Martin Lewis issues warning to households using air fryers and microwaves instead of ovens


MARTIN Lewis has issued a warning to households using air fryers and microwaves instead of ovens.

The founder of has warned that it’s not always cheaper to use the cooking gadgets over a conventional oven.

Martin Lewis is urging households to check the cost of running common appliances

The advice comes as many households have invested in air fryers in the hope they’d cut their energy bills during the cost of living crisis.

At the moment average energy bills are capped at £2,500, but that’s just the unit charge.

How much you pay can be higher depending on usage, so it does pay to keep it as low as possible.

Many will now be wondering how much it costs to run common household appliances under the new cap.

Martin Lewis has revealed a simple way to calculate the running cost of common household appliances such as ovens and microwaves and explained when they might not always be the cheapest option to use.

The money-saving expert shared the tip on his BBC Radio 5 podcast, explaining how billpayers can crunch the numbers themselves.

Martin said you first need to find the wattage of your appliance – this is how much energy it needs to run.

You then need to keep in mind that 1,000 watts is worth a kilowatt (kW).

You pay roughly 34p per kW per hour, which is abbreviated as kWh.

Martin gave an example on his podcast.

He said: “General equation is, find the wattage of an item, then work out how many kilowatts or what fraction of a kilowatt it’s using, then multiply that by 34p per hour of use.”

Martin added that with an oven, the equation is slightly different because they often go up to around 2,000W.

 “The problem with the equation for heating equipment is an oven is going to be about 2,000W,” he said.

“A microwave I believe, from memory, a best guess explanation, a microwave gives you consistent heat whereas an oven is warming up to full temperature and then topping it up so it isn’t running at full power the whole time.

“But if you’re doing a jacket potato in the microwave for ten minutes it’s going to be far cheaper than doing a single jacket potato in an oven and keeping it on for an hour and a half.

“However if you were doing a full roast dinner and you were cooking many of them, that is where it’s probably cheaper than putting five or six jacket potatoes in a microwave.

“This is because each additional object you put in a microwave, you need to keep it on longer because a microwave just heats the individual object.”

If you have a 1,000W microwave and you put it on for ten minutes, Martin worked out that it will cost around it’s 6p to have it running.

He said that the same equation can be applied to work out the cost of running air fryers and halogen ovens.

It’s important to note that Martin said the sum was a “rule of thumb” to give people a rough idea of running costs.

That means it won’t provide exact running costs, more of an indication.

But it’s still a good calculation to use to get an idea of cost – and how you should be regulating your usage.

How else you can monitor your energy usage?

If you’re not great with numbers or don’t want to have to do the maths yourself, there are other ways of seeing how much your appliances cost to run.

Investing in a smart plug will do the job – they cost around £12 – and a screen on the plug shows how much power the item is using.

Each plug is different but it measures the energy use of the individual appliance you’ve plugged in.

With some, you can enter the price you pay for energy and then the gadget works out the cost for you.

The cost per unit you pay depends on the tariff you’re on but you can usually find this information on your latest energy bill or online account.

Smart meters can also help you track the cost of energy.

These are different to the energy use plugs as they show how much gas or electric you are using in real-time for the whole home.

Most energy suppliers are giving these out for free, but some have been beset by tech issues.

You can also get smart plugs which let you control some appliances remotely, like lamps.

One homeowner installed smart thermostats on his radiator to control the heating in each room, helping him save hundreds of pound on his bill.

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