Energy at Home

Facts vs Fiction: The Real Energy Saving Tips and Hacks

Aug 19, 2019

There’s a lot of fake advice out there surrounding tips and hacks that you can do to save energy. So we’ve come to set the record straight. At Tonik, we want to always encourage our members to conserve as much energy as possible. Not only to help save money but for the better of the planet. We’re going to separate fact from fiction by highlighting  energy-saving tips that actually work from the old wives tales that you probably should stop believing in now.


“Leaving the heating or hot water tank on uses less energy than turning it off and on when needed”

Many believe that the initial energy used to turn your heating or hot water tank on requires more than the energy used to keep it on. This is not the case.

Simply put, if your heating or the hot water tank is on, it will use more energy than if it were off. The energy used to warm your home or water tank, after it has been off for a few hours, will ultimately be less than perpetually keeping it on.

Think about a saucepan boiling an egg. If you boiled that saucepan for an entire day, it would use much more energy than just boiling the water to cook the egg.

“Electric space heaters save money”

The concept of only heating one room with a space heater, rather than your entire home, might seem like a good energy hack at first. However, space heaters can be a costly drain on energy. Electric heaters are one of the most energy-consuming forms of heating. In fact, using two space heaters can drain as much energy as warming your entire house using radiators.

If you’re looking for an energy-saving tip to avoid heating the whole home, try simply switching off the radiators in rooms that are not being used. Using space heaters in an insulated room for a short period of time can be economic, but otherwise, you’re better off using your radiators.

“You can’t switch energy suppliers without your landlord’s permission”

Many people are still under the assumption that, if you rent your home, you cannot switch energy suppliers. This can lead to thousands of renters paying too much, despite their best efforts to conserve energy. If you rent your home, you do not need to ask for your landlord’s permission to switch energy suppliers either. You would only need to gain permission from your landlord to switch energy supplier if you were switching to a different meter - such as going from a classic meter to a prepayment meter.

If you rent your home and you’re looking for a straightforward way of saving money (and potentially going for renewable energy while you’re at it too), then don’t sit on your laurels about switching. Renters are potentially losing out on hundreds by being too lazy to switch suppliers.

“Keeping a fan on will cool a room”

Whilst fans are great for helping people feel cooler, it does not actually cool the air in the room. Fans are designed to move air around, not to cool air. Therefore, if you leave a fan on in a room to try to cool it down - all you will be doing is circulating air around the room and wasting energy.

“Putting fewer clothes in the washing machine saves energy”

Many people assume that if a washing machine has fewer clothes in it, it will require less energy to wash them. However, the weight and density of the clothes load inside the washing machine will not affect the output of energy used to wash them. One full load of clothes in the washing machine or tumble dryer will always use less energy compared to two half loads.

“Screensavers save energy on your computer”

Using screensavers when your laptop or desktop is not in use is an outdated practice from when computers used CRT (cathode ray tube) screens. CRT screens used phosphorus to produce light for display, which was known to cause images that had been left on the screen for too long to ‘burn’ into the screen. The result would be a ghost image, long after the monitor had been turned off. In turn, screensavers were invented.

Computer monitors now use far more advanced technology that does not burn images into screens. So whilst a screensaver might look nice, it does not save any energy to use one.

“Hand-washing dishes is better for the environment than using a dishwasher”

This will entirely depend on the type of dishwasher you have. However, most newer dishwashers use a lot less energy and water as their older counterparts. As mentioned above, we recommend checking their energy efficiency rating first.

Comparatively, if you ensure that your dishwasher is fully loaded and that every dish is accessible by the jets, this will be much more efficient than washing dishes by hand and having to refill your sink with fresh hot water.


Vampire Energy

It’s surprising how many people do not know this one. Though most modern appliances are designed with efficiency in mind, many electrical appliances use energy when they are plugged in but not being used.

