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Energy Myth-busting

Energy Mythbusting 1Do chargers use energy when plugged in but not connected to the device? Can Clingfilm really help keep heat in on your windows? We’ve set out to bust some of the most common energy myths lurking on the World Wide Web.


Myth – When devices are turned off they are off

Fact – Despite turning an appliance off, many continue to consume power, sometimes up to 20% of the energy they use when they’re on! We call this ‘standby power’. A surprising number of electricals cannot be switched off completely without unplugging them. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a typical household wastes around £30 a year leaving devices plugged in or on standby. Be wary of the transformer, they are shockers for using energy when the appliance is no longer on. If you want to turn it off, turn it off at the socket!


Myth – Chargers only use energy when plugged into the device

Fact – Many chargers will still be drawing power even if not plugged into a device - a good way to test this is to feel the temperature of the charger, if it is warm than it is using energy. British Gas claims that branded chargers are normally more efficient than unbranded; however we would always recommend unplugging these when not being used.


Myth – Using a room heater saves money

Fact – Potentially but only if done right! In many parts of the world the cost of electricity is much greater than the cost of gas, the most common heating fuel in the UK, sometimes even up to 10 times more! Therefore, using an electric heater will cost significantly more than running a central heating system on mains gas. Despite this, if you have a large building with only 1 boiler and you only need to use a small part of the building, a space heater may be more economical if used for a short period of time. Usually, however, we’d recommend using your central heating system but adjusting the temperature valves (TRVs) on your radiators, turning them down in the rooms which aren’t in use.


Myth – Adjusting the thermostat will make the building heat up / cool down quicker

Fact – Thermostats are simply temperature regulators which tell the system to turn off once the room reaches the desired temperature. Altering this will only change the temperature at which the heating switches on and off, and does not speed up the process. To save energy, use a programmable thermostat, this can give you the ability to set certain temperatures for certain times of the day.


Energy Mythbusting 2


Myth – Leaving a ceiling fan on whilst you’re not in the room will keep it cool

Fact – In comparison to air conditioning, fans work by recirculating air, creating an air flow. It is the breeze from this which makes us feel cool; fans don’t actually alter the air temperature. Therefore, the room temperature will not be any cooler from leaving a fan on. You can save energy however by using a room fan over air conditioning when someone is in the room.


Myth – Leaving lights and electronics running uses less energy than switching them on and off throughout the day, and also helps appliances to last longer

Fact – Several years ago, this would have been true but through better design, this is not the case. Computers and other electricals are less prone to damage from energy surges and use less energy when powering up than they used to. The small surge of power created when some devices are turned on is greatly less than energy used by running devices when not needed, so if you can turn a device off, that is much better.


Myth – Putting Clingfilm on windows will help keep heat in

Fact – this actually works! It is based on the idea that an extra layer on your windows will trap air which can help stop heat escaping. The Energy Saving Trust states that any transparent, airtight material will do the job as a second layer of glazing, however cling-film should ideally only be used in the short-term as is unlikely to last. It is better to use a specialist secondary glazing film, which you can buy from most DIY stores, but you are unlikely to see much difference if used on a double glazed window compared to a single glazed.


Heard any more floating around? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll set out to find if there are facts behind the myth!


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