It seems everyone has an amazing tip to save energy but which ones actually work. We look into the common Myths and endeavor to uncover which are true and which are false.
Leaving the hot water heater on all the time is better than turning it on and off.
The statement is false but with one main caveat, your water tank must have a good insulating jacket which will ensure that once the water has been initially heated by your boiler or immersion heater that it remains hot all day without the need to constantly reheat.
Usually the best option is to set the timer to heat your water a few hours before you need it for your morning shower or evening soak. Modern washing machines, dishwashers and electric showers take cold water and heat it themselves so you don’t need a supply of hot water waiting for them in the tank.
If you’re on an off-peak rate for your electricity then make sure your tank heats overnight when you’re paying less for your electricity bills..
It is cheaper to leave the heating on all day at a constant temperature, rather than turning it on and off.
This is another misconception. Why pay for heating that you’re not using?
If there is nobody in the house during the day then that heat is being wasted and it is costing you money. Similarly if you’re tucked under a duvet at night, you don’t need the whole house to be warm. Instead, set the thermostat to put the heating on an hour before you’re due to get up so it’s not a complete shock to your body when you have to get up.
Even if you turn your thermostat down a bit, your boiler will keep firing up and using energy (and cost you money) at times when you won’t feel the benefit.
Turning the thermostat up will heat the house up faster.
We’ve all done it, you get home to a cold house and turn the thermostat up to full blast in the hope it’ll heat the house faster! In the same way that repeatedly pushing the button for an elevator doesn’t make it arrive any faster, turning the thermostat to maximum has no effect on the speed at which the house warms up!
Your boiler works at the same constant speed regardless of whether you set your thermostat to 20C or 30C. In fact, you’re likely to find that later in the evening you’ll be sweating where you’ve forgotten to turn it back down again, plus you’ll be wasting a lot of money. Set the thermostat to a sensible room temperature, between 18-21C, and then leave it alone.
I’ll save money if I turn the radiators down low.
Finally one that is actually true! This does however, only work if you also turn your thermostat down.
For example, if you turn your radiators down low but still have the thermostat set to 21C, your boiler will keep running until the room temperature reaches 21C – and this will take a long time with the radiators on low. So if you want to save money and are comfortable with your house a little cooler, make sure you turn down the thermostat, not just the radiators.
The main point of thermostatic radiator valves (the ones with numbers on) is so that individual rooms in your house can be different temperatures. A word of warning though, turning radiators in certain rooms completely can lead to problems with damp and mould so it is advised to keep them on low, even in rooms that are barely used.
Staying in one room with an electric heater or a gas fire is the cheapest option.
This may seem like a good option if you live alone but this is often untrue because bottled gas and electricity are far more expensive per unit than mains gas.
Electric fan heaters and portable gas fires guzzle energy so it is likely to be cheaper to have the whole central heating system on a low temperature.
Night storage heaters are expensive to run and/or don’t work.
TRUE & FALSE
Generally they are considered to be expensive, but if you understand how to use the controls and have an electricity tariff that has great discounts during off-peak hours then they can actually be very cost effective.
It takes more electricity and therefore costs more to keep turning lights off and on again than to leave them on.
Not true, false, completely incorrect. Simply put, if it’s on, it’s using electricity, and if it’s off, it isn’t. Modern low-energy light bulbs do use a small amount of extra energy when you first turn them on, as do florescent strip lights but with both of these, if you are leaving a room for more than a couple of minutes then turning the light off will definitely save you money.
Dishwashers use a lot of energy.
To a certain extent it depends on the size of load in the dishwasher. Running a full cycle with a single plate in there wouldn’t be cost effective in comparison to hand washing that same plate.
However, if you do a full load and select a medium temperature on your dishwasher, it can use less energy than doing the washing up by hand. You’d need quite a lot of hot water to hand wash the same number of plates which in comparison makes the dishwasher the better option, especially when set to an eco cycle with lower temperatures.
My house will get damp if I get cavity wall insulation as the cavity is there to let the walls breathe.
Cavity wall insulation can in fact help prevent damp as the walls are not as cold. There are a few exceptions however as coastal houses, houses that face driving rain or have external wall cracks can sometimes benefit more by just having the cavity but generally the insulation is the best option.
My house walls don’t have cavities so I can’t insulate them.
There are actually numerous options available for insulating your house without the need for a wall cavity. Multiple products exist for insulation the external or internal walls of your house and there are even grants available for houses that meet a certain criteria.
Loft and wall insulation is better than double glazing
The average heat lost from a house is about 35% through the walls, about 25% through the roof, and only about 10% through the windows so insulating the walls and loft should be the priority and will be cheaper than the cost of double glazing.
That being said, if your budget allows, then having all of these done will have a huge impact on the warmth of your house and lowering your energy bills.
My clothes won’t get clean at 30˚C
Many washing powders, gels and liquids are now specifically designed to still clean clothes at lower temperatures. If you have particularly stubborn stains then a pre-treatment stain remover should be applied before washing. The lower temperatures can save you a significant amount of money over the course of a year.