Confused about energy saving? We take a look at some of the top energy myths to find out which ones actually do help you save energy and money.
MYTH 1 – Are electric room heaters cheaper than heating the whole house?
NO – It’s often thought that it is cheaper to heat just one room that is in use rather than the whole house. In fact, electric heaters are one of the most expensive forms of heating. Generally an energy efficient gas central heating system with thermostatic radiator valves, thermostat and timer will keep your heating costs down in the long run.
MYTH 2 – Is it cheaper to run appliances at night?
NO – But you can benefit from a cheaper unit rate at night if you are on an Economy 7 tariff; however, be aware that during the day, a higher rate than average is usually charged. If you are on another tariff, then there will be little or no price difference by running your appliances at night.
MYTH 3 – Do chargers use electricity when they’re plugged in but not connected to a device?
YES – Many devices draw power when plugged in and not in use – this is sometimes known as vampire power. You can usually tell if the charger is using energy by how warm it gets!
This is especially true with devices which go into standby mode when turned off: televisions, computer monitor, chargers and anything that has a lit display, even when switched off, such as your oven or microwave.
MYTH 4 – Does painting radiators black save energy?
NO – Black is the most efficient colour at absorbing and giving off heat. Despite this, painting your radiators black won’t help much.
MYTH 5 – Does putting reflective panels behind radiators save energy?
YES – Reflective panels behind radiators can help cut energy usage by reflecting heat from the radiator back into the room, so that it doesn’t escape through external walls.
MYTH 6 – Is it cheaper to leave appliances and lights on than turning them off and back on again?
NO – Leaving a light on for more than a brief period of time uses more energy than turning it off and back on again when you need it. It used to be true that turning an appliance or light off shortened its potential lifespan, but technology has evolved to allow us to do so without harm.
MYTH 7 – Does sleep mode on my computer use energy?
YES – Sleep modes still use a significant amount of energy as the computer and monitor are using power to keep themselves in a suspended mode, ready to wake up as soon as you want to use them.
MYTH 8 – Are dishwashers more expensive to run?
NO – Unlike tumble-dryers, dishwashers can be energy-efficient as long as you are using them properly. To maximise energy efficiency, make sure your dishwasher is always fully-loaded and stacked properly, ensuring that every pan and plate surface is accessible to the water jets. Choose a dishwasher with an energy saving setting, or turn the temperature down a few degrees.
MYTH 9 – Will putting clingfilm on my windows keep heat in?
YES – Putting clingfilm on your window can trap a small layer of air which helps stop heat escaping. According to the Energy Saving Trust you can (in principle) use any material as long as it’s transparent and airtight.
MYTH 10 – Will I save money by keeping the heating on low all day?
Energy providers say you’ll save energy (and money) by only having the heating on when it’s required and many suggest using a timer. Some argue that it’s best to keep your heating on at a low temperature all day and to turn the radiator valves to maximum – this one is a grey area.
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Reducing the amount of energy you use is a great way to keep bills down, another is to make sure you are on the best possible tariff and are paying as little as possible for what you do use.
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