Should you keep your heating on all day on low? And what about painting radiators black? We’ve gone on an energy mythbusting mission, to see if common tricks to cut energy usage really work.
Energy-saving tips ‘n’ tricks
We got MoneySavers on Facebook and Twitter to tell us their energy-saving tips ‘n’ tricks – then we asked the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and British Gas to tell us if these actually work.
Here are the key questions you asked, with their answers below. We have also included feedback from our forum where users have added extra tips.
According to experts at the Energy Saving Trust, as well as British Gas, the idea that it’s cheaper to leave the heating on low all day is a myth. They’re clear that having the heating on only when you need it is, in the long run, the best way to save energy, and therefore money. (Using a timer’s best, because your thermostat is designed to turn your heating on and off to keep your home at the temperature you set it.)
The key thing to understand here is that it’s all about the total amount of energy required to heat your home.
It’s a given that a certain amount of energy is constantly leaking out of your home (though exactly how much will depend on how good your insulation is). So the Energy Saving Trust says if you’re keeping the heating on all day you’re losing energy all day – and therefore it’s better to heat your home only when you need it.
However, it’s not quite that clear-cut. Some specialists disagree – and argue you should keep the heating on constantly for an entirely different reason.
They advocate keeping the heating on low all day, turning all radiator valves up to the max and the boiler down to the minimum, and say that the problem with turning the heating on and off is that every time it’s turned off, condensation collects within the walls. This condensation can help conduct heat outside the home, they say – meaning you leak heat more quickly and so will use more energy as a result.
MSE forum feedback: Some complaint only having the heating on when required risks you being cold, because it can take time to heat up homes, especially larger ones. Of course, that may be true, but this is a MoneySaving site, so we’re focused on cost.
Yet as a balance, if you go down the route of having the heating on only at certain times, you could switch the timer on a little bit earlier, so the house will be nice and toasty when needed, but you’re not pumping out energy all day.
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