Cost of living crisis drives 467% spike in people searching for 'how to reduce energy bills’ online
- Analysis of online search data reveals a 467%1 spike for ‘how to reduce your energy bills’ in the past six months
- People are at risk of falling for online energy saving myths such as turning off the fridge at night2 or painting radiators black3
- EDF is encouraging Brits to seek expert guidance before implementing measures in their own home to ensure they are worth the time and money
- Almost two thirds (62%) of those who have installed home energy efficiency measures say they have seen a reduction to their energy bills as a result
- EDF’s free Energy Hub shows customers where they’re using the most energy, giving personalised insight into how to control energy costs
With inflation hitting record levels at 9.4 percent4 and a third of people worried about paying their energy bills this winter, new research reveals that online searches for ‘how to reduce your energy bills’ have risen by 467% in the past six months5.
The analysis of online data conducted by EDF reveals that searches for ‘how to reduce your energy bills' have increased by 467% – as over a third (34%) of Brits say they turn to search engines and social media (22%) for advice6.
Some of the most popular searches over the past six months include:
- ‘reflective panels behind radiators’ - up by 3,233%
- ‘the best time to use a washing machine’ - up by 1,750%
- ‘turning the fridge off overnight’ - up by 360%
- ‘black radiator paint’ - up by 83%
Additional searches include ‘putting a sponge in the letterbox’, ‘the best time to use hot water’, ‘putting clingfilm on windows’ and ‘keeping the curtains closed to conserve heat’.
However, over two fifths (42%) feel there is a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to energy usage, leading many to follow some of the online myths that do not work. For example, over a quarter (26%) of homeowners and renters think that turning off their boiler at night will reduce energy bills, along with turning off their fridge/freezer at night (21%) and painting their radiator black (12%).
These are energy saving myths. Turning boilers off is not advisable or an effective way to save energy. Instead, thermostats and timers should be used effectively to regulate their operation7.
Fridges and freezers are designed to be kept on all the time and energy will not be saved by turning them off for short periods because more energy will be used to cool them down again when turned back on. There are also important safety issues that can arise if food partially defrosts before it's prepared for eating8.
For radiators, it’s the type of paint rather than the colour that is key. Specially formulated radiator paint must be used to get any heat saving benefit9.
Experts also advise10 that shorter showers, limiting tumble dryer use, switching off appliances left on standby, draught-proofing gaps and not overfilling the kettle are amongst the most effective measures people can take to save energy over the course of a year.
However, on average, British households leave a quarter (26%) of appliances on standby rather than switching them off, and 14% don’t think that taking shorter showers will improve energy efficiency6. Yet, EDF has found that smart meter customers who access its Energy Hub insights (based on their meter data) can actively reduce their bills. It is calling on more customers to install smart meters and benefit from these insights in their homes11.
Energy Saving Measure
Potential Annual Saving12
Taking a four minute shower
Avoiding the use of a tumble dryer
Switching off appliances that are normally left on standby
Not overfilling a kettle
Insulating a hot water cylinder
Turning off the lights
Swapping one bath a week for a shower
Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF commented:
“Despite these online searches being amongst some of the most popular, when it comes to consumer advice on reducing their energy bills, not all make a positive difference and some can actually be dangerous. At EDF, we’re committed to supporting our customers through the cost of living crisis and we’re here to help them identify which measures they can put in place in their own homes, so that they can see a difference to their bills.”
Over half (55%) of homeowners and renters say that rising energy bills have made them think more about ways to make their home more energy efficient. A practical step like improving insulation could save the average semi-detached homeowner up to £930 a year if they upgraded their wall and roof insulation13.
The EDF research revealed that almost two thirds (62%) of those who have installed home energy efficiency measures say they have seen a reduction to their energy bills as a direct result. However, just 15% of people have installed a smart thermostat to make their homes more energy efficient. EDF has found that customers using insights from its Energy Hub app online, which gives customers kwh comparisons with their annual energy use alongside tips on how to reduce energy use throughout the home, can actively reduce their bills so it is encouraging customers to sign up.
“Installing a smart meter in the home can be a great way to be more mindful of energy usage. Actions like leaving appliances on standby can have more of an impact than we might think. Our free Energy Hub shows customer’s where they’re using most energy, putting them in control. Customers can not only cut their use, but their costs, which shows it’s really worthwhile!”
Getting a smart meter installed is simple, with no upfront extra cost for the meter or for the in-home display it comes with. Readings will be taken automatically and customers can choose for these to be sent every 30 minutes, every day or every month. EDF will then use smart meter data to give customers a personalised view of their energy use in the Energy Hub, with tips on how to save money.
Notes to Editors:
1 Google searches of respective search terms in June ’22 compared to July ’21
2 This is Money: Can I cut my energy bills by turning off my fridge freezer at night or will the food spoil?
3 Daily Express: DIY: Expert shares warning over painting radiators despite new trend - ‘emit less heat’
4 Consumer price inflation, UK: June 2022
5 Google searches of respective search terms in June ’22 compared to July ’21
6 Research conducted by OnePoll on the 5th August 2022, of 2,000 homeowners and renters at least partly responsible for paying the electric bill
7 iHeat.co.uk: Should You Turn Your Boiler On & Off?
8 This is Money: Can I cut my energy bills by turning off my fridge freezer at night or will the food spoil?
9 Daily Express: DIY: Expert shares warning over painting radiators despite new trend - ‘emit less heat’
10 Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy
11 Energy Hub is accessible via MyAccount and the EDF mobile app. It's available to residential customers who have; a gas and electricity smart meter and are on a single rate EDF tariff or an electricity smart meter on a single rate EDF tariff. Multi-rate smart meters are currently not supported in Energy Hub. To see your energy use within Energy Hub, your smart meter must be commissioned and maintain connectivity with us.
12 Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy
13 Cavity-wall insulation could reduce your energy bills by up to £285 per year (for a semi-detached house). Source: Reducing home heat loss: Cavity wall insulation
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