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Watts cooking? Barbecues, hot tubs and lawn mowers behind £12 million a week energy bills as Brits take to their garden

  • Brits could spend almost £12 million a week this summer powering garden gadgets including hot tubs, electric barbecues and water features[1] 

  • Barbecue fans will spend £436 million cooking outside this summer, paying 95p to use an electric BBQ, compared to 70p for gas devices[2]

  • More than one million households have a hot tub, reveals Uswitch research, costing £4.55 in energy a day on average[3] 

  • The one in three households with an electric lawn mower could add £40 million to the country’s energy bills over the warmer months[1]

  • Uswitch.com offers top tips on how to cut down your energy consumption in the garden during the summer months. 

Britons are poised to spend almost £12 million a week powering garden gadgets this summer[1], with energy guzzling hot tubs the most expensive to run, according to new analysis by Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service. 

Electric barbecues, plug-in water features, lights and lawn mowers will also contribute to households’ energy bills over the warmer months. More than one million households own electric barbecues, which cost around 95p for 90 minutes of cooking, compared to only 70p for a gas barbecue. Meanwhile traditional charcoal barbecues are the most expensive, with 1kg of supermarket charcoal costing around £1.25[2]. In total, barbecue users will spend £436 million on outdoor cooking over the five warmest months of the year[1].

As temperatures increase, the million-plus households who own a hot tub are likely to take a dip, but need to be conscious of higher energy costs associated with them. 

Consumers considering buying a hot tub should be aware that they are big energy guzzlers, with the average one adding £4.55 a day to energy bills — about £140 a month — based on a running time of just 30 minutes a day[3]. 

Anyone using them from May to September could rack up bills of £700 in those five months alone, with the worst insulated and least efficient ones costing as much as £7.80 a day to run[3].  

Over a quarter (29%) of households own an electric lawn mower and use it for 30 minutes a week on average. This green-fingered habit costs the whole country £2 million a week, and adds £40 million to the nation’s energy bills over a five-month period[1].

Electric garden lights are owned by almost four million households, and while they cost only  8p a week to run per home, it adds up to £298,328 a week across the whole country[1]. Plug-in water features owned by nearly two million households will add 3p a week to bills and cost £53,637 for the UK[1]. 

Uswitch’s five tips for making savings in the garden

  1. Consider hot tubs carefully: If you are thinking about buying a hot tub consider how efficiently they run when picking one. Pricier hot tubs are likely to be better insulated and could be a good investment as they will cost less to run long term. Make sure you get a well-fitted cover that forms an air-tight seal to avoid losing heat and using more energy. 

  2. Let the grass grow: At only 25p a time on average, mowing the lawn is not a big contributor to energy bills, but households looking to make savings could reduce the number of times they cut the grass — which can also be beneficial for insects, hedgehogs and wild flowers.

  3. Ditch the patio heater: When the garden gets chilly in the evening, patio heaters may seem like an easy way to warm up, however, they can be costly to run. Electric patio heaters can vary a lot in power consumption, and commonly use between 1.5kW and 3kW. A 2.4kW unit would cost 67p an hour to warm up your patio, which adds up to nearly £5 if used for an hour every day for a week[4].

  4. Use solar power: Solar-powered lights can make a great alternative to electric garden lighting. They’re much easier to hang up, as you don’t need to be near a power source, and will save you money in the long run as they are powered by the sun.

  5. Use your garden to cut your laundry bill: If you have a garden or balcony, you can make use of the warmer weather by hanging clothes outside to dry. The average tumble dryer costs households £1.38 a week, so people can make substantial savings by using it less.

Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “The arrival of the hot weather means many of us will be spending less time indoors and making use of barbecues, outdoor lights and patio heaters.

"Energy bills are always lower in the summer when the heating is not coming on as often, but millions of people have energy guzzling gadgets in their gardens that they could use more efficiently.

“Hot tubs are the biggest offenders, and can be a drain on energy as they need to be kept at an ambient temperature so they are ready to be used.

