Ten energy myths busted from leaving heating on low all day to dishwasher error

Energy bills are set for another hideous rise this winter.

Ofgem last week confirmed its price cap will rise to £3,549 a year on October 1, for those on default tariffs paying by direct debit.

This marks a rise of £1,578 – or 80% – from its current level of £1,971.

The huge rise in the price cap will add more pressure on to families already struggling with the cost of living crisis – so we’ve debunked ten myths to help you keep costs down.

  1. “The price cap is how much I’ll pay for energy.”
    Wrong – the price cap isn’t actually a total cap on your bill.

Instead, it sets a limit on the rates a supplier can charge for each unit of gas and electricity you use.

This means if you use more energy, you’ll pay more.

The price cap also sets a maximum rate for the daily standing charge, which is what you pay to have your home connected to the grid.

There are different price caps depending on how you pay, as well.

The price cap for customers on a default tariff who pay by direct debit is currently set at £1,971 per year, but is rising to £3,549 in October.

For those paying by prepayment meter – typically vulnerable households or those struggling to pay for their energy – there is a bigger jump from £2,017 per year to £3,608.

Standard credit customers – so where you pay once you’ve received your bill – will see their price cap rise from £2,100 per year to £3,764.

These figures are representative of a household with typical energy use.

  1. “The dishwasher is the most expensive way to wash dishes.”
    This one is tricky – according to Uswitch, there is “no absolute proof” as to whether hand-washing your dishes or using a dishwasher is more energy-efficient.

This applies to both the amount of water and electricity used. Instead, it depends entirely on your method.

There are lots of factors to take into consideration – for example, how energy efficient your dishwasher is, what setting you have it on and how full it is.

When it comes to washing up, this can end up being more expensive if you waste water that you’ve heated up by not having a bowl and don’t pre-soak.

Uswitch suggests you should just be economical in whatever method you decide to use.

So for a dishwasher, you’d always want to use an eco setting, wait for it to be full and never waste water by pre-soaking.

If washing by hand, then you would want to presoak – and you’d always want to use a bowl to avoid wasting water.

  1. “Overfilling the kettle doesn’t waste money.”
    Wrong – experts at Uswitch recommend only filling the kettle with the exact amount of water you need.

In fact, the price comparison website suggests not overfilling your kettle could save £11 a year on your electricity bills.

As well as saving money on your energy bill, you’ll also save water being wasted in the process.

Most kettles will have a scale on the side of them that shows you how far to fill them, depending on how many cups of tea or coffee you need.

  1. “Appliances don’t use energy when they’re on standby.”
    When a device is left on standby, it still receives power from your electricity socket – so it is still using energy.

For example, when it comes to your television, leaving it on standby means it is still drawing power so it can respond to signals from the remote control.

Always make sure you turn off your appliances at the wall to avoid adding to your energy bill.

In general, turning off appliances at the plug can save £55 per year.

  1. “Turning your thermostat up heats my house faster.”
    No – turning your thermostat up won’t have any impact on how quickly your home heats up.

Say you set your room thermostat to 20 degrees, the heating will run until the room reaches that temperature.

If you turn the thermostat up to 25 degrees to try and heat the room up more quickly, the boiler will still work at full blast and take the same time to get to 20 degrees.

It will then keep going until the room is at 25 degrees.

  1. “Keep the heating on low all day to save money.”
    This one isn’t clear-cut.

Most experts argue that it depends on how well your home is insulated, as this will determine how much energy you need to heat it up.

Uswitch previously told The Mirror that the greater the heat loss from your home, the more energy you will need to maintain the inside temperature.

Therefore, if you go by this logic, it is best to only turn the heating on when you need it.

However, some specialists who’ve previously spoken to MoneySavingExpert have argued the opposite – and say you should keep the heating on all the time.

The specialists the consumer website spoke to said condensation collects within the walls whenever you switch the heating off.

This can then conduct heat outside the home, which could mean you lose heat more quickly in the long-run.

  1. “It’s too expensive to insulate my house.”
    There are lots of cheap and effective ways to insulate your home without breaking the bank – it doesn’t have to be an expensive job.

You can create draught-excluder for free by stuffing an old jumper with socks and stitching it into a long snake shape.

This can be used under a door that lets air in. For old floorboards, a cheap rug can be a good way to stop cool air blowing in.

We also recently reported on how using £3 draught-proofing tape could save you £133.

If you’re good at DIY, you could also try insulating your loft yourself – rolls of insulation start from around £25 from B&Q.

  1. “Smart meters don’t actually save me money.”
    Partly true. On their own, smart meters won’t save you cash.

But the idea of a smart meter is that they provide real-time data to give you a more detailed view of your energy consumption.

This in turn allows you to see how much you’re using and where you can cut back.

  1. “It is always cheaper to use appliances at night.”
    Not always true – this depends on what type of energy tariff you’re signed up to.

A few energy providers charge less for using electricity at certain times of the day, normally at night.

The name for these type of energy deals are “time of use” tariffs.

Off-peak hours tend to be quieter periods when power demand is at its lowest, for example between 10pm and 8am.

  1. “The oven is the cheapest way to cook.”
    A recent study by energy supplier Utilita and supermarket chain Iceland found the microwave is the cheapest way to cook your food.

The research was based on the energy consumption of 83 appliances across 24 sources.

But there are ways to cut down your costs if you can’t cook by microwave.

For example, batch-cooking food could save you cash as you’re only heating up the oven once, while using the right sized pan, with a lid, can also help your energy consumption.

Smart meters also ensure accurate billing, meaning you’re more likely to be charged for exactly what you’ve used.
Smart meters also ensure accurate billing, meaning you’re more likely to be charged for exactly what you’ve used.