Benefits from viral energy-savings hacks overestimated, major energy company warns

Blocking draughts is the most effective way to save energy. (Getty)
Blocking draughts is the most effective way to save energy. (Getty)

Millions of people are using social media content to get energy-saving advice, but Brits could be overestimating how helpful they actually are, EDF has warned.

Analysis, of the 50 most viewed hacks tagged ‘energy saving’, found clips about bleeding radiators gained the most traction, followed by only boiling as much water as you need in the kettle.

The third most viewed video on TikTok shows drying a bedsheet over a clothes airer by a radiator, while draught-proofing the house and using a slow cooker, also feature in the top 10.

Millions of Brits are turning to social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Chat GPT for free energy-saving advice, according to new research.

The top trending pieces of energy-saving video content include how to bleed a radiator, only boiling as much as you need in the kettle and drying a bed sheet over a clothes airer by a radiator.

Read more: Cost of living: Energy bills prediction will cause widespread confusion, experts warn

Not overfilling the kettle can reduce energy bills. (EDF)
Not overfilling the kettle can reduce energy bills. (EDF)

EDF, who carried out the analysis, said in general the social media content was giving sound advice but people were overestimating how much could be saved from each tip.

EDF said Brits think, on average, they have saved £164.88 in the last year by following energy-saving tips seen on social media, the number is even higher for younger generations.

Philippe Commaret, from EDF, said: “There’s a lot of energy-saving advice online and it can be confusing for consumers to know what to believe.

Read more: 'Greedflation' explored: Are businesses making inflation worse through excessive profits?

Using an airer near a radiator can dry clothes and bedding out faster. (EDF)
Using an airer near a radiator can dry clothes and bedding out faster. (EDF)

"Although we were pleased that, for the most part, content creators are passing on relatively sound advice we would urge people to double-check these with a source verified by energy experts, to ensure they are implementing effective energy-saving measures.

"Although in most cases giving these tips a try isn’t going to do any harm, some of the hacks suggested will only lead to minimal savings."

The top 10 most engaged videos covered the following energy-saving tips were:

  • Bleed your radiators

  • Only boil as much water as you need

  • Using a clothes airer near the radiator with a bed sheet over it to dry quicker

  • Unplugging appliances from walls

  • Draught-proofing the house

  • Minimise time in the shower by lathering up before getting in the shower then use the shower for a minute or less to wash off

  • Slow cooker meals are cheaper than using an electric cooker

  • Turn off your Xbox, as standby has a high energy consumption

  • Instead of a tumble dryer, hang clothes up on the wall with hooks, and place a dehumidifier next to them

EDF said draught-proofing was the single most effective energy-saving tactic people could do, and in general, people knew this.

When asked to estimate how much money they would save from draught-proofing, Birts said £153, when in reality the figure is more like £125.

However, Brits were much worse at predicting the savings from other energy-saving tips.

People believed hanging up clothes rather than using a tumble dryer would save £142 when in reality EDF says the figure is around £56.

A similar story was true for turning off appliances left on standby, with people believing it saved £144 a year when in reality the figure is closer to £70.

Brits did underestimate a couple of savings, with not overfilling the kettle saving £43 a year compared to the public estimate of £34.

Using an airer near the radiator to dry a bed sheet also saved more (£70) than what Brits guessed (£53).