Myth or money saver: which of these tips will reduce your energy bills?
Should you keep your heating on all day, paint your radiators black and leave the oven door ajar? We reveal the true energy-savers
As temperatures drop, your energy bill starts to rise. Tips on efficient heating are bound to emerge – but not all are practical or true.
Myth or money-saver? It’s cheaper to leave your heating on low all day
A common debate is whether it is more cost efficient to keep the heating on low all day, rather than put it on as and when you need it. The Energy Saving Trust, Centre for Sustainable Energy and Energy UK agree it’s a waste to keep the heating on when you’re out, even if it is on a low setting.
For maximum efficiency, set a timer to make sure your house is warm when you need it.
Energy UK suggest timing it for half an hour before you get up and when you come home. MYTH
Myth or money-saver? It helps to paint radiators black
Science says that dark, matt objects are good at both absorbing heat, and emitting it too, which has led people to believe that black radiators could be more efficient. But it turns out this is not necessarily true. Richard Kay, from the Energy Saving Trust says even if a black radiator did give out slightly more heat, it means the boiler will use more gas so the efficiency remains the same.
Plus, because central heating radiators heat the room mainly through convection, not radiation, performance is not affected by the radiators colour.
He added: “Provided your radiator is able to keep the room warm enough during the cold weather, then there is no benefit to be had from making any changes to it.” MYTH
Myth or money-saver? Electricity costs less at night
People who have an Economy 7 tariff pay different rates during the day and at night. Generally, it’s cheaper between 11pm and 1am until 6am to 8am, although it differs depending on provider. While it sounds like a handy way to shave money of the electric bill, energy companies advise it is only suitable for certain people – those who have an electric hot water tank or electric storage heater, and who use 40pc of their electricity at night time, otherwise there isn’t much of a saving to be made.
The tariff isn’t as popular as it used to be, however OfGem say 4.5m people are still on domestic “Time of Use” tariffs and believe most of them are using Economy 7. MONEY-SAVER (FOR SOME)
Myth or money-saver? Plug your keyholes
Holes and gaps around the home do cause a loss of heat. It’s easy to fix and could lead to savings of £25 to £50 a year. Pay particular attention to doors (including letter boxes and keyholes), windows, chimneys and floorboards. A chimney insulator, like Chimney Sheep can cost from £16 and claims to save the average person at least £64 a year. Joseph Beeby, DIY Guru at Handy.com suggests using a candle to detect where the draughts lie around door and window frames. You’ll be able to see where the cold air is coming in when the flame flickers. It is still important to keep your house ventilated, so avoid blocking vents. MONEY-SAVER
Myth or money-saver? Open the oven open after cooking
Keep internal doors closed in the house to stop cold air travelling through and warm air escaping from the rooms you use. Open oven doors when you’re finished cooking to utilise the heat and keep the kitchen warm. MONEY-SAVER
Myth or money-saver? Move furniture to the middle of the room
Pushing furniture away from wall radiators will give them a chance to warm more than the back of your armchair – it will allow hot air to circulate and warm the room more efficiently. The Green Living Centre also suggests putting a shelf slightly above the radiator to ensure as much heat can be deflected into the room as possible. Drying clothes on the radiators can prevent heat from being released. MONEY-SAVER
Myth or money-saver? Tin foil and bubble wrap can conserve heat
Good quality kitchen foil placed behind the radiator will reflect heat back into the room, instead of it being sucked into the wall. It probably won’t be as effective as special radiator reflector foil, which you can buy for under £10, but it will do the job in the short term. If you already have cavity insulated walls, the tin foil will not make much difference.
Believe it or not, bubble wrap is also a great insulator for the home. Stick in on windows to keep out the cold. MONEY-SAVER
And finally for those who really want to cut costs: