Understanding usage categories in the Bulb app

We’re testing this feature with a small group of Bulb members for now. When we release it to everyone, you'll see the breakdown in your Bulb app.

If you've got smart meters, the Bulb app can help you understand where you're using the most energy at home. 

We do this by breaking down your energy usage into different categories, like cooking and electronics. To make the total costs easier to understand, each category includes your gas and electricity usage. 

You’ll see the usage categories if your smart meter has been sending us daily or half-hourly readings for at least 6 months.

Find out more about each category and what appliances they include:

Always on

These are the appliances and gadgets that are always on in your home. Some things like Wi-Fi, landline phones or digital alarm clocks are always on because you might need to use them at any time. 

This category also includes devices in standby mode, like TVs and computers. Putting a device on standby doesn’t use as much power as keeping it on all the time, but it will still be using energy. Some items in standby mode use more energy than others. Games consoles and voice-activated virtual assistants, for example, use a lot of power in standby mode because they may be looking for software updates and input from voice commands or remote controls. 

As fridges and freezers turn on and off throughout the day, we don’t include them in this category. There’s more information about fridges and freezers in the category below.

Fridges and freezers 

This category includes standalone fridges and freezers, and combi fridge-freezers. 

Fridges and freezers cycle on and off throughout the day, so they can maintain a constant temperature. This means they may be off for up to 50% of the day. How often they cycle on and off depends on things like:

  • the outside temperature
  • how full they are, and if any of the air vents are blocked  
  • how often you open the door
  • how efficient they are 



This is all the energy used for cooking and cleaning up. It includes kitchen appliances like:

  • hobs and ovens
  • microwaves 
  • coffee machines
  • dishwashers 
  • kettles


This is all the electricity used for appliances or systems that keep your house cool, like an air conditioning unit or fan. 


This includes all the energy used to heat your home. This could be a mix of different heating systems, like radiators, heat pumps and underfloor heating.


Hot water

This includes anything used to heat your water at home, like:

  • a hot water boiler
  • heat pumps 
  • immersion heaters 

If you have a combi-boiler, which is used to heat your home and your hot water, we’ll split the costs between this category and ‘Heating’. 



Any appliances you use for washing and drying clothes and linens is included in this category. For example, washing machines and tumble dryers.



This is any electricity used for lighting the inside and outside of your house, like:

  • ceiling lights 
  • lamps
  • spotlights 
  • security lights
  • outdoor lights 


This includes the energy your home electronics use when they’re switched on and being used, rather than in standby mode, like:

  • TVs
  • game consoles
  • computers
  • radios 


Some home appliances don’t use enough energy to have their own category, like your hair dryer or vacuum cleaner. So we combine their energy usage and include it in the 'Other' category. 

If you have an electric vehicle (EV) that you charge at home, the energy you use while charging your EV will also fall into this category. 

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