A growing number of gadgets, such as printers that use ink cartridges, are contributing to rising costs for home energy, according to new research,

The study, by the Energy Saving Trust, found the average household now owns three-and-a-half-times as many electrical items as it did in 1990, which has led to rising costs and increased carbon output.

And it may be that computing devices are a key part of this, as three-quarters of households now own such a machine, compared with just 13 per cent in 1985.

The organisation noted printers that are left on 24/7 could also be having a significant impact on a home electricity bills.

Therefore, individuals may find that by ensuring their device is switched off at the wall when it is not in use, they can make large savings.

Author of the report Dr Paula Owen commented: "Our love affair with domestic gadgets and gizmos has to change. Just because you have bought an efficient appliance, doesn't mean you can use it carelessly and never switch it off."

The Trust recommends people look for low-energy devices when buying gadgets, as many printers now come with Energy Star certification to indicate they have low power consumption.