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Use electric or steam iron effectively for ironing clothes

By on April 22, 2016

We all like to wear nice ironed cloths without creases, and doing the same has become a social norm. Although it is a mundane activity to iron cloths, but many people prefer to do it at home. Any heating or cooling appliance uses significant amount of electricity and an electric iron is no different. A typical electric iron is rated at about 1000-2000 watts, which is more than most appliances in a household. But does it really take 1 – 2 units (kwh) for 1 hour of use? We at Bijli Bachao had this question and we decided to do a test.

How much electricity does an iron use?

An electric iron, just like any other heating or cooling appliance has a thermostat and the electricity consumption depends on the temperature one sets it at and the temperature of the cloths being ironed. While doing a test on an electric iron (non-steam iron), we kept the iron at a setting that was not too hot but still good for ironing the cloths. The cloths were decently dry and were taken off from a cloth hanger. The observation was that the electric heating component of the iron was switched on only 30% of the time. Which means the iron that was rated at 1200 watts used 0.4 units of electricity in 1 hour ((1200/1000)x1x(30/100)=0.4). Which proved that although an iron is rated high, but if used properly it may not consume a lot of electricity. To understand how much these units will cost you, check our calculator: Online Electricity Bill Calculator – For all states in India.

Will steam iron use less or more electricity?

A steam iron additionally has water filled in it that is used for steam generation while ironing cloths. Because electricity is used to convert water to steam, additional electricity will be used for the same. Thus electricity consumption will increase if a steam iron is used. If you are wondering how much, then we can try doing a calculation (based on information from our article on Choose the right sized water heater/geyser for electricity saving):

Ideal Units for heating = Volume of Water (in lts) x Temperature Difference x 0.0012

Although most electric irons have temperature setting between 110 and 200 degree centigrade. Steam will be produced at 100 degree centigrade. Thus if 500 ml of water is used then the units consumed for producing steam will be (assuming water temperature is 25 degrees at room temperature):

Units = 0.5 x (100-25) x 0.0012 = 0.045 units

So depending on the volume of water in the steam iron it can use some more units of electricity.

Tips to buy and use electric iron efficiently and effectively.

  1. Select electric irons with automatic temperature cutoff. Most modern electric irons have this feature, so if you have old irons you may think of replacing them.
  2. Some modern electric irons have energy saving control that switches off iron if it is not used for 10-15 minutes. This is also good from safety perspective.
  3. Minimize the use of ironing by:
    a.Spinning less if using washing machine.
    b.Hanging the cloths to dry and use hangers for the same, as the cloths are less crumpled when dried on hangers.
  4. Use appropriate position for thermostat while ironing. Extreme high temperatures are not good for cloths as well as your electricity bills.
  5. Do not iron wet cloths or put water on cloths before ironing.
  6. Turn off iron when you have only one or two cloths left for ironing.






About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. .