The CallmeSavvy Energy Q&A

The CallmeSavvy Energy Q&A

We’re often asked a multitude of questions regarding energy usage, and often these questions are about energy myth and legend that are simply untrue. So we’ve sifted through some of the more popular questions to help wade through the energy truths and tales.


Heating On All Day or Only When You Need It?

Many people ask if it’s more effective to keep your heating on a low but constant temperature rather than heating from cold only when you need it. It’s definitely the case that only using the heating when you need it is the most effective way of using your heating.

Consider that however good your insulation is, you’ll have leakage of heat to one degree or another. Therefore if you are heating all day then you are losing heat all day, rather than just while you’re heating the house.

There is though a more scientific reasoning behind keeping the heating on all day – by keeping the boiler and thermostat on a low setting but the radiator on full, you’ll keep down the condensation that gathers in the walls. This conducts heat far quicker than a dry wall and as such makes your heating less effective.

Our general advice though is to put the heating on only when you need it.


What About The Hot Water Heater? All Day Or Off And On?

If you have a traditional boiler powered by any type of fuel,  it will be cheaper and more effective to heat the water only when you need it. However if you have an electric immersion heater and have an economy tariff overnight, it would be more cost effective to heat the water at night and use during the day.


On That Point, Is It Cheaper To Use Radiators Or Electric Heaters?

In a word, no. Electric heaters are one of the most expensive methods of heating your home. In general that cheapest way is using an efficient gas central heating system with full thermostatic radiator valves, room thermostat and timer.


Do Charges Still Use Power When Plugged In But Not Connected?

Yes. It’s a small amount but it accumulates over a long period. Essentially if the charger is warm then it’s taking energy. Some charges, including those from Apple, turn themselves off automatically when not connected, and in general branded chargers are better than those you might get at the market.


Should I Run Appliances At Night?

If you have a Economy night time tariff then this is something that can increase your energy efficiency. Otherwise though it really doesn’t make any difference.


Should I Use My Radiator Thermostat Or My Room Thermostat To Control The Heating?

As a rule of thumb the more controllers the better to control how you want your home to be heated. A room thermostat can save around £70 a year and a radiator control can save about £10 a year.


OK, So What, If Any, Differences Are There Between The Two?

There’s little differences in the efficiency but there can be differences in the rate at which the room heats up. The Room Thermostat pumps heat into the room until the target temperature is reached. The radiator thermostat controls the rate at which this happens, low is slow, high is fast.


Should I Paint My Radiators Black? Or Use A Reflective Shield?

There’s no benefit to painting your radiator black, so we can move swiftly on from that one. In fact, painting the radiators at all insulates the radiator and retains heat. Realistically though you’ll need your radiators to be painted in some way, so avoid gloss and use matt instead to maximise the heat distribution.

Reflective panels will improve efficiency and reduce energy use, so consider these as they also double up at reflecting the heat away from the walls.


When The Heating Is On Should I Close The Doors?

Yes. Enclosing the room allows it to heat faster and retain more heat. However take into account where your thermometer is located as if this is in another room that you have not enclosed then the heating will continue to operate as the thermostat will not recognise the increase in temperature.


Should I Use A Tumbledryer Or Airer Next To A Radiator?

An airer is always better in this instance due to the high amount of energy that a dryer consumes.


What’s Better – A Halogen Heater Or A Portable Heater?

Halogen heaters are directional and pump out heat immediately. However once switched off the heat goes quickly. A portable heater creates convection and so whilst it takes longer to heat, this heat remains a while after the heater has been turned off. It really depends on what you are looking for.


Is A Combi Boiler Cheaper To Run?

This is tricky, and it really depends on the individual boiler. Yes a combi boiler is more likely to be more efficient than an old boiler, but then again some combi’s are not as efficient as other types.



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