7 Myths About Energy Costs
We’ve all heard clever ways to cut energy costs from Mom, Dad, or Aunt Edna—but which are true and which are old wives’ tales? Read on for some common myths about slashing energy costs.
- Your computer’s screen saver helps to conserve energy.
This simply isn’t true. Whether your screen saver is a family photo or just an abstract color design, treat that graphic requires energy to run just like any other application. However, you can save energy by setting your computer to automatically go into sleep mode—or for the monitor to turn off completely—after a period of inactivity. For maximum savings, be sure to shut off your computer when it’s not on use.
- Closing off vents saves energy.
Keeping unused rooms colder in winter and hotter in summer won’t do you any financial favors. You pay for the amount of energy that is emitted from the HVAC unit, not the amount that is expelled from vents. In fact, closing off vents actually causes the air pressure to increase, which can potentially damage components of your compressor. Instead, if there are many rooms that don’t need to be heated or cooled, consider turning off the system completely and using a portable fan or space heater instead.
- It takes more energy to turn a light off and back again than to just leave it on.
Turning on a light bulb does not require any extra energy, so it’s always wise to flip the switch when you leave the room, even if you’ll be returning soon.
- You can save money by turning off devices.
If a device is turned off but still plugged in, it will continue to use energy. This type of lost energy—often referred to as “vampire power”—represents up to a quarter of U.S. utility expenses. Get into the habit of unplugging devices between uses, or plug them into a power strip that can be easily turned off and on.
- Using a space heater is cheaper than running the furnace.
Electric energy is up to 10 times more expensive than the natural gas used by furnaces. It would most likely be more economical to heat your entire house with the furnace than to run just two space heaters.
- New homes are all efficient these days.
Although it seems like this should be true, unfortunately it’s not. The building materials, design, and construction are what determine a home’s efficiency, not its age. While today’s builders and consumers are more aware of the need for sustainability, that doesn’t mean all new homes reflect that awareness.
- Turning up the thermostat will heat the house faster.
Regardless of what number you set the thermostat, the furnace will run at its maximum capacity (or close to it) for the first few minutes. By setting the thermostat higher, you’re placing a higher demand on your HVAC system, which could actually increase utility costs.
If you’d like to ensure your home’s efficiency and identify potential cost savings, contact us to schedule a whole-house energy audit.