8 Myths About Saving Energy at Home
There’s no disputing that saving energy is a good thing. It’s good for the environment and your budget. What can be disputed, though, is how to go about saving energy at home. There are some widely held myths that we’d like to bust once and for all.
Myth #1: Close the vents in rooms you don’t use
Usually this does not save energy. The way a residential heating and cooling system is designed, the air handler (or blower) moves a certain amount of air no matter what vents are opened or closed. So, closing registers may reduce the total amount of air moved by the blower, which reduces its efficiency. Wondering if it’s time for a new furnace? Our experts offer advice to help you decide.
Myth #2: Replacing old windows is the best way to save on energy bills
False. Replacing windows is very expensive. While it’s true that new windows are more energy efficient and they make your home more comfortable and can raise the resale value, they won’t pay for themselves in energy savings. In fact, they tend to save the least energy per dollar invested because they are so expensive.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeld-Wen
Myth #3: Ceiling fans cool the room
It feels like fans cool the room, but really, they don’t. What they do cool is your skin, as long as the air temperature is below 90° F. Ceiling fans make you feel more comfortable, so you may require less air conditioning, but they don’t cool the air itself. In fact, the ceiling fan motor actually generates heat! Got a wobbly ceiling fan that’s driving you crazy? Here’s how to fix it.
Myth #4: During heating season, turning down the thermostat at night and when you’re out of the house doesn’t really save much energy
Not true! Utility companies have done studies that show 5 to 8 percent energy savings when the thermostat was turned back 5 to 8 degrees at night and during the day when no one was home. Check out these inexpensive ways to theft-proof your home.
Myth #5: When it’s cold outside, heavy curtains or drapes help save energy
Usually, this is not true. While you may feel fewer drafts when you’re near the window, the air between the cold window and the fabric cools and falls faster than the air in the rest of the room. So, if you like the look of cozy, heavy window coverings, consider it an aesthetic choice and not an energy-saving measure.
Photo: Courtesy of Brielle
Myth #6: Turn something off and it stops using electricity
Easy enough, right? Except it doesn’t really work that way. The problem is “vampire” electricity use, which is when something is plugged in and when you switch to “off” it continues to draw electricity to power their latent systems and sensors. This is true for microwaves, TVs, space heaters, coffeemakers, phone chargers, computers and more. Whenever possible, it’s best to pull the plug to save energy. Here’s how to save $100 or more by finding and fixing energy vampires.
Myth #7: The higher up you turn the thermostat, the faster your house will heat up
Nope! It just doesn’t work that way. Jacking up the thermostat wastes energy. Set your thermostat at the temperature at which you’re comfortable and leave it there. Check out our DIYers guide to heating repairs.