All over the world, people are looking to save energy. Not only has this become a practical way to save money and the environment, it’s almost becoming a hot, new trend! Although that is terrific news, the downside is that when things become trendy, they also tend to generate a lot of misinformation. With that in mind, in this article we will be busting many energy-saving myths that may be floating around.
Common energy-saving myths
Screensavers save energy: Because a screensavers works as a program running on your computer screen, it still suck energy. To be conservative with your computer, it is best to put it into sleep mode if you are going to be away on a temporary basis. When you are done with it for the day, shut it down completely.
Keeping your heating and cooling on low all day will save energy: This is a partial myth. Yes, setting thermostats to moderate temperatures will help to conserve energy. However, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to keep heating and cooling units on all day. Turn them off when you are leaving the house. If you would like to return to a home that is set to a comfortable temperature, program your units so they begin heating or cooling shortly before you are due to return home.
Dishwashers are huge energy suckers: Although dishwashers have been known to use a lot of energy, there are ways you can use yours to make it more eco-friendly. Be sure to only wash full loads, stack dishes properly and choose a lower temperature for loads that aren’t too dirty. Energy Star dishwashers and other appliances will also always be the most conservative option. With these helpful tips, using a dishwasher can even end up using fewer natural resources than you would use when washing-up by hand.
Turning your heating or cooling to maximum will make your home comfortable more quickly: A lot of people think that if they turn their heating or cooling systems to a maximum temperature, it will heat or cool off their homes more quickly. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact is, turning your home’s systems to maximum will make them heat up or cool off just as quickly, but will cause your system to work harder to reach those temperatures. You will also be wasting energy as your systems will be operating at temperatures that are higher or lower than those that are recommended, even if it may be for just a brief amount of time.
Electric convector heaters are cheaper than central heating: Though many argue back and forth on this one, the truth is, no matter how little energy your convector heater uses, central heating will always be the cheaper option. Not only is a central heater less expensive to run, it will keep the room or rooms warmer for a longer time.
Going solar requires you to leave the grid: Many have heard the expression, ‘going off the grid’ and might think that using solar energy is a part of this. However, the term refers to living autonomously without reliance on a utility for power. When relying on solar, in most cases there is still some reliance on the grid. The panels produce power in the day spinning the meter backwards, but there is still the need for energy use at night, although rates will be lower for solar customers during this time.
Closing a vent saves energy: If you have central air in your house, you may think that closing a vent is going to save energy since you are no longer allowing air into that room. However, while the vent may be closed, your system is actually working even harder than it would be if the vent were open. When the vent is closed, the system is still distributing the same amount of air, only now you are restricting air at the closed vent. This will cause the system to redistribute the air to other parts of the house, only now it is working harder since there is back pressure on the fan.
New homes are more efficient than older homes: Newer homes were built in times when people were becoming more eco-friendly, so it is reasonable to think that these homes might be more energy-efficient than older ones. However, this is not necessarily the case. Whether or not a home is energy efficient depends on its design and construction. Therefore, it is best to go through a home to see if there are things you can do save energy, regardless of when it was built.
Replacing windows is a good way to save energy: While replacing your windows is an energy-saving step, the amount of energy you will end up saving may be less than you would think. The energy saved will depend on a number of factors including the number of windows you replace, their orientation, overhang and location and the climate of the area you live in. When you consider all this against the cost of replacing your windows, you may find that it is not as worthwhile an investment as one would think.
Most heat is lost through windows: Another reason why replacing windows is not the best way to save energy is due to the fact that windows are not the biggest factor when considering how your home loses heat. Window heat loss is only responsible for a small amount of heat loss in the home. Walls are actually the biggest culprit when it comes to heat loss making it a smart idea to insulate your walls to keep heat in.
Using an electric space heater saves money: Although many might think these smaller units are the energy efficient way to go, the truth is that electricity is typically 4 to 10 times the price of natural gas. Therefore, running just two of these space heaters can cost the same as running the entire house on a gas powered system.
Turning a light off and on uses more power than leaving it on: Many people believe that turning a light on uses a surge of power and it is therefore better to leave a light on when leaving a room briefly as opposed to turning it off and turning it back on upon returning. This is another myth. The truth is, turning a light on does not use any extra power. Therefore, it is always best to turn off a light when you are leaving a room…no matter how long you plan to be gone for.
Leaving a fan on makes a room cooler: While it may feel refreshing when a fan blows air on your face, a fan doesn’t actually do anything to cool the air in a room. Many leave their fans on believing it will lower the temperature in the room, but this is not true and doing so can only serve to waste money and energy.
Appliances don’t use energy when they are turned off: Even if an appliance is turned off, it can still draw energy from a power source in order to be ready for immediate usage. Therefore, it is best, not just to shut appliances off when they are not in use, but to unplug them completely. This goes for phone chargers as well. These gadgets will use energy when plugged in, even if they are not charging a phone.
LED lights are bad for your health: There are a number of rumours floating around that claim that LED lighting may cause cancer, blindness and a number of other conditions. Because the lighting is known to affect circadian rhythm, it could take some adjustment for new users. However, there is no proof that it can cause any adverse effects on health.
Saving energy is not only good for the environment, it is a money-saving option for home and office, making it a win-win situation all around. However, it’s a good idea to do some research to make sure the methods you are using are actually saving you money and not costing more in the long run. Learn how to distinguish energy-saving facts from energy-saving myths to stay eco-friendly and keep your wallet fat!
You might also be interested in Johnathan Thurston’s energy saving tips to help you understand your own your energy-saving.