Friday 13 May 2016

EU will cut power consumption of kettles, toasters and mobile phone chargers after the EU referendum

After downgrading our vacuum cleaners in 2013, the EU are planning to do the same to our toasters and kettles.

Concerns about regulating the power of toasters, kettles, jet washes, hairdryers and even internet routers and mobile phone chargers being seen as unnecessary interference means that new EU regulations on power usage by domestic appliances won't be implemented until after the referendum. If you're looking for a kettle that boils in less than 5 minutes then you're out of luck if we don't vote to leave next month.

In the US it is common for people to boil a kettle on their gas hob rather than use an electric kettle because it takes 5 minutes or more to boil a kettle. This is because the American 110v/15amp electricity supply will only allow you to draw 1800w for your appliance.

This isn't a case where innovation will step in to improve performance, the laws of physics won't change because the EU passes a law banning high power kettles. Putting extra elements in the kettle will make it heat the water quicker but they will use more power and the further from the bottom the element is the more energy is wasted. They could change the shape of the element to increase surface area but the larger the surface area, the more power is needed to replace the heat that's transferred to the water. Unless someone comes up with a cheap way of building a high pressure ceramic kettle inside a vacuum chamber that isn't prone to exploding it will be quicker in future to boil a kettle over a camping stove than it will be to use an electric one.

It looks like you can also kiss goodbye to your fast charging mobile phone chargers. A standard mobile phone charger draws 5 watts but a fast charger will draw up to 18w (9 volts and 2 amps). That's about the same as a 60w equivalent energy saving light bulb.

The high power kettle of the future in the EUSSR