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Expert debunks the nation’s top energy-saving myths

How will you look to save money when the price cap takes effect?

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By Matt Maynard · 27th September 2021

With the energy price cap set to increase to £1,277 from this Friday 1st October and the current crisis over soaring wholesale energy prices consumers are now looking to save money anyway they can. 

A quick Google search will reveal a seemingly huge variety of energy-saving methods you can implement around the home to help get cheaper bills, but how many of these truly work?

Our experts here at Energy Helpline have questioned the British public about what energy-saving measures they think work in order to debunk some of the prevalent myths around the topic. 

The results were mixed with around 22% rightly suggesting to put duct tape or cling film around the windows and 6% incorrectly believing that painting your radiators black helps with retaining heat. 

When asked which of these tips they’ve put into action, almost one in five (17%) respondents said that they’ve laid carpets in every room to help conserve heat and one in eight said that they’ve placed reflective panels behind radiators to keep their homes as warm as possible. 

Tashema Jackson, consumer champion here at Energy Helpline, has examined some of the UK’s common energy-saving tips and tricks to help distinguish fact from fiction.

Should I put reflective panels behind my radiator?

Reflective panels do bounce heat back into a room but you’ll only really feel the benefit if they’re on an external wall as you’re preventing the heat from escaping outside. If you do decide to purchase reflective panels make sure you only use a purpose built product from a DIY shop.

Will installing a smart meter save energy or reduce costs?

Simply installing a smart meter won’t do anything to help reduce your energy costs. Using its in-home display to help see where you need to cut down your usage however can. 

Should I turn off the hot water when I’m not using it?

Turning your hot water on and off won’t really make a difference in the price of your bills. What should do instead is make sure that you’ve got a good insulating jacket on your boiler so you don’t have to reheat the water as often.

Is it cheaper to wash my clothes at night? 

This is true if you’ve got an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff because your energy is cheaper at night. For everybody else however, it won’t make any difference.  

Will I save energy by installing carpets in every room? 

Yes. Carpets help with insulating your home so you use less energy to heat it. It’s best to stick with just carpeting the rooms you spend the most time in, nobody wants to clean food out of the kitchen carpet after cooking! 

Should I leave the heat on low all day instead of on high for a short time?

A common misconception, you should only have the heating on when you’re there to enjoy the benefit. Changing your thermostat settings so that the heating turns itself on just before your alarm will prevent you from waking up to a chilly house. 

Can wedging a sponge in the letterbox or putting cling film around the windows help? 

It might sound strange, but draught-proofing your home does help keep the cold air out!

Should I paint my radiators black? 

There’s no evidence to suggest that painting your radiator black will conserve heat any better than a regular one.  Keep your radiators unobstructed by furniture to prevent them from absorbing the heat 

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