If you’ve been looking to save a little bit of money on your energy bills, then you might have resorted to a whole range of strategies. Some of the better-known are actually very effective: if you close your curtains at night-time, or bleed your radiators regularly, or replace an aging boiler with something more modern, then you really will save money on your energy bills.
But there are other practices which aren’t quite so effective. In fact, some of the more pernicious myths can actually do more harm than good. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Turning up the heating heats the home faster
This belief is based on a misunderstanding. Your heating works to raise the temperature, until the thermostat tells it to stop (because the temperature has reached the level you’ve set). The rate at which the temperature goes up doesn’t increase when there’s a higher target to aim for – it’ll just work for longer, thereby costing you more energy, and creating heat you don’t actually need.
If you’ve got a thermostatic shower, you can observe this principle in action. Crank the valve before the temperature has been reached, and the water doesn’t get hot right away – there’s a delay before you’re scalded. A little bit of patience goes a long way – and the same is true of your heating.
Leave the heating on low all the time
If you leave your heating on all the time, then you’re using energy that you don’t need. At night-time, a cold house will help you to sleep better. When you’re out of the house in the day, similarly, you don’t need your house to be kept warm.
This myth is driven by another misunderstanding – that’s it’s easy to get a house to temperature if it’s already warm. That’s true – but you can’t create energy from nothing, and so you’re going to have to pay to make this happen.
The Combi boiler is always better
For many households in the UK, a combination boiler is a sensible choice. But there’s a reason that other kinds of boilers are still being made and sold: they make sense in many cases. A larger house with many occupants might benefit from having a separate, insulated tank. Be sure to research your options and see what’s right for your circumstances.
Electricity is always cheaper at night
In certain parts of the UK, electricity is cheaper at night-time, when the demand on the grid is lower. But if you’re paying a single-unit rate for electricity, then there are no savings to be made. Check your tariff and see what can be done – if you’re up late at night, then it might make sense to make the switch to an Economy 7 tariff.