How to spot ‘vampire appliances’ with £12 gadget – and slash your energy bills


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A SIMPLE gadget costing as little as £12 could help you spot energy draining appliances around your home – and slash hundreds of pounds from bills.

So-called vampire appliances can use up energy without you realising, costing you more.

A special plug can help you check exactly how much each appliance is costing

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A special plug can help you check exactly how much each appliance is costingCredit: Alamy

For instance a TV on standby could be adding nearly £25 to your energy bill, according to British Gas.

From games consoles and computers, to microwaves and phone chargers, the combined impact could add up to hundreds of pounds each year.

But the exact cost can depend on your appliance – including how old it is, how much power it needs and how often you use it.

Older appliances usually drain more energy when not in use compared to newer ones, which often have “eco” modes when not in use to save energy and cash.

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Savvy savers are now turning to a cheap gadget that can show the exact cost of running every appliance around your home.

It can be used to spot exactly how much these vampire appliances are adding to bills, as well as the cost of using everyday items like washing machines and kettles.

Energy monitor plugs can be used to check the power of individual items around the home.

These are placed between a socket and the plug of the device being measured, Uswitch explains.

They have screens that show how much power the item is using, and run of batteries so they don’t add more usage to your bill.

Billpayers have shared the energy-saving tip online, and how they are using the gadget to reduce their usage and slash their bills.

One savvy saver on the popular Energy Support and Advice UK Facebook group said: “I bought a new toy today. An energy usage monitor plug. At 28.74p per unit it costs 1.2p to boil the kettle for one cup, 4.5p for a cold 59 minute wash on my washing machine.

“I’ve no more washing to do but I’m going to wash on different settings and compare prices over the next week.”

Another said: “I use these, absolutely brilliant at helping work out appliance running cost.”

One buyer said the monitor “quickly confirmed” their suspicions about energy draining items.

They said: “My 10 year old fridge is worn out and using vast amounts of power to stay cold, about £350 a year. A new one which uses £50 is on order.

Each plug is different but it measures the energy use of the individual appliance you’ve plugged in.

With some you can enter the price you pay for energy and then the gadget works out the cost for you.

The cost per unit you pay depends on the tariff you’re on but you can usually find this information on your latest energy bill or online account.

Currently more than 20million people are on price capped tariffs that limit the amount suppliers can charge at £0.28 per kWh for electricity.

Simple gadgets can save cash

For your chosen appliance, you can use the usage meter to then see the cost of running it when it’s in use or just on standby.

You can pick up an energy monitor for around £20 depending on where you get it and the model.

For instance Screwfix has one for £17.99 and it has several positive reviews.

They are also available to buy on Amazon for as cheap as £12 and eBay, but check they are reputable sellers first.

Shoppers have been warned that some devices promising to save people energy sold online pose a huge risk, including house fires and electric shocks.

Check the make is genuine and look at reviews from people who have used the device already.

It’s not the only way you can monitor energy use around your home.

Smart meters can also help you track the cost of energy.

These are different to the energy use plugs as they show how much gas or electric you are using in real-time for the whole home.

Most energy suppliers are giving these out for free, but some have been beset by tech issues.

You can also get smart plugs which let you control some appliances remotely, like lamps.

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And one homeowner installed smart thermostats on his radiator to control the heating in each room, helping him save hundreds of pound on his bill.

We used a thermal imaging camera to reveal the home hotspots where you’re losing the most heat – and they could be adding £750 to energy bills.

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