Five money-saving energy myths busted

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Wherever you live in the UK, you are likely to have been affected by the recent cold spell. 

But are you setting your thermostat to a higher temperature than normal or leaving the heating on a low setting all day?

If you’re guilty of either of these, you could actually be wasting money and not making much of a difference to the temperature.

There are a lot of myths about energy bills and the best ways to keep a home warm. 

We’ve listed five of the most common and why they are not true. If you know of any others, please tell us in the comments box below.

When it’s really cold and you’re trying to warm up your home, it can be tempting to turn your thermostat up to the highest setting to heat your home quickly.

But Caitlin Bent, home energy expert at the Energy Saving Trust, says this won’t make a difference and could end up costing you money.

‘Turning up your thermostat won’t heat your home any faster, it’ll heat at the same rate, but unless you remember to turn it down again will keep heating to a higher temperature, wasting energy.’

Instead the best way to warm your home up, and keep it warmer for longer, is to make sure it is properly insulated, which could cut your bills down by around £300.

You may even be able to get your loft or walls insulated for free, which usually costs around £600, as some of the Big Six energy firms offer this. 

To find out if you’re eligible contact your supplier and ask it, and even if it doesn’t you can try the other Big Six suppliers as some offer insulation even to households that aren’t its customers.

If you leave your heating on a low setting all day, it means your home will remain at a constant temperature.

Some people believe this is cheaper than having the heating on for timed periods as the boiler uses less energy remaining on a low heat.

This isn’t true and if you’re not at home the whole time you’ll be wasting money heating an empty home. 

Ms Bent says: ‘In reality, it’s best to use a timer or programmer to make sure your home is only heated when you’re there, otherwise you’ll just be wasting energy by heating an empty house.’

If you have central heating, your home will stay warmer for longer if you keep internal doors closed.

This is because hot air rises from a radiator then circles the room as it cools, and is then heated again creating a convection current. If the doors are open this doesn’t work as well and you will lose some of the heat.

Therefore it’s better to close the internal doors to keep the heat in the rooms that you are in rather than to allow the heat to circulate in rooms which are not in use.  

If you want to turn off the heating in a specific room you can do this via the individual radiator. 

The cheapest way to heat your home is usually through a standard central heating system with a boiler and radiators.

These systems use hot water which circulates through your pipes and connects to the radiators in the home.

Electric heaters tend to be the most expensive way of heating a home as they run on electricity rather than gas, which is more costly.

The exact cost depends on how long you use it, your energy provider and tariff and the type of heater and you can work out exactly how much you can expect to pay, by checking the Energy Use Calculator.  

It’s a common misconception that if you rent your home you can’t switch energy suppliers without your landlord’s permission.

However, it is possible to do this and you don’t need to tell your landlord as the decision lies with the person who pays the bill and by doing so you could save hundreds on your energy bills. 

The only instance in which you might need to speak to a landlord is if you are switching to a different meter, from a pre-payment meter to a standard credit meter for example.

If this will cause a structural change to the home you may need to have your landlord’s permission before it is carried out.

 

 

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