Inspired by Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis’s “heat the person, not the home” mantra, Danielle Kate Wroe tried out a USB hand warmer to help reduce her energy bills and was left feeling “pleasantly surprised”.
The devices are said to cost less than 1p per hour to run, and the cost per week would be 4p. With an up-front cost of just £15, the Mirror journalist said: “It just seems to make sense”.
This comes at a time when energy bills have shot up approximately 50 percent more on average compared to 2021, leaving many concerned about the costs of heating their home as the colder season approaches.
A recent study commissioned by National Debtline found more than one in five people (22 percent) say they have cut back on food and other essentials in order to keep up with energy bills (an estimated 11.6 million people).
Two-thirds (66 percent) say they will reduce how much they use the heating this winter. Meanwhile, millions of people have sold personal possessions (nine percent, 4.7 million), used their overdraft (seven percent, 4 million) and turned to high-cost credit (four percent) in an effort to stay on top of rising energy costs.
Writing in an article for the Mirror, Ms Wroe said she was “sceptical” about how effective the hand warmer would be in keeping her warm, but was shocked to find it did actually work.
Ms Wroe said: “On setting one, I was pleasantly surprised – it heats up incredibly quickly and immediately made my hands reasonably warm. It certainly did make some difference to my overall temperature whilst I was holding it.”
However, she noted: “The hottest setting is certainly where the magic happens – I was blown away at just how much heat actually radiates from the tiny little pebble. There was no discomfort or burning, and I found it very toasty after holding it for a while.”
Calculating the savings, Ms Wroe said: “I pay roughly £190 per month for gas and electricity for a two-bedroom apartment, and according to British Gas, the average cost across the country is £152.83.
“If I used this hand warmer instead of cranking the heating on for two hours a day, I would save approximately £4.97. If I used central heating for an hour less each day, the savings would be roughly £2.49.
“In terms of charging the device, it would cost 32p per hour of charging – and it wouldn’t need more than that to last for a decent amount of time.”
Ms Wroe said her “final verdict” was that “Martin Lewis is definitely right” when he suggests heating the person first, not the home.
She continued: “What’s the point in having the heating blazing while you’re sat in shorts and a T-shirt? You may as well save your hard-earned cash for something else.
“I’d be less inclined to switch the heating on as much with this device nearby as it does get really hot – if everyone in your household had access to one then you can move it around to the part of your body that needs an extra bit of warmth.”