We discovered the real cost of household appliances and how you can too!

Households are sandwiched between a rising cost of living and an energy crisis. We need to find a solution.. and fast.

By Kyle Wilson | August 2022

Video contents

In this video we share:

  • 00:01 – Introduction 
  • 02:55 – What is an electricity usage monitor and how do we set one up?
  • 04:50 – What other equipment will we use?
  • 05:40 – Monitoring the kettle and microwave
  • 08:00 – Monitoring the toaster and TV 
  • 08:45 – Monitoring the fridge/freezer
  • 11:30 – Swapping our big oven for a smaller convection and toaster oven
  • 12:39 – Becoming more aware of energy usage.
  • 13:17 – Connecting with Perth and Kinross Councillor, Alasdair Bailey, Blairgowrie High School, and the local energy supplier, Scottish and Southern Energy.
  • 15:50 – Are you interested in having an electricity usage monitor lending programe at your local library?
  • 16:50 – Credits
  • 17:30 – Copyright Information

Recently, an online article appeared before our eyes. It described the so-called ‘real energy costs’ of running household appliances and how to reduce energy bills.

It wasn’t long, though, before a not-so-helpful cawing chorus of those living comfortably with more began lecturing down to those they perceived as having or being less.

cost of running each kitchen appliance

Patronising advice echoed from the dark corners of the internet: ‘wear an extra jumper’, and, ‘Cuddle your dog to keep warm.’

To make matters worse, they were definitely not joking.

But then, instead of joining the negative chorus by reacting to them, I chose to act to find and share what might be a better solution for some of us.

Energy crisis

An electricity monitor lending program at our local library.

Why buy an electricity usage monitor when we could easily borrow one from our local community library?

When asking ourselves this question, we knew we had to take our actions even further if we wanted to help ease the cost of living crisis and build a community around an idea that helps make the right tools and recources accessible to everyone, affordably or for free.

So, we’re reaching out for help.

CareBlair Quote

What we’re doing..

Step one, we had to send some emails. We contacted everyone we could think of from our local library, high school science department, energy supplier and even our local councillors.

How to start an electricity usage monitor lending program in your library

We asked them to share their thoughts on having a lending program at the local library that would allow us to check out a power monitor just like a book so that anyone in the community can see which household appliances are consuming the most electricity and help us all make more cost effective choices in our energy consumption.

For the email to the local councillors, we asked them whether they would be interested in partnering with the Perth and Kinross council to test a pilot program in or around their local area in partnership with the local public library as part of a public conservation awareness project to promote Perth and Kinross council’s support of and connection to the local community.

Alasdair Bailey in favour of an electricity usage monitor lending programe in Perth and Kinross

Councillor Alasdair Bailey responded and he says, ‘I am not aware of such a program, but with the roll out of smart meters people are be getting these anyway.’, before adding, ‘maybe something to check before the council invests in what you suggest, which otherwise is a good suggestion for sure.’

Scottish and Southern energy are yet to respond to our email but we used their website’s live chat to enquire whether or not, regarding their residential smart meter roll out, if they will be accessible to non-paying customers.

Their answer simply informs us that they are not. If we want access to a smart meter, we’re going to need to pay up for one.

Scottish and Southern Energy won't share their smart meters with non paying customers

And in our email to our local high school, we asked them their thoughts on establishing an outreach to the schools science departments to use the residential meters to teach energy conservation as part of climate change education and as part of good stewardship of natural resources and energy, and as part of managing a household budget and household costs for energy use.

Knowing all of this, we’d like to know how many of you would be interested in having a lending program at your local library that would allow you to check out a power monitor from the library just like a book so that you can see which appliances are using the most electricity?

Consider how this might help us to reduce our household appliance usage and thereby reduce the household electric utility bill and ultimately reduce our households impact on our wallets and on climate change at the same time.

How to locate your nearest community library online

Visit the Culture Perth and Kinross website and follow the guidance in this short video to help locate your local libraries in the Perth and Kinross council areas.

Who are your elected representatives for Perth & Kinross council?

On May 5th 2022, local people from all walks of life tuned in, turned up, and voted for change in their local communities.

All 40 councillors were elected to the twelve wards that make up Perth and Kinross council using the single transferable vote system.

Perth and Kinross elected councillors 2022

CareBlair created ScotsVote UK to help the young and young at heart learn how to register to vote and participate in elections as informed voters.

Use this page on ScotsVote UK to discover and connect with your local councillors across the twelve wards that make up Perth and Kinross council.

How to set up your electricity usage monitor at home

This 40 second video will have your electricity usage monitor revealing the real, sneaky costs of your household appliances like magic!

Our recommended online purchases

Are you interested in doing the same project for your household applicances?

We’ll need a very minimal, budget-friendly set up to begin. We can reinvest our cost-savings in more energy efficient appliances as and when our budget allows.

Our Project Set up

As you can see from the image above, we started with the basics. An Electricity Usage Monitor by Maxcio from Amazon UK cost us around £16.99 from the time of purchase.

This monitor helped us to record our usage and visually see which household appliances were using more energy than the manufacturers had stated at the point of sale in the retail shop.

These little, seemingly insignificant discrepancies in power usage can and will add up over the long term.

This is what nibbles away at our monthly budget when we’re not looking.

How to monitor our kettle's power usage

We discovered that the electricity usage monitor began to record power consumption of the fridge/freezer only when the door was opened.

For us, having a fridge door open for just eight minutes was costing us 23p. We purchased these door alarms to help us know when doors are open and not closed.

Imagine how much more this could have cost us if we did not act. Probably alot more costly than the £6.51 paid for these thermometers.

A Fridge/Freezer Thermometer to alert people when doors are open and not closed

This is where purchasing a fridge/freezer thermometer worked wonders for us. We were now able to visually see our fridge/freezer temperature, humidity levels, and to make quick adjustments where necessary.

This lowered the power consumption needed to keep the fridge/freezer cool and the lower humidity levels helped to increase our food’s shelf life thereby reducing our food waste and impact on our weekly grocery shop bill.

Our purchase of a small convection and toaster oven meant we were using our large family sized kitchen oven less often and therefor reducing the amount of power needed to heat a larger space. 

Using a convection toaster oven

Yes, our large oven is also located right next to our fridge/freezer. When the large oven is not in use, the fridge/freezer doesn’t need to counteract this heat by cooling more thereby reducing our power usage even further.

This smaller convection oven is perfect for single people or families with one child or fewer teenagers who are preparing their own meals.

So, it’s well worth considering.

Until next time..

We really hope you’ve gained some value from discovering more about how we can lower our household energy consumption and our households impact on our wallets and on climate change.

And why it’s so important that we continue to build communities around ideas that make the right tools and resources accessible to everyone, affordably or for free.

Got a question, a thought, or an idea that you think might help this project? Share it with us on social media or email us and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

And until next time, remember, sharing is caring.

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