Many households have their own energy-saving hacks to lower monthly costs, but which ones really work? With soaring gas prices expected to drive up energy bills, now is the ideal time to make simple changes — and reduce your energy consumption.
“While some of the nation’s most common energy-saving tips are effective, there are some more questionable beliefs, for example, nearly a quarter (22%) believe that putting cling film or duct tape around windows can save energy or reduce energy costs,” says consumer champion Tashema Jackson.
“Just under one in ten (9%) believe putting tin foil in the loft can help, while 6% believe that painting radiators black can help by retaining heat.”
To help debunk the most common energy-saving myths, energyhelpline.com asked Tashema to reveal which hacks work — and which are just myths we should leave in the past. Take a look at her advice below…
1. Putting reflective panels behind your radiator
Reflective panels placed behind the radiator are a popular way to conserve energy, but does it actually work? According to Tashema, it only works for external walls as they prevent heat escaping outside.
“If you live in a semi-detached or terrace house, you’ll see little improvement by putting reflective panels behind radiators on internal walls, or walls that you share with the neighbouring house,” Tashema says.
“If you do decide to install reflective panels, it’s important to use a purpose-built product that you can buy from a DIY shop. Placing materials such as plastic on a radiator can be dangerous since they run the risk of melting and burning.”
2. Painting radiators black
Black radiators are a popular choice for many homeowners, but there is no evidence to suggest that the colour affects the heat output. It might look stylish in the home, but it won’t save you any additional money.
Radiators are most effective when their heat source is not blocked by furnitures, so to get the most out of yours, avoid placing sofas or bed directly in front of them. This will absorb the heat, taking longer to warm your room.
3. Installing a smart meter
While a smart meter won’t save energy or reduce costs, it will give you real time information on your energy output — allowing you to better manage your usage and change your day-to-day behaviour. Have you got one yet?
4. Turning off hot water when not in use
“There really isn’t any saving to be had by turning your hot water on and off. It’s better to make sure that your boiler tank has a good insulating jacket so that the water doesn’t require reheating,” says Tashema.
“For those on an Economy 7 tariff where energy is cheaper at night, you can make some savings by setting your water heater to come on at night for use during the day.”
5. Washing clothes at night
Do you wash clothes at night to save money? While running your washing machine at night can be cheaper than using it in the day, this is only true is you are on a special energy tariff — such as Economy 7 or Economy 10. For most households, this doesn’t make much difference to the cost or energy used.
6. Installing carpets in every room
Carpet, in combination with thick underlay, can provide sufficient insulation for your home, resulting in less heat escaping. If you don’t have carpet, try placing a fluffy rug down to add an extra layer of warmth.
Tashema adds: “While installing carpet in every room would help your home stay warmer, it’s probably best to stick to carpeting rooms you spend a lot of time in. Most likely, bedrooms or living rooms are best since nobody wants to clean food from a carpet in the kitchen after cooking dinner.”
7. Leaving the heating on low
The idea that it’s cheaper to leave the heating on low all day is a myth. In fact, it’s best to only heat your home when you are there to feel the benefit. If you have the option to programme the central heating to come on and turn off at certain times, try setting it come on just before you wake up so it’s warm when you climb out of bed.
8. Wedging a sponge in the letterbox or cling film around the windows
“While it’s a little on the extreme side, these can actually help save energy by conserving heat, stopping it from escaping outside,” says Tashema. “The cling film acts as a protective layer and the sponge blocks gaps where heat might escape through the door.”
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