How to spot ‘vampire appliances’ with a £12 gadget – and it could cut your energy bills by HUNDREDS of pounds

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A SIMPLE gadget costing as little as £12 could help you spot energy-guzzling appliances in your home – and cut hundreds of pounds in bills.

So-called vampire devices can consume power without you realizing it, costing you more.


A special plug can help you check exactly how much each device costsCredit: Alamy

For example, a TV on standby could add almost £25 to your energy bill, according to British Gas.

From game consoles and computers to microwaves and phone chargers, the combined impact could amount to hundreds of pounds each year.

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

Older devices generally use more power when not in use compared to newer devices, which often have “eco” modes when not in use to save energy and money .

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

It can be used to work out 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 outlets can be used to check the power of individual items in the home.

These are placed between an outlet and the plug of the device being measured, Uswitch explains.

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

Bill payers have shared the energy saving tip online and how they are using the gadget to reduce their usage and lower their bills.

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

“I have no more washing to do but I will wash on different settings and compare prices next week.”

Another said: ‘I use them, absolutely brilliant to help calculate the running costs of appliances.’

One shopper said the monitor “quickly confirmed” their suspicions about the energy-guzzling items.

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

Each outlet is different, but it measures the power consumption of the individual device you have plugged in.

With some, you can enter the price you pay for energy and then the gadget calculates the cost for you.

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

Currently, more than 20 million people benefit from capped tariffs which limit the amount suppliers can charge to £0.28 per kWh for electricity.

Simple gadgets can save money

For your chosen device, 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 get 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 for buy on Amazon for as little as £12 and eBay, but check first that they are reputable sellers.

Shoppers have been warned that some appliances promising to save energy sold online pose a huge risk, including household fires and electric shock.

Check that the brand is genuine and check reviews from people who have used the device before.

It’s not the only way to monitor energy usage around your home.

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

These are different from energy consumption sheets because they show how much gas or electricity you use in real time for the whole house.

Most energy providers distribute them for free, but some have faced technical problems.

You can also get smart plugs that let you control certain devices remotely, like lamps.

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And one homeowner installed smart thermostats on his radiator to control heating in every room, saving him hundreds of dollars on his bill.

We used a thermal camera to reveal the hotspots in the house where you lose the most heat – and they could add £750 to energy bills.

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Edward N. Arrington