These are the hacks that will actually save you money on your heating and energy bills

Should you leave your heating on low all day? (Picture: Getty)

Now that autumn is properly kicking in, we’re all starting to think about when is the right time to put the heating on.

Experts have revealed the best exact date to reach for that thermostat (it’s in October by the way), however you might not last that long if the weather keeps playing up.

But with the energy price cap increasing to £1,277 this week and the ongoing uncertainty about how the energy crisis will impact customers, it has never been more important to think about keeping your bills down and making smart decisions.

There are plenty of tricks that people swear by for keeping costs down – leaving the heating on low all day, or sticking reflective panels behind your radiators – but which ones actually work?

Experts at asked the British public about their energy-saving habits and have assessed the UK’s most common tips and tricks. Consumer champion, Tashema Jackson is on hand to help separate the facts from the myths.

Should I put reflective panels behind my radiator?

‘Reflective panels can work to conserve energy by bouncing heat back into the room, however, this only really works for external walls as they prevent heat from escaping outside,’ says Tashema.

‘If you live in a semi-detached or terrace house, you’ll see little improvement by putting reflective panels behind radiators on internal walls, or walls that you share with the neighbouring house.’

If you do decide to install reflective panels, Tashema says it’s important to use a purpose-built product that you can buy from a DIY shop.

‘Placing materials such as plastic on a radiator can be dangerous since they run the risk of melting and burning,’ she adds. 

Will installing a smart meter save energy or reduce costs?

So, this will not save energy or reduce costs in itself, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing.

‘By having a smart meter installed, you see how much energy you’re using,’ says Tashema. ‘And therefore identify how to lower your usage by changing day-to-day behaviour.’ 

Should I turn off the hot water when I’m not using it?

‘There really isn’t any saving to be had by turning your hot water on and off,’ says Tashema.

‘It’s better to make sure that your boiler tank has a good insulating jacket so that the water doesn’t require reheating. 

‘For those on an Economy 7 tariff where energy is cheaper at night, you can make some savings by setting your water heater to come on at night for use during the day.’ 

Is it cheaper to wash my clothes at night? 

Again, Tashema says, this is one where it depends on the type of tariff you have.

‘If you are on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, it will be cheaper since you’ll pay less for your energy at night,’ she explains.

‘But for most of us, running the washing machine at night doesn’t make any difference to the cost or the amount of energy used.’

All it might do is make it harder for you to get to sleep… and annoy your neighbours.

Will I save energy by installing carpets in every room? 

‘Yes,’ says Tashema. ‘Carpets are a very effective way of insulating your home and the better insulated your home, the fewer heat escapes and therefore it takes less energy to keep your home warm.’

Wood and laminate might be the biggest interior trend at the moment, but carpet will save you cash in the long-run. And you don’t have to lay it every room. 

‘While installing carpet in every room would help your home stay warmer, it’s probably best to stick to carpeting rooms you spend a lot of time in,’ says Tashema.

‘Most likely, bedrooms or living rooms are best since nobody wants to clean food from a carpet in the kitchen after cooking dinner.’

Should I leave the heat on low all day instead of on high for a short time?

Everyone has heard this theory. But it’s time to ley this particular myth to bed.

‘This is a very common myth as it takes a lot of energy to keep your radiators warm all day,’ says Tashema.

‘It’s best to only heat your home when you’re there to feel the benefit.

‘Many have the option to programme the central heating to come on and turn off at certain times. Try setting the heating to come on half an hour before you normally wake up so you don’t have to dread pulling off your bedsheets.’

So, only put the heating on when you need it. Simple. 

Can a sponge in the letterbox or cling film around the windows help? 

‘While it’s a little on the extreme side, these can actually help save energy by conserving heat, stopping it from escaping outside,’ Tashema says.

‘The cling film acts as a protective layer and the sponge blocks gaps where heat might escape through the door. 

‘Draught-proofing your home is a very simple way to minimise energy consumption as a warmer home decreases the likelihood of you reaching for the thermostat, and can be achieved without reaching for items more suited to the kitchen.’

Should I paint my radiators black? 

While they might look stylish, Tashema says there’s no evidence to suggest the colour of your radiator affects the heat output.

‘To get the most out of your radiators, avoid placing large furnishings such as a bed or sofa directly in front, as this will likely absorb the heat and you’ll find it takes longer to heat your home,’ she suggests.

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