Energy efficiency lessons from the humble tea cosy!

 Whether you are a domestic or commercial energy user, the fundamental message in saving energy and using energy efficiently is always the same, make your current energy use as efficient as possible before you do wholesale changes to energy generators. This is particularly true where space heating is concerned. We all know the messages of “Switch off when out” and “Turn the heating down by one degree”.  However, neither will give you the savings or continued level comfort you desire if you live or work in a building that leaks energy from every nook and cranny. The starting point for improved energy efficiency has to be insulation – walls, roofs and windows. Be smart in using space heating effectively,  by stopping precious energy leaking away so quickly.  This message was clearly demonstrated to me recently whilst enjoying a cup of tea!

Let me explain more……

Like many people, my wife and I like to make Sunday our day of rest, a break before the hectic working week ahead. We enjoy a leisurely breakfast whilst reading the paper and listening to the radio. Essential to this is a plentiful supply of tea! So out comes our larger teapot ready to supply refills on demand. However, second and subsequent cups are never the same as the tea cools too quickly, so surplus tea is poured away and another pot brewed. Energy and water wasted. However, this all changed after a visit to my mother in law earlier this year when my wife returned with a tea cosy, made redundant by the purchase of one depicting a celebration of the recent Olympic Games!

With our tea cosy on, I was amazed how hot the tea remained and for how long.  Effective insulation in action so I decided to investigate further.


Thermal vision of the teapot

Thermal vision of the teapot

 The kettle was boiled and the teapot filled to the brim. I measured the water temperature and then left the uncovered pot for half an hour taking water temperature readings at 10 minute intervals.


 I then repeated the experiment but this time used the tea cosy.


The results below speak for themselves.


So next time you are out shopping and see a humble tea cosy, don’t dismiss as something only Grandma uses. Buy one and use it yourself and whilst your mind is alert to the benefits of insulation, get checking your roof, walls and windows and insulate where possible!

This entry was posted in energy efficiency, insulation, Yorkshire & North East and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Energy efficiency lessons from the humble tea cosy!

  1. Mairi says:

    It would be interesting to compare your results to a ceramic teapot, with and without tea cosy!

    • Tony Price says:

      Hi Mairi

      Thanks for the feedback. Yes it would be an interesting slant to the experiment. We do have a ceramic teapot, which is normally only brought out for Christmas and large family gatherings. I’ll see what I can do, time permitting!


  2. Tim Brittain says:

    we have the ultimate solution to heat loss from a teapot which is a tea cosy AND a cork mat which stops the loss of heat from the bottom of the pot and it keeps the tea warm even longer!!

    • Tony Price says:

      Hi Tim
      we use a silicon mat, which has proved not to be so good. Whilst we were doing the experiment, it allowed enough heat through to mark the table.Sounds like we need to invest in a cork mat!


  3. Tracey White says:

    Interesting results and an entertaining read! Thanks!

  4. Shamin says:

    I know this is an old post, but I was curious to try your experiment with a French Press and a tea cosy. With freshly boiled water, temperature started at 88 degrees, one hour later (68.1 degrees), 2 hours later (57.8 degrees), 3 hours later (47.8 degrees). I made my own cozy using thermal foil, batting, and fabric for front and back. I also used the same materials to make a mat for the Press to stand on. The humble cozy does indeed make a difference. (measurements in Celsius)

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