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electric towel rails, do they use a lot of electricity?

(10 Posts)
OhYesToYestyn Sat 12-Dec-15 00:40:31

I've got a huge electric bill for the last two months (while gas usage isn't high regardless of heating being on a lot). Yes, it's the lights etc being turned off eralier, and some use of oil filled portable radiator, but it's still more than usual. The only thing I started using that wasn't used before, is a towel rail in bathroom (tall one with many 'tubes'). Could that be the reason? I also had left lights on all night in bathroom but they aer energy saving spot lights.

Could it also be that meter is faulty? they've old me to take readings every day for a few days, but how can I tell from that myself?

Has the tariff gone up generally?

PigletJohn Sat 12-Dec-15 01:25:58

It depends entirely how many watts it uses. You will find it on the bill or instructions.

Towel warmers are usually rather weedy and will not keep a room warm.

If yours happens to be 1,000Watts, it will cost 11 pence per hour.

Energy from electricity currently costs about four times as much as energy from gas.

Your electric heater, tumble drier, and immersion heater will use much more.

Energy is cheaper this year than it was last year. Oil has dropped in price by about 60% in 18 months. Surprisingly, the public's bills have not.

OhYesToYestyn Sat 12-Dec-15 12:42:31

I have noticed that gas is cheaper this year, and I use a lot - heating the whole house and also have a gas cooker.

But it's electricity that's higher than ever! I use oven more now but never for long, maybe 30-40min on average (not daily but frequent) - just trying to understand what's the reason for increase. I've left towel rail on all night a few times as I have a window in bathroom but even so this would only add 20pounds max on the 2.5months bill according to your info.

Immersion heater I assume is impossible to to regulate in terns of electocity intake.

Is the test they told me to do worth doing (taking readings every day fpr a week)? I meant can I tell myself without ringing then after, whether the meter is faulty?

Thanks, Pj!

PigletJohn Sat 12-Dec-15 15:10:17

Do you mean you have a hot water cylinder which has an electric immersion heater but fan also be heated by the gas boiler?

If so, switch off the electric immersion heater. You only need it when the boiler breaks down.

Take your meter readings at least once a day for a week, and at least monthly in future. Write them in a diary you will not lose.

When you got the big electricity bill, was it based on actual (not estimated) meter readings? How many kWh had you used, over what period?

How about the previous bill, and the one for the same period last year?

ohYestoYestyn Tue 15-Dec-15 01:06:25

I haev immersion heater and a non-combi boiler that ONLY does heating, not HW.
I've read on here recently that immersion is very expensive, but previous owner said they did it for economy! they mainly used their electric shower though, but I use a new pumped shower - but I haven't changed their timer which is for an hour or so twice a day. The hot water cylinder is small so it only gives one shower(pumped) or one bath so I need to heat it again of I need two showers a day plus water left over for washing up etc. But I usually stick to twice daily as it's been set.

So far I've taken reading for three days and it's between +17 and +20 units per day. Sounds a lot already. I use dishwasher and WM not daily, but still often. Also when away I leave lights on all the time (8 spotlight but energy saving) and that's not often. Also there are spotlight over the cooker along with extractor - I assumed they are savers but what if not? I use them a lot instead of ceiling lights to save a bit.

It was estimates over the summer, there was a small difference from actual readings (less) so I know I'm in debt slightly but should not be that much! As I say it's higher than ever in two yrs using the same things. CAn be bothered looking at all bilss and all the numbers, I just know I'm paying more (I'm not organised with bills, not my strong point).

ohYestoYestyn Tue 15-Dec-15 01:08:03

not away for long, 1-3 days, but this was not in the last month.

ohYestoYestyn Tue 15-Dec-15 01:09:38

can't be bothered, of course. The bills are quarterly.

PigletJohn Tue 15-Dec-15 14:57:37

very sad to hear you have a gas boiler but the HW is heated by electric, because energy from electricity costs almost four times as much as energy from gas.

If the immersion heater is at the top of the cylinder, it will not heat all the available water. In very rough terms, if it heats 60 litres of water (a shallow bath) it will take about an hour and cost about 33pence. If insulation of the cylinder is poor, it will waste some more. What colour is it?

If you have a power shower, it may use the water quite fast. You can find out how fast by running it into a bucket and timing it to full. If you assume the hot water costs you about half a p per litre, that will be near enough.

If you use your energy company's website, you can probably look up your old bills and usage. Your latest bill probably has a chart showing how much you used this time, last time and/or this time last year.

PigletJohn Tue 15-Dec-15 15:06:47


you say you are using 17-20 kWh per day. At about 11p per kWh, that is about £2, which is quite high.

Your immersion heater uses 3kWh per hour while it is heating so unless the thermostat is faulty and the water gets scalding, it will reach temperature and stop after about an hour.

If you look at your meter you will see the red light flashing, or the flat disk spinning . They will go faster the more they use.

Electric heaters use a lot. Lights don't. Energy saving lights use a quarter to an eighth of what filament lamps use, but even with old-fashioned 100W bulbs, you would need 30 to use as much per hour as an immersion heater or tumble drier.

An electric shower might be about 12kW, and cost £1.30 an hour.

Naoko Tue 15-Dec-15 15:08:37

Immersion heaters can be cripplingly expensive to run. I have no gas to my house so everything including the shower and the heating is electric. I've had to turn the immersion heater off because I can't afford to run the stupid thing, I just turn it on manually for an hour or two every three days. It's well insulated so stays hot long enough to allow me to do the washing up while it's not running. I reckon it's made £100-150 difference to my electricity bill from when I had it on.

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