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Heating myths to blame for increases in energy bills

By Katie Anderson on October 24, 2014

As if heating bills aren’t expensive enough. A survey carried out for the Big Energy Saving Week (20-24th October) has highlighted how a lack of knowledge and understanding about how to heat our homes efficiently results in unnecessarily high energy bills.  

Big Energy Saving Week The Department of Energy and Climate Change has teamed up with the Energy Saving Trust and Citizens Advice to highlight practical ways to help energy consumers save money and take greater control of their bills. The survey revealed that many of us lack knowlege when it comes to our heating controls.

Although 78% of Brits claim to know how to use their heating controls, more than half of those people admit to turning up the thermostat when the weather gets cold. Given that thermostats are designed to react to outside conditions and maintain a constant temperature inside, it’s an unnecessary move and one of the most common heating myths. In addition, a third of people believe turning up the thermostat will also heat up a room quicker.

One of the most hotly debated heating myths, 38% of those surveyed believe it’s more energy efficient to leave their heating on constantly, but at a low temperature, rather than switching their heating on and off depending on who’s at home.

Some 2,418 people took part in the Ipsos Mori online survey, which was carried out between September 23-26. The survey highlighted the ever present concern households have when it comes to their energy bills, with 74% saying their their bills were a worry.

The chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, Philip Sellwood said heating controls can be a bit of a minefield, which is why millions of Brits are falling foul of heating myths:

“There are plenty of myths out there and it’s no wonder people aren’t getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes.”

According to the organisations behind the energy saving campaign, by learning how to heat their homes efficiently, they could cut their annual energy bills by around £75. Citizens Advice receives around eighty thousand enquiries a year, from people struggling with fuel debts.

Commenting on the outcome of the survey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said it was important households shopped around for the cheapest energy deal because it was the easiest way to save money. The poll revealed that just 24% had switched their energy supplier in the last 12 months.

Since 2010, the number of independent suppliers in the energy market had almost trebled. And with more competition it’s helping to drive down prices.

Added Davey: We’re also making it easier and quicker for people to switch, and the major energy suppliers have confirmed that switching times will halve by the end of this year to just two and a half weeks.”

Households struggling to keep their homes warm may be able to get a central heating or boiler grant to replace their old boiler with a new energy saving condensing boiler. Modern boilers are much more efficient and can help to bring down the cost of your energy bills.