TikTok is becoming the go-to place — for home energy-saving life hacks?

LONDON — Millions of people are turning to TikTok and other social media platforms — not to finding entertaining videos, but for tips on how to save money on their energy bills! An analysis of the 50 most viewed hacks tagged “energy saving,” found clips about bleeding radiators gained the most traction, followed by only boiling enough water to fill your tea or coffee cup.

The third most popular videos on TikTok explain how to dry a bedsheet over a drying rack by a radiator. Tips for drought-proofing the house and using a slow cooker also made it into the top 10. The data comes from a poll which surveyed 2,000 homeowners and renters in the United Kingdom and found 15 percent are turning to social media platforms for advice on how to cut their energy bills.

That number rose to 32 percent among Gen Z respondents. Another 42 percent of those who head to TikTok, Facebook, or YouTube trust any hacks they view, even if they don’t come from experts or professionals. However, 42 percent of all respondents feel there is so much conflicting advice about energy use they are unable to separate fact from fiction.

British energy provider EDF commissioned the poll alongside its analysis of the top 50 trending pieces of energy saving video content across TikTok, Instagram, and ChatGPT. The data, collated between October 2022 and March 2023, found the advice given by most people on the platform was mostly factual.

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

“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.”

Thermostat, air conditioning
(© Olivier Le Moal – stock.adobe.com)

Data from the United Kingdom’s Energy Savings Trust highlights drought-proofing gaps as the number one way to help reduce energy bills, yet 73 percent of those looking for energy saving tips online have never tried this method. Across all adults polled, one in four said they’d be at least somewhat likely to try an energy saving tip they saw online, even if they weren’t sure it would work.

Meanwhile, 32 percent would “try anything” to save money and 29 percent would take the word of people in the comments who claimed it worked. One in five of those polled, via OnePoll, are more likely to believe a “real person” than information they get from a larger company.

Most Viewed Energy-Saving Hacks On TikTok:

  1. Bleed your radiators
  2. Only boil as much water as you need
  3. Use a drying rack near the radiator with a bed sheet over it to dry quicker
  4. Unplug appliances from walls
  5. Drought-proof the house
  6. Minimize time in the shower by lathering up before getting in then use the shower for a minute or less to wash off
  7. Use a slow cooker
  8. Turn off game consoles completely, as standby modes have high energy consumption
  9. Instead of using a tumble-dryer, hang clothes up on the wall with hooks, and place a dehumidifier next to them
  10. Turn down boiler flow temperature
  11. Strip plastic paint from traditionally built brick walls so water can evaporate properly from the bricks, rather than remaining in cracks in the paint and cooling homes down
  12. Take showers over baths where possible (unverified)
  13. Use cold water when washing your hands
  14. Open curtains and let natural daylight in
  15. Switch bulbs to LED
  16. Switch lights off when leaving a room
  17. Households being paid to cut energy
  18. Heat pumps are less efficient in winter and cost more
  19. Use a smart meter to see where in the home is using the most energy
  20. Programmer – set a timer for every Sunday you can set up your heating schedule
  21. Reduce thermostat by one degree to save over the year
  22. Put on a TRV to adjust how hot your radiator is
  23. Turn down radiators in hallways, bathrooms, and spaces where you don’t need the heat as much
  24. Pull your couch away from radiator and don’t have it covered by curtains
  25. Use a stick to remove dust from radiator pipes
  26. Save energy by only filling the washing machine drum to three-quarters (unverified)
  27. Adjust radiator valve to heat up room more efficiently
  28. Limit the amount of times you open your freezer
  29. Pay attention to appliances instructions as they often have tips on how to reduce energy consumption
  30. Choose energy efficient models when purchasing appliances

* Tips marked “unverified” have not been verified by EDF

South West News Service writer Richard Jenkins contributed to this report.

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