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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Britons 'burn 5bn to keep cool'
Electric fan
Fans became a key fixture in UK homes this summer
Britons forked out 5bn on trying to stay cool during the recent summer heatwave, a survey has suggested.

One in four consumers snapped up fans, while two in three took more showers, a poll of 2,000 people by Npower found.

Others splashed out on air-conditioning units, ice cream makers, bags of ice or even hot tubs to take a dip outside.

According to the report, almost 300m was spent on new fans, while powering the electrical goods purchased pushed up household bills.

In July, 82,000 electric fans were sold in one week by supermarket group Tesco alone, three times the amount it sold a year earlier.

Power companies also reported a massive surge in demand as people plugged in their new fans and air conditioning units.

Rising costs

But more demand for power means higher bills, Npower warned.

Fans - 26%
Bags of ice - 20%
Juicers 6%
Mini fridges - 6%
Air conditioning units - 4%
US-style fridge-freezers - 3%
Ice cream machines - 1%
Hot tubs - 1%
Source: Npower survey

Citing a B&Q study, the energy group said powering the average pedestal fan for five hours a day during the three months of summer would add 70 to the average household bill.

A further 10% of families also splashed out on mini fridges and US-style fridge-freezers, the survey found. Running both together would add an extra 33 to the average household bill during the summer.

In addition, water consumption was driven higher as 51% of Britons said they washed their clothes more often during the period.

"It's easier to remember to use energy-saving measures in the winter, when we all want to stay warm, but this seems to go out of the window as soon as the mercury rises," said Npower's Zoe Coombs.

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