much the appliance costs to use

Multiply the price you pay for gas or electricity by the number of kilowatt-hours on the energy label. This will give you an approximate energy cost for using the appliance for a certain amount of time.

Example

Greg is thinking of buying a new electric washing machine and wants to check how much it will cost to use.

Greg checks his electricity bill. It says his provider charges 27p for each kilowatt-hour of electricity. On his bill it looks like 27p / kWh.

The energy label on the new washing machine says it uses 90 kilowatt-hours for every 100 washes. On the label it looks like 90 kWh / 100.

Greg works out 90 kilowatt-hours multiplied by 27p, or 90 x 0.27. This comes to £24.30 for 100 washes.

100 washes works out at about 2 washes a week over a year. This is roughly how much Greg uses his washing machine each week, so he knows the washing machine will cost him about £24.30 to use over a year.

Comparing how much new appliances cost to use

When you know the approximate energy cost of using an appliance, you can add it to the cost of buying the appliance. You can then use this to compare the total cost of different appliances.

Comparing the total cost of appliances with different energy ratings

We've based the cost of using appliances on the national average price of electricity - 27p for each kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100
Cost of appliance Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 £379 Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 £349 Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 £319
Cost for 100 washes Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 £14 Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 £18 Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 £24
Cost for 1 wash Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 14p Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 18p Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 24p
Cost over 1 week Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 56p Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 72p Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 96p
Cost over 1 year Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 £29 Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 £37 Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 £50
Cost over 6 years Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 £174 Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 £222 Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 £300
Total cost over 6 years Example A-rated washing machine 51 kWh / 100 £553 Example C-rated washing machine 68 kWh / 100 £571 Example E-rated washing machine 90 kWh / 100 £619

The figures in the table are for similar washing machines that:

  • are used 4 times a week

  • can take up to 10kg of washing

  • use mixture of full, half and quarter load sizes

  • use an eco washing programme - sometimes called ‘eco 40-60’

  • have a spin speed of 1,400rpm

Use a tool to compare appliances

You can compare how much energy an appliance uses and how much it costs to run on the Energy Label website. To use the tool, you can either use:

  • the ‘QR Scan’ tab - use your phone camera to scan the QR code on the appliance’s energy label

  • the ‘Enter Model’ tab - enter the brand name and model number of the appliance

Use the comparison tool on the Energy Label website.

If your appliance doesn’t have an energy label

You can still work out the energy used and the running cost, if you know the power rating of your appliance.

You can find the power rating:

  • on a label on your appliance with the model and serial number

  • in the user manual for your appliance - if you still have it

If you can't find the user manual for your appliance, check the manufacturer's website.

The power rating is a number in kilowatts (kW) or watts (W) - 1 kilowatt is the same as 1000 watts. For example, a TV might have a power rating of 120 watts (120W) and a kettle might have a power rating of 3 kilowatts (3kW or 3000W).

You can work out an appliance's energy cost and compare it to another appliance. You’ll need to:

  • work out the energy an appliance uses in a year

  • work out the cost to run the appliance for a year

Work out the energy an appliance uses in a year

Multiply the appliance's power rating by the number of hours you think you'll use it each day. This tells you how much energy the appliance uses a day. 

For example, you might expect to use a 120W TV for 5 hours a day.

120W x 5 = 600Wh of energy used a day.

Divide this by 1,000 to change it from watt-hours (Wh) to kilowatt-hours (kWh).

600Wh / 1,000 = 0.6kWh a day.

After you’ve worked out the amount of energy used for 1 day, multiply that by 365 to get the annual energy use.

0.6kWh x 365 days = 219kWh of energy used a year.

Work out the cost to run the appliance for a year

Multiply the kWh of energy used each year by your energy provider’s unit cost of gas or electricity.

For example, your TV uses 219kWh of electricity in a year and you’re charged 27p for each kWh of electricity.

219 x 0.27 = £59.13

This means you’ll pay £59.13 a year to have your TV on for 5 hours each day.

Repairing an appliance instead of buying a new one

Your appliances can become less energy efficient as they get older. You might save money by getting your appliance repaired or serviced. 

Getting your appliance serviced can make it more energy efficient and could also mean you don’t have to buy a new one yet.

For example, your fridge or freezer might have become less efficient after a few years because the plastic seal around the door has become loose or worn. You might be able to find replacement parts for your appliance online and fit them yourself.

You might also be able to clean filters on washing machines or tumble dryers yourself.

You must be sure that replacing a part yourself won’t make your appliance unsafe. Check the user manual or the manufacturer’s website to find out how to do it.

If you decide to book a repair service, check: 

  • the callout fee

  • the hourly rate after the callout fee

  • if there’s a warranty or guarantee for the repair work

  • if they'll tell you what spare parts are needed before they buy them

  • what the repair person can do to your appliance before you commit to spending your money

You shouldn’t book a trader if they can’t give you all of this information - they’re legally required to. Find a trader and check you can trust them.

If something’s gone wrong with an appliance you’ve bought you might get a repair paid for by the retailer - check if you can get a repair for faulty goods.

If your appliance’s warranty or guarantee is still valid, you might get a repair paid for by the manufacturer. You should check the terms and conditions of your warranty or guarantee, or contact your appliance’s manufacturer.

If you’re unhappy about a service, you can check what to do if you're unhappy about poor service.

Save money using your electrical appliance

Find ways to save energy and reduce your bills when you use your electrical appliances.