Wherever you live in the UK, you are likely to have been affected by the recent cold spell.
But are you setting your thermostat to a higher temperature than normal or leaving the heating on a low setting all day?
If you’re guilty of either of these, you could actually be wasting money and not making much of a difference to the temperature.
Is it cheaper to leave the heating on low all day or set it to come on twice a day?
There are a lot of myths about energy bills and the best ways to keep a home warm.
We’ve listed five of the most common and why they are not true. If you know of any others, please tell us in the comments box below.
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1. MYTH: Turning the thermostat higher will heat your home faster
When it’s really cold and you’re trying to warm up your home, it can be tempting to turn your thermostat up to the highest setting to heat your home quickly.
But Caitlin Bent, home energy expert at the Energy Saving Trust, says this won’t make a difference and could end up costing you money.
‘Turning up your thermostat won’t heat your home any faster, it’ll heat at the same rate, but unless you remember to turn it down again will keep heating to a higher temperature, wasting energy.’
The best way to keep your home warm for longer is to make sure it is properly insulated
Instead the best way to warm your home up, and keep it warmer for longer, is to make sure it is properly insulated, which could cut your bills down by around £300.
You may even be able to get your loft or walls insulated for free, which usually costs around £600, as some of the Big Six energy firms offer this.
To find out if you’re eligible contact your supplier and ask it, and even if it doesn’t you can try the other Big Six suppliers as some offer insulation even to households that aren’t its customers.
2. MYTH: You should leave the heating on at a low temperature all day
If you leave your heating on a low setting all day, it means your home will remain at a constant temperature.
Some people believe this is cheaper than having the heating on for timed periods as the boiler uses less energy remaining on a low heat.
This isn’t true and if you’re not at home the whole time you’ll be wasting money heating an empty home.
Ms Bent says: ‘In reality, it’s best to use a timer or programmer to make sure your home is only heated when you’re there, otherwise you’ll just be wasting energy by heating an empty house.’
Leaving the heating on a low setting all day when you’re not home will cost you more money
3. MYTH: Keep the doors open to allow the heat to circulate and keep your home warm
If you have central heating, your home will stay warmer for longer if you keep internal doors closed.
This is because hot air rises from a radiator then circles the room as it cools, and is then heated again creating a convection current. If the doors are open this doesn’t work as well and you will lose some of the heat.
Therefore it’s better to close the internal doors to keep the heat in the rooms that you are in rather than to allow the heat to circulate in rooms which are not in use.
If you want to turn off the heating in a specific room you can do this via the individual radiator.
If it’s cold outside should you turn the thermostat up to the highest setting to warm up quickly?
4. MYTH: Using an electric heater for a few hours is cheaper than the central heating
The cheapest way to heat your home is usually through a standard central heating system with a boiler and radiators.
These systems use hot water which circulates through your pipes and connects to the radiators in the home.
Electric heaters tend to be the most expensive way of heating a home as they run on electricity rather than gas, which is more costly.
The exact cost depends on how long you use it, your energy provider and tariff and the type of heater and you can work out exactly how much you can expect to pay, by checking the Energy Use Calculator.
5. MYTH: You can’t switch suppliers without a landlord’s permission if you rent your home
It’s a common misconception that if you rent your home you can’t switch energy suppliers without your landlord’s permission.
However, it is possible to do this and you don’t need to tell your landlord as the decision lies with the person who pays the bill and by doing so you could save hundreds on your energy bills.
The only instance in which you might need to speak to a landlord is if you are switching to a different meter, from a pre-payment meter to a standard credit meter for example.
If this will cause a structural change to the home you may need to have your landlord’s permission before it is carried out.
THE WINTER COLLECTIVE : COULD YOU SAVE MONEY ON YOUR BILLS?
This is Money has joined forces once more with energyhelpline to launch a new collective switch to help readers save money on energy bills.
The Winter Collective allows our readers to team up with thousands of other people and use their collective power to negotiate a unique offer on their energy bills.
Switchers taking advantage in the past have typically shaved £265 from their annual dual fuel bills.
This special deal turns the table on energy firms – rather than households having to hunt out a better price, they will be competing to offer you one.
You can register with just a few details here and once we have picked the winning deal we will deliver a unique tariff straight to your inbox on February 14.
If you decide to switch and save money you can. If you decide it is not for you then you do not have to take it.
- Not interested in taking part but want to search for a better deal? For full details of how to switch your provider and where to find the best deals check out This is Money’s switching guide.