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Home energy-saving assistant Loop has revealed how UK homeowners and renters could save an average of £140 on their annual energy bills just by switching off unused appliances and devices in their homes.
Some appliances need to be left on all the time (like a fridge or freezer) or kept on standby (like a smart speaker) but many appliances are left on that don’t need to be. This background electricity use is known as “Phantom Load”, because of the way in which energy is invisibly drained without users necessarily knowing about it.
Understanding Phantom Load in your home and what’s contributing towards it is important, as homeowners can often make simple changes that can lead to significant savings.
Analysis of Loop data found the average UK household could be wasting up to £140 unnecessarily through their Phantom Load, while in some homes this could be as much as £450.
Across the UK that means that just switching things off could collectively save households almost £4bn.
Some of the biggest energy-wasting culprits in British homes include faulty set-top boxes, which could cost more than £75 if left on standby for a year, and unused fridges or freezers which could be adding an extra £50 to your energy bill every year.
Another energy waster is over-sensitive outdoor motion-activated security lights which can also contribute to rising energy bills, with some adding as much as £25 over the course of a year.
And it’s not just money Brits can save, but the environment too. As the focus on global carbon emissions intensifies, individuals, businesses and governments are being urged to take action to halt the global climate emergency. And with more and more people looking for ways to do their bit, identifying your home’s Phantom Load could be the first step to cutting your energy bills and minimising your environmental impact.
If every household in the UK reduced their Phantom Load by £140 the carbon emissions saved would be the same as taking more than 2.8 million cars off the road each year, just by switching off a few appliances.
As well as showing the cost of leaving things on, home energy assistant Loop can also help to identify faulty appliances and systems which may be increasing your Phantom Load and adding unnecessary cost to your bills.
Here’s a run-down of some of the common culprits and how much they could be adding to your energy bills.
One Loop customer found that a faulty set-top box was adding £75 a year to their electricity bill despite the fact they never used it.
Meanwhile another Loop user found out that two thirds of their energy was used to heat their water – better scheduling resulted in an immediate 25% cost reduction.
Faulty immersion heaters can also wreak havoc with energy bills as they’re so high powered. One Loop user discovering a faulty thermostat on their immersion added an extra £500 to their bill.
Another Loop customer explained how they had saved money on their energy bills using the real-time data: “I had a faulty time switch and a faulty thermostat in the electric boiler. It was a costly fault and Loop kept me up-to-date on how much it was costing whilst the house was empty!”
Steve Buckley, Head of Data Science at Loop, explains: “Phantom Load is not to be underestimated. You might not think that having things on standby or devices left on can be such a drain on your energy usage, but tackling your Phantom Load is one of the single biggest ways to reduce the cost of your energy bills.
“There are some obvious culprits to look out for. By going around each room in your house to see what’s on standby, you can drastically reduce your energy waste and spend. However, Phantom Load is different in every household, and not every cause of wasted energy is obvious.
“Using an energy-saving assistant like Loop, can quickly and easily help you identify your household’s Phantom Load, as it shows you the immediate effect of turning things off. Many users report using Loop while away from home to spot electric heaters, ovens or immersion heaters being left on.”
“But for many people it’s not just about saving money – using less energy is also about helping to tackle climate change. The nation’s awareness of the impact of carbon emissions is growing by the day, and most people want to do something to stop it.
“We know the global climate crisis is not something that can be solved by individuals on their own, but collectively if everyone makes even small changes – like the ones we’ve identified through our data – they can make a big difference. This is something Loop is committed to helping people achieve.”
Another easy way to save on your energy bills is to change your supplier, however almost half of people (49%) report they have never switched their energy tariff despite the possibility of saving money.
Over a quarter (26%) of people fear their energy bills will go up if they switch to a new tariff yet one in four people also admit they are ‘not very familiar’ with the features of their current energy tariff – including rates, discounts, standing charges and exit fees.
Loop data shows that people investing as little as five minutes of their time to switch providers, can make a potential saving of £300 a year.
Collectively, the UK could save more than £8 billion in 2020 by switching to a cheaper energy tariff at the right time.
Steve Buckley, Head of Data Science at Loop, explains: “The feeling that you’re paying too much on your energy bills is something we’ve all experienced, and yet so many people don’t know where to start when it comes to cutting costs. It can often feel overwhelming when people are already leading busy lives.
“Loop shows that you don’t have to make big changes to see big savings: switching through the app takes less than ten minutes but the saving could mean £100s off your yearly bill.”