10 Common Energy Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

When searching for energy-saving tips, it is extremely common to stumble across both energy myths and realities. Whether you’re wondering if you should keep your air conditioning vents open or closed or if your appliances use energy when they are turned off, there are plenty of energy myths out there that can lead you astray. Here at Think Energy, we want you to have the knowledge to pinpoint these common energy myths and avoid them.

Here are 10 common energy myths that you shouldn’t believe and why:

1. Keeping a fan on cools a room.

Fans are designed to move air around, not to cool air. Having a fan on allows people inside of the room to feel cooler, but not the air in the room itself. Leaving a fan on when you leave your home is simply wasting energy while the room temperature is not cooling off at all.[1]

2. Setting the thermostat temperature to a higher degree heats the home faster.

No matter what temperature you set your thermostat, your furnace or boiler will work equally as hard and fast to meet that goal. The only difference achieved by setting the temperature to a higher degree is that the system will work for a longer period of time, therefore using more energy. The same applies to air conditioners when set to a lower temperature than desired.[2] Another downfall of setting the heat higher is that eventually the air conditioner may kick on to cool the room back down to your actual desired temperature.[3]

3. Closing vents and registers in unused rooms saves energy.

All systems produce enough airflow to fill their ductwork systems and will continue to do so even if one or more of the air vents in your household are closed. Closing AC vents simply redirects the airflow into other rooms of the home via other open vents. With this extra airflow being transferred to other open vents, the overall air pressure increases and the system works even harder. Closing vents to save energy is a nice thought but never the actual case.[4]

4. Hand-washing dishes rather than running them through the dishwasher can save you energy.

Hand-washing a load of dishes requires a lot of hot water, and therefore a lot of energy. Today, most dishwashers have energy-efficient settings. These settings typically allow you to run a load of dishes using less water and less energy.[5]

5. Appliances don’t use energy when they are turned off.

Thanks to standby power settings, most appliances constantly