ENERGY bills are rising so it helps to understand how much running your everyday household appliances can cost.
Microwaves are a kitchen essential for many – even top TV cook Nigella.
So how much does heating up dinner (or a cold cuppa) add to your energy bill?
How much does it cost to run a microwave?
The power of a microwave is measured in watts and that affects how much energy it uses – and how much it costs.
But the more powerful the appliance, the quicker it will cook your food too.
Microwaves in the home generally have a wattage of between 700 and 1,200 watts.
A 700 watt model would use 0.7 kilowatts per hour (kWh) and a 1,200 model, 1.2kWh.
The cost of energy is currently 21p per kWh for electricity, on average, but the exact cost will depend on the tariff you're on.
So to run a microwave costs roughly between 21p and 25p per hour.
Uswitch says its analysis of smart meters puts the cost at around 21p per hour too.
Of course, it's unlikely that you would use a microwave oven for that amount of time at once.
But if it added up to that over the week – just over 8 minutes use a day – you would spend between £10.92 and £13 a year.
The exact cost of running a microwave will depend on how much you use it, the model you have, and how much you pay for energy.
How does a microwave compare to an oven?
Energy Saving Trust says that a microwave is more energy efficient than a traditional gas or electric oven.
That's because microwaves only heat your food and not the air space inside, which means they use less energy to cook your dinner.
Uswitch says a standard oven generally costs around 18p per hour of use.
But since you’d usually use the oven for longer than you would use a microwave, the amount of money it costs per use is more or less the same.
However, Uswitch says thatbecause the microwave is more energy efficient, it's generally better to use this.
It’s always quicker and its smaller size (compared to an oven) means that the heat is more focused on whatever’s being cooked, it advises, so opt for this appliance whenever possible.
Of course, this won't always be possible when you are cooking larger meals and more complicated recipes.
Energy Saving Trust also says that a microwave is one of the appliances that will "eat up electricity" when left on standby.
Switch it off at the plug and you could save money on your energy bill.
We've also worked out how much it costs to run a slow cooker.
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