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Energy Efficiency Myth Busting

Energy efficiency myth busting OCTOBER HEADER
Written by Molly Morris

We’re all looking for ways to reduce our energy bills and make our homes as energy efficient as possible – improving insulation in our homes, installing double- and triple-glazed windows, and being aware of our personal energy consumption all have positive effects on the environment and our energy bills, but what else can we do? 

The internet is saturated with energy-saving tricks, many of which are completely false. Molly from Anglian is here to dispel the myths, and highlight the few gems that actually speak the truth! 

 

Electricity is cheaper at night 

Many people think running appliances at night is cheaper due to demand being considerably lower than it is throughout the day. There is, in fact, a glimmer of truth in this tip, but for most people, it really won’t make a difference. 

If you’re on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, your electricity provider will charge you according to demand. With less people active at night, it actually is cheaper to do your washing later in the evening. However, every other tariff is charged equally no matter the time of day. 

Verdict: Partly true 

 

Turning up the thermostat will heat up your home quicker 

It’s a common misconception that cranking up the temperature will make a room heat up faster. 

Of course, the higher the temperature, the warmer the room will eventually become, but a higher temperature will not increase the speed at which heat is distributed. No matter what, it will take the same amount of time to heat the same room. The only way to speed up this process is to improve your home’s insulation. 

Verdict: False 

 

Painting radiators black makes them more efficient 

Darker objects are known for being better at absorbing—and then emitting—heat. With science behind this, many people assume painting a radiator black will increase its efficiency. 

This would be true if radiators actually transferred most of their heat through radiation. However, despite their misleading name, radiators transfer heat through convection, which means their heat is transmitted by a mass motion of fluids. Colour has nothing to do with it. 

Verdict: False 

 

Placing tinfoil behind a radiator can conserve heat 

With its reflective properties, tinfoil that’s placed behind a radiator can conserve heat. Specialised radiator foil can be purchased, but ordinary tinfoil works just as well. 

Heat often escapes at the back of a radiator, and is then lost in the wall. Placing tinfoil here prevents this, as it forces heat back into the room. 

Verdict: True 

 

Electricity can still be consumed even when devices aren’t in use 

We all know that we shouldn’t leave the TV on standby when we aren’t watching it, but many of us think that not using the microwave or pressing the off button on our washing machine is enough to stop energy from being used. 

Often referred to as a vampire power, energy can still be drained by appliances when they’re turned “off” or not in use. Even when a device is completely detached from the power source—for example, disconnecting a phone from a phone charger—power can still be drained by the charger. 

Verdict: True 

 

Solar panels don’t produce energy on a cloudy day 

If you’re considering installing solar panels in your home, you might have heard the rumour that they can’t generate energy on a cloudy day. If this was the case, it’s safe to say they wouldn’t be very useful with our gloomy British weather! 

Solar panels are most effective when the sun is shining, but they’re still able to produce energy on a cloudy or rainy day. Sunlight can still reach the panels, and particular models are designed to absorb a broader range of light such as UV and infrared light, which are present on cloudy days. 

Verdict: False 

 

It’s better to leave the lights on rather than turn them on and off continuously 

A myth that seems to circulate to this day, many people believe that it’s better to leave a light on if you’re leaving a room for a short period of time rather than switch it off and on again. People assume that a surge of energy is required to turn on lights, making it more cost-effective to simply leave them on. 

All of this is completely false, as no additional energy surge is required. So there’s really no excuse – don’t forget to switch off the lights whenever you’re not in the room! 

Verdict: False 

 

With most of these energy myths completely busted, you can be confident that your home or that of a relative isn’t draining unnecessary energy. Let the money and energy saving begin!

About the author

Molly Morris