Ways to save energy at home: the facts and the fiction

We're separating the facts from fiction when it comes to saving energy at home. Here's the truth about energy conservation in your house, so you can use less energy and save money.

Myth #1

Pressing the off button means it's not using electricity

Many devices such as TVs, laptops and games consoles use electricity when they are plugged in and not being used. If something is plugged in, it's still using electricity and still costing you money.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that Brits could save £1.7 billion year by switching their devices off.(1) So switch up your standby habit and turn it off at the wall, or unplug your devices completely for energy bill savings.

Myth #2

You should turn your heating off when you go away

This isn't always true. If you're going away for a while, and it's likely to be cold when you're away, it could be a good idea to have your heating set on a timer to stop the possibility of your pipes freezing over. Frozen and burst pipes can cause hundreds of pounds of damage so to avoid that, think about setting a timer or getting a smart thermostat like Heatsmart® that you can control with your smartphone.

Myth #3

Having the heating on all day uses less energy than turning it high when you get back

These are both wrong – instead you should set a timer on your thermostat so that when you get home your house is just right.

Myth #4

Using an appliance in the day is the best way to save money

The government encourages us to use energy at off-peak times to help the National Grid maintain a steady supply to everyone. Plus, running your appliances at certain times of day will only make a difference to your energy bill if you are on an Economy 7 tariff. You can also programme your appliances to come on at off-peak times, making it easy for you to save. Or if you have solar PV you can use appliances during the day to make the most of the solar energy.

Myth #5

Painting radiators black conserves heat

This actually has no effect on the heat of your radiator. Instead, you could consider installing radiator panels, which are made of foil or reflective plastic and fit behind radiators on external walls. They can reflect heat and are effective at saving fuel especially on solid un-insulated walls. Another tip is to put up shelves above your radiators, they can reflect heat back into the room too.

Myth #6

Using an electric heater heats a room faster

Electric heaters only heat part of a room. If the room is small, it'll heat up that area quite quickly, but if you have a large room or high ceilings, it won't be as effective. Plus, as soon as you turn the heater off, the heat will escape.

If you don't want to heat every room in your house then you'll need individual radiator thermostats. That way you can adjust the temperature in each room accordingly.

Myth #7

The higher you turn up the thermostat the quicker it heats

Setting your thermostat really high does not mean it heats faster. Your boiler always heats at the same rate. You might waste energy setting it too high, so it's better to try to maintain a temperature instead of over-heating.

Myth #8

Solar panels in the UK are pointless

The UK might not be the sunniest destination in Europe but it's a myth that solar panels need wall-to-wall sunshine to work. In fact, they can generate energy when it's cloudy outside. Part of the installation process is to make sure the panels are fitted on an area that will always get maximum sun. If you're interested in getting a brighter energy future for you and the rest of the UK, read our guide on solar panels.

Keen for more energy-saving tips?

Why not visit out energy efficiency section? Where you can read the latest on energy-efficient lights, appliances and heating.