With the internet awash with so-called energy-saving tips and tricks to save some cash, it’s important to separate fact from fiction, especially at a time of record-high costs. As the UK prepares for another spell of cold weather, energy experts have revealed four common energy-saving myths that don’t actually work – and one that could cost a household more.
The energy price guarantee is expected to rise from £2,500 a year for an average household to £3,000 from April, which means navigating the difference between myths and real tips will mean a lot more to households hit by rocketing prices.
The more energy homes use, the more they will be charged, making energy reduction a priority for many. Here are four common myths to avoid.
Increasing thermostat for short periods of time
Following a similar logic to the previous energy-saving myth, many believe that turning up the thermostat to its very limit for a short period of time will conserve energy. The intention is to heat the room up quickly and avoid leaving the heating on for longer time periods.
ElectricalDirect experts explained: “The purpose of a thermostat is to keep a room at a steady desired temperature; therefore, it does not matter how much quicker the room heats up, it will take the same amount of time to level out back to the desired pre-determined temperature, while still using the same amount of energy.”
In fact, Jess Steele, heating technology expert at BestHeating said this myth could actually end up adding more to bills.
Ms Steele said: “It doesn’t help to turn the thermostat up high to try and heat a room quicker as this only makes the room warmer at the same speed. By the time you turn it off, this will only cost money without reward as it will not make a house feel warmer at all and raise bills.”
It is recommended to only use central heating at home, and those who already have a smart heating system or are looking into investing in one can set their central heating to turn on for the most common periods the house needs to be warm.
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Tin foil behind radiators
It is a trick that has been passed around for years – the idea that placing tin foil behind a radiator will make it more effective by not letting heat escape needlessly into cavity walls.
However, experts at ElectricalDirect said: “If your cavity walls are already adequately insulated, putting tin foil behind your radiators will have little to no effect on your energy bills, as the cavity wall insulation is already there to keep heat in.”
They said that even if tin foil was placed behind radiators installed on uninsulated cavity walls, the radiator will still need to be powered for the same period of time for it to have the desired effect.
So, they continued: “Any benefit is still minuscule in these circumstances.”
Turning water heaters off when not in use
In theory, it would make sense if an appliance is turned off, then it cannot use any energy.
However, ElectricalDirect experts noted: “Turning your boilers and water heaters on and off will result in the tank needing to be reheated over and over again whenever you need hot water.”
Instead, the experts suggested that a more “efficient” way to ensure that hot water is always there when needed is to invest in a high-quality insulating jacket for the water heater. This enables households to heat up their tank to the desired temperature and keep it there for most – or possibly all – of the day.
Painting radiators black
This myth is again based on half-truths – it is true that black and dark-coloured materials and objects absorb heat faster than white or lighter ones. However, this is only the case with heat that is generated through light.
ElectricalDirect experts added: “So even though painting your radiators black might bring a certain aesthetic flair to your décor, it will do absolutely nothing to reduce your energy bills.”
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