“When buying any new gadget or appliance for the garden, remember to weigh up not just the outright cost, but how much they will cost to run. Sometimes the most energy efficient devices are more expensive - but they will save you money in the long-run.”  

Find out how you could save with Uswitch in the new cost-of-living hub here.

For further information, please contact:

Prisca Simango, Uswitch.com on 07971 093 512 / a-prisca.simango@rvu.co.uk 

Sarah Robinson, Rhizome Media on 07545 895 404 / sarah@rhizomemediagroup.com

Notes

Research conducted online by Opinium, 29th April to 3rd May 2022, among 2,000 UK residents, weighted to be nationally representative.

1. Respondents were asked, ‘Which of the following do you have?’ 29% said electric lawn mower, 13% garden electric lights, 7% said plug-in water feature, 5% said hot tub, 4% said electric barbecue. 

29% of 28.1 million UK households = 8.1 million households, 13% of 28.1 million UK households = 3.7 million households, 7% of 28.1 million UK households = 2 million households, 5% of 28.1 million UK households = 1.4 million households, 4% of 28.1 million UK households = 1.1 million. 

Respondents were asked, ‘For how long per week do you use each of these appliances?’ 

Lawn mower users said 0.6 hours, electric light owners said 2.3 hours, plug-in water feature owners said 2.2 hours, hot tub users said 1.6 hours, electric barbecue users said 1.5 hours. 

Electric mower: 0.6 hours x 1.6 kW x 28p/kWh = £0.25 a week per house. £0.25 x 8.1 million = £2,013,998 a week. For the five warmest months of the year, this adds up to £2,013,998 x 20 weeks = £40,279,960.

Garden electric lights: 2.3 hours x 0.125 kW x 28p/kWh = £0.08 per house. £0.08 x 3.7 million = £298,328 a week

Plug-in water feature: 2.2 hours x 0.044 kW x 28p/kWh = £0.03 per house. £0.03 x 2 million = £53,637 a week

Electric barbecue: 1.5 hours x 2.2 kW x 28p/kWh = £0.95 per house. £0.95 x 1.1 million  = £1,065,117 a week..

2. Oven: 1.5 hours x 0.63 x 28p/kWh = 26p. 

Charcoal BBQ: 1 kg meat needs 1 kg charcoal. 4 kg charcoal = £5. 5/4 = £1.25 for 1.5 hours of cooking. 

Gas BBQ. Costs in the region of 70p to use each time. 

Survey data suggests 57% of households use charcoal, 33% use gas, and 5% use electric. Therefore, 57% of households equates to 12.5 million charcoal users. 33% is 7.3 million gas barbecue users.12.5 million charcoal users x £1.25 a week x 20 weeks = £312.5 million cost of charcoal BBQs for summer. 7.3 million gas users x £0.70 x 20 weeks = £102.2 million cost of gas BBQs for summer. For electric BBQs, £1,065,117 x 20 weeks = £21.3 million for the five warmest months. Total cost = £312.5 million + £102.2 million + £21.3 million = £436 million cost of summer BBQs for UK..

3. WhatSpa?: How much does it cost to run a hot tub?

4. Patio heater: 1 hour x 2.4 kW x 28p/kWh = 67p an hour. 

About Uswitch - saving you money for 20 years

Uswitch is the UK’s top comparison website for home services switching. We’ve saved consumers £2.5 billion off their energy bills since we launched in September 2000, and also help people find a better deal on their broadband, mobile and TV.

Uswitch is part of RVU, a global group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

Prisca Simango
Phone: 07825 334 457
Email: prisca.simango@rvu.co.uk
Twitter: @UswitchPR

About Uswitch - saving you money for 20 years

Uswitch is the UK’s top comparison website for home services switching. We’ve saved consumers £2.5 billion off their energy bills since we launched in September 2000, and also help people find a better deal on their broadband, mobile and TV.

Uswitch is part of RVU, a global group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.