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Energy Saving Myths Debunked

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
4 minutes read

In the age of the internet, misinformation is rife, and advice on reducing energy bills and saving on heating is not safe. We’ve compiled the biggest and most bizarre myths and prove they’re nothing but hot air.

Dishwashers Shouldn’t Be Used

There’s a common misconception about dishwashers, as some believe they use a lot of electricity and more water than if you were to wash up by hand. While they do run on electricity, they use far less water than washing up by hand, at least four times less. Some models on the market even use about ten times less water.

The dishwasher isn’t the most power-hungry appliance in the house either, using the same amount of energy and water as leaving the hot water tap on for six minutes. They are able to heat up more quickly than a hot water tap. Used efficiently, dishwashers save you money over hand washing.

A Full Loft Will Insulate a Home

Depending on how your items are stored, this could be having the opposite effect. Furniture, boxes and cases of all kinds can squash insulation down, which reduces its effectiveness, ending up allowing more heat to escape your home. Insulation in the loft should only be installed to the level of the joists and if you wish to utilise any space as storage, boards should be placed over the joists with insulation underneath. Loft insulation should be at a maximum thickness of 270mm for the best results.

Radiators Work More Efficiently When Painted Black

Radiators work through radiation, so painting them black enables them to radiate heat better. This is completely false as they actually work through convection. They are, after all, filled with water, which circulates heat through transfer. If you paint your radiators black, you could be making them less efficient as the heat might not be able to make its way through the paint as well. You could even end up with a colder house, making your boiler work overtime for temperatures it can’t achieve as quickly, leading to higher bills.

Double Glazing Is the Best Way to Save

While improving your windows is always a good energy saving tip, it’s not the most energy saving improvement you can make. Our pie chart below shows you where heat is lost most in an uninsulated house.

Windows only account for 10% of a home’s heat loss, while the loft allows 25% out. Having well insulated walls is the best way to save on your energy bills.

Air Bricks Should Be Blocked to Keep Out the Cold

This is a dangerous myth as air bricks are there to provide essential ventilation to a home’s structural base. They provide a free flow of air to both cavity walls and the subfloor in order to avoid any problems with moisture. The air underneath the floorboards prevents the wooden beams from rotting and any problems with mould as well. Blocking air bricks is never advised.

If you feel as though you are getting a draught through your air bricks, you can consider fitting an air brick cowl, which reduces the amount of air they will receive in gusts of high wind. Air bricks can only be covered if your sub-base has been replaced from wood with concrete. Wood needs ventilation; concrete doesn’t.

Keep Windows Closed

Some people believe that if you keep your windows closed over winter, you’ll never let any heat out and everything will be perfect. While it’s useful to keep heat in, indoor air quality is a vital part of our health. Poor air can lead to headaches, dizziness and sometimes even nosebleeds. If also not properly ventilated, any moisture-laden air won’t be able to escape, leading to mould and damp. Opening windows for five or ten minutes a few times a day is the way around this. You’ll lose a bit of heat but not enough to worry about.

Appliances Should Always Be Run at Night

It’s true that some people can save if they run their appliances during off-peak hours, but this is only the case if you’re on an economy tariff. Most people pay the same amount whatever time of day an appliance is running. It’s important to check what your rates are. If you wish to save some money, you could see if you can change to an economy tariff to make use of this tip.