From leaving the heating on all day to relying on a screen saver to save energy – how many of these common energy saving myths have you fallen for?
Everyone likes to think they’re clued up about energy saving at home, but how many times have you heard someone claim turning lights on and off uses more energy than leaving them on? Or that you’re better off leaving your boiler on all day on a low setting? These myths cost people a pretty penny on their energy bills, and they’re bad news for the environment – wasting energy is a major contributor to climate change. There are loads of energy-saving myths doing the rounds, so let’s bust some of them.
MYTH 1: It’s cheaper to leave your heating on all day at a low temperature
It’s actually cheaper to have the heating on only when it’s needed. Keeping it churning away all day on a low setting wastes energy when it isn’t being used, and also means your home will never reach a comfortable temperature. Take some time to figure out your boiler’s programmable timer controls so you can enjoy a toasty warm house as and when you actually need to.
MYTH 2: Turning the thermostat up higher will heat the room quicker
Unfortunately, machines don’t recognise human urgency (yet), so it doesn’t matter how high you crank up the thermostat, your boiler will work at the same steady and consistent pace, and it’ll take the same amount of time to reach your desired temperature whether you set it to that or to the maximum. Turn it up too high and you risk wandering off and forgetting about it, and before you know it your house is sweltering with wasted energy.
MYTH 3: Electrical appliances don’t use electricity if they’re not being used
Modern appliances are generally designed to be as energy efficient as possible, but some electrical appliances draw energy even when they’re not being used – phone chargers are among the worst culprits. This ‘vampire power’ can cost you up to £80 a year, so switch your devices off at the wall.
MYTH 4: It’s better to leave lights on than to turn them off and on again
This is one of the oldest energy-saving myths in the book, and it’s exactly that – a myth! Believers will tell you that turning lights on and off again somehow sparks a surge of energy which makes leaving them on a preferable alternative, but the fact is there’s no significant power draw at all, so hit the switch every time you leave the room.
MYTH 5: Screensavers save energy
Ever since home computers became the norm in the 90s there has existed this idea that a jazzy screensaver is somehow saving energy. Wrong. Your screensaver is simply another program powered by the computer, and does absolutely nothing in terms of reducing your device’s energy consumption when it’s not being used. Instead, turn off the monitor when you’re away from your computer, or better still, learn the shortcut to put it into hibernation mode.
MYTH 6: Electric space heaters save money
As a general rule, electric space heaters don’t save money, and you’re probably better off turning your central heating on – and turning down the radiators in unused rooms – rather than relying on these types of appliances for warmth. However, there are some exceptions. If you have a very large house, or high ceilings, then it’s more cost effective to heat a single room than turn the heating on, particularly if the room is less than a quarter of the size of the whole house. The same applies if you have central heating radiators without radiator controls – otherwise you’re paying to keep the entire house warm, which is pointless if you’re only in one room.
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