Six common energy myths busted

We all love smart hacks that save us time and money. But when it comes to saving on our energy bill, do they all really all work?

To help people cut costs and avoid common misconceptions about energy saving, Toolstation has busted six common myths that could actually be upping your energy consumption, instead of saving you money.

Myth 1: Leaving appliances on standby doesn’t use electricity

Appliances that are left on standby still use electricity, and the only way to prevent this is by turning them off at the mains. Most electrical appliances can be safely turned off at the mains without interrupting their programming, including TVs, games consoles, laptops, computers and small kitchen appliances like kettles and toasters.

To make life easier, smart plugs automatically turn your devices off standby and can be controlled remotely from your mobile. Alternatively, timer plugs turn your appliances on and off depending on the schedule you set.” 

Myth 2: Leaving the heating on all day saves energy

A common myth is that leaving the heating on low all day can save more energy than just running it when you need to. Running your boiler on a timer is much more efficient and ensures that you’re getting the most out of your heating.

It’s unlikely you’ll need your radiators and hot water on constantly – even in the height of winter. If it works with your daily routine, it may be worth setting a timer on your boiler so that it’s only firing up when you’re there to benefit from it. For example, if you know you shower morning and night, it could be worth making sure water is only heated for these times.

Likewise, if you know you’re out of the house for work, it’s worth making sure the heating is just on when you’re up and getting ready in the morning and when you return from work.

Myth 3: Dishwashers are less efficient than hand washing

Contrary to popular belief, dishwashers can be more efficient than hand washing, especially when run on the eco setting. For maximum efficiency, make sure your dishwasher is fully loaded before running a cycle, otherwise it’ll be more efficient to hand wash your dishes. 

Myth 4: Painting your radiators black can make them more efficient

Painting your radiators black is not an effective way of saving energy on heating. Instead, install radiator reflectors to reflect heat back into the room.

At a relatively low cost, foil insulation can be installed behind your radiator to ensure heat is kept in your home by reducing what is lost through the walls. Well-fitted radiator reflector foil could help to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat your home and could also help to keep the room warmer for longer once the heating is switched off.

Myth 5: Keeping curtains closed keeps the house warmer

Although not entirely false, keeping your curtains closed constantly can be counterproductive. In the daytime, opening curtains can allow sunlight to heat your home naturally. It’s best to keep curtains closed at night, whilst allowing natural light in during the day.

Even better, thermal curtains are very effective at keeping heat inside your home. If you don’t want to buy new thermal curtains, then you can sew a thermal lining into your drapes. 

Myth 6: It’s more energy efficient to run a quick wash than an eco wash

Eco settings on both dishwashers and washing machines are designed to use less energy. Although fast cycles run for less time, they ultimately use up more energy.  

Author: Simon Oram, Smart Home Category Manager at Toolstation.