The worst culprit? Phone chargers. Phone chargers can cost you up to £80 extra a year in vampire energy. That’s energy that your charger has generated whilst it is plugged in but not charging your phone. Overall, that’s £6,480 over a lifetime.

To prevent vampire energy from draining your home and bank account dry, remember to unplug all appliances and turn the power off at the wall when not using. You could also invest in smart plugs that can be turned on and off via your smartphone.

Energy-efficient appliances

We’re not suggesting that throwing your washing machine out as an energy-saving tip. However, when it is time to replace your appliances, opt for products with high energy-efficiency ratings. This will help you save energy and money on your bills.

For example, an A+++ fridge freezer can save you up to £190 in energy bills over its 10-year lifetime compared to an A+ model. Similarly, an energy-efficient dishwasher will save you around £8 a year compared to its older counterpart.

When it’s time to replace one of your white goods, be sure to look out for their energy efficiency rating. Appliances are graded from A to G for their energy efficiency, with A as the most efficient and G being the least. Given the amount they consume, fridge freezers have three extra ratings: A+, A++, A+++.

Put a towel in your load of washing

If you’re looking to save time, energy and money when using your washer dryer or tumble dryer, this energy-saving tip is for you. The next time you need to dry a load of clothes, throw a dry towel in. The dry towel will help absorb excess damp and allow the clothes to dry even faster.

Keep your fridge and freezer full

Keeping your fridge and freezer full is one of the most innovative energy-saving hacks out there. By ensuring that your fridge freezer is fully stocked, it means that it will be able to regulate its temperature more efficiently. We’re not suggesting that you buy an unnecessary amount of food and drink to let it go to waste. Instead, fill the empty spaces in your fridge with bowls and jugs of water.

Similarly, more freezing cold air will escape your freezer if it isn’t full. This will result in your freezer having to produce more cold air, which will take up more energy over time. To prevent this, ensure that your freezer is full. You can do this by filling it with ice or even newspaper, so you don’t have to waste any food. When it’s packed, your freezer will use less energy to keep cold air in.

Aircon in the car

You might think that having the windows down in the car is more energy-efficient than using air conditioning, but this isn’t always the case. Choosing your windows over air conditioning will be more energy efficient when driving at low speeds. However, if you’re travelling at 60mph or more, such as on the motorway, using air con will save you more energy.

The Society of Automotive Engineers conducted a study to research this. Their results found that driving at speeds over 55mph with the windows down decreased fuel efficiency by 20%. On the flip side, the air conditioner only decreased fuel efficiency by 10%.

The position of your thermostat

Where your thermostat is fitted could be losing you more energy than you ever thought. By positioning it directly above a heat source (such as a radiator) or by the door, your thermostat could be giving a false reading. False readings will increase the amount of energy your home consumes. For example, if your thermostat is next to your front door and the cold draught, your heating will be working harder than necessary to warm your home.

When installing or reinstalling your thermostat, make sure that it is in a convenient location for you - but nowhere near a heat source, areas that receive a lot of airflows, or external doors.

Plug your keyholes

Keyholes and other gaps around the home, such as letterboxes, can be collectively causing your home to lose unnecessary amounts of heat and energy. We recommend lighting a candle to detect the most troublesome draughts in your home. You’ll be able to detect where most of the cold air is in your home when the candle’s flame flickers.

Keyhole and letterbox draught excluders could save you between £25-£50 a year. If you have a chimney, a chimney insulator could save you at least £64 a year too. However, avoid blocking any vents, as you still need to ensure that your home is well ventilated.


You might think that adopting these energy-saving tips are more hassle than they’re worth. However, adding these quick fixes to your life can amount to a great deal of energy and money saved. If you’re thinking about trying any of these energy-saving hacks out, the most important advice we can give you is to keep at it. You’ll see more worthwhile results if you consistently keep at these tips. Luckily, most of these tips are quick fixes that you can implement once and revel in the changes a month or so later - so why not try now?

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