With rising energy bills, there’s never been a better time to save energy. There’s a plethora of eco products that promise to slash your power, heating or water bills, but our tests reveal that not all of them deliver.
Have you ever bought an ‘eco gadget’ that was supposed to save you energy or water but just didn’t stand up to its claim or is still in its box because you haven’t got round to installing it yet…
‘Standby savers’, eco shower heads, ‘Radiator boosters’ and hippo bags for your toilet cistern are just a few of the products on offer, but which ones will really help you save water and energy?
Are all eco products worth their money and do you really need to spend money fitting your house with all these gadgets? Is it not just easier and cheaper to change our behaviour and rectify some ‘bad habits’ we all have in wasting energy and water, or is a combination of both the best way?
Not worth the money
We set about finding the answer to some of these questions this month, revealing the 10 eco products that are not worth buying. Why? Because our tests showed they either don’t live up to their energy-saving claims or because there are cheaper ways of achieving the same saving.
During our tests we found that one product, the Ecotek Energy Wizard, actually did the opposite of what it claims to do – it increased the power used by a plasma TV or stereo. And we found that two disposable battery chargers didn’t do the job effectively – but they could cost you up to £35.
One user whose home didn’t have high water pressure found that the water-saving shower head they tried only provided a disappointing trickle of water to wash under.
Good (and cheap) alternatives
As well as revealing the eco products that we think you’re better off avoiding, we’ve also featured 10 good alternatives and money-saving ideas. Some of them won’t even cost you a penny.
1. The Ecobutton. Savings: variable
The Ecobutton (£15) plugs into your computer. When pressed, it puts it into energy-saving mode and tells you how much you have saved.
2. Energy monitors. Savings: £25 to £75 a year
Energy monitors will show you how you use electricity in your home and help you cut your electricity bill.
3. Energy saving light bulbs. Savings: around £45 a year
These have improved a lot over the years and are an easy way to save. Their payback time is quite fast too.
4. Rechargeable batteries. Savings: about £500 over 100 charges
A smart battery charger and some good hybrid rechargeable batteries could save you lots over the years.
5. Radiator Booster. Savings: variable
Sits on top of your radiator and draws up the heat lost behind the radiator to distribute it in the room.
6. Insulation. Savings: up to £145 a year
The best longer-term way to save by stopping the heat escaping. Loft and wall insulation can even be free!
7. Double glazing. Savings: about £140 a year
Replacing old draughty windows for double glazing is not so cheap initially but will save on your heating bills for years.
8. Free water saving gadgets. Savings: variable
Check with your water companies for free water-saving gadgets and devices like Hippo bags and flow-reducers.
9. Fix it. Savings: around £18 a year
Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth and fixing dripping taps can save you water and money.
10. Turn it down. Savings: up to £50 a year
Turning your thermostat down by one degree in winter can save you up to £50 a year.
Your eco-saving experiences
There are still effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint along with your energy bills. Have you got an eco product that really helps you to save money or a simple action we can all take that can save energy?
Or maybe you’ve had disappointing results with a product that should be added to our ‘not worth buying’ list?