Engineer shares ‘nasty’ heating myths to avoid for ‘cheaper’ bills

Heating expert shares top tip on using radiator valves

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Millions of homes across the nation are looking for low-cost yet simple ways to cut energy bills in light of the continued energy crisis gripping the UK. Jeremy Hunt recently announced that gas and electricity bills will go up by an average of £500 a year from April. The new rates will mean that an average home will pay around £3,000 a year for energy – up from £2,500 now. To avoid household paying more than they have to, Nigel Best, director of electrical training provider Electrician Courses 4U has shared five heating myths that Britons should avoid in order to keep their energy bills down this winter exclusively with

He said: “During the cost of living crisis we are all looking at ways to cut back and save our pennies – not least on our energy bills. 

“While there is lots of helpful advice out there on how to reduce your electricity usage, there are a few common methods which are not only ineffective but can also end up costing you more money. To prevent you from receiving a nasty surprise on your next energy bill, here are five heating myths Britons should be aware of.”

Myth 1: Electric heaters are more efficient than central heating 

It is a very common heating myth that electric heaters are more efficient to run than central heating, however, the electrician warned that electric heaters will add to electricity bills “considerably”.

He said: “For years many people have believed that plugging in a mobile electric heater is cheaper than using their heating. Although an electric heater will save you money on your heating costs, it will add on to your electricity costs considerably. 

“Of course this is dependent on the model of electric heater that you have, to how much it would cost to use. 

“However, electric heaters are known for being wasteful with energy, by not only creating heat but also noise. This noise, which is useless to you or me, is being powered by electricity which ultimately comes out of your pocket.”

Myth 2: It’s cheaper to keep the heating on low all day rather than only turning it on when needed

Regardless of the situation, having the heating on when you aren’t at home is always going to cost you money.

Commenting on this myth, Nigel said: “This is indeed false. All you are doing is keeping your heating on for a longer period of time. This ultimately means you are going to end up with a very expensive heating bill at the end of the month.”

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Instead, households are much better off setting a timer to come on at certain times only, to make sure that their house is cosy by the point they get home.

The expert explained: “By only putting the heating on when it is needed you’ll end up using less energy and most importantly receiving a cheaper heating bill.”

Myth 3: Smart meters will save you money on your energy bills 

When used on their own, this is true. But the idea of a smart meter is so you can track your energy consumption by looking at its real-time data.

This means you can see how much you’re using, and where you can cut back. Smart meters also ensure accurate billing, meaning you’re more likely to be charged for exactly what you’ve used.

The engineer said: “A tip that has been popular with experts for many years is installing a smart meter into your home. This allows you to see how much energy you are using and how much it is going to cost you. But, this alone doesn’t save you money.

“For a smart meter to save you money, it will require you to act. The meter will tell you how much energy you’re using, which then allows you to cut back and turn off the heating or electrical appliances which are eating up your electricity. Simply investing in a smart meter does not save you money directly.”

Myth 4: Fireplaces are a great way to heat a home

While this may sound surprising, Nigel warned that wood burners are not an “efficient way” to keep homes warm. He said: “Since human civilisation began we have been using a wooden fire to keep ourselves warm. Even though it is less common today some people still use this method to keep their home warm. Some people believe that it is an efficient way to keep themselves warm during the cold weather. However, this is not true.

“Fireplaces that require a chimney can cause major heat loss in a home. That’s because cold air can get in via the top of the chimney and hot air can escape. 

“This wouldn’t be so bad if you kept the fire going all day and night, but that is obviously impractical and expensive. The cost of firewood would also outweigh the cost of heating your home through a radiator.”

Myth 5: Turning up your heating to its highest setting will warm your house more quickly

A common misconception is to make a beeline for your thermostat and crank up the heating when the weather takes a turn for the worst. After all, this will heat the house up quicker, right?

The heating pro said: “One of our first thoughts after coming home to a freezing home is to crank up the heating to its hottest setting. While people may think this will heat your house quicker, this simply isn’t true. 

“Your house will heat up at the same time whether your heating is at 20C or at 30C. You will actually end up wasting money as later in the night when the heating has been on for a while you may become too hot and at that point you’ve already used a lot more energy than you needed to.”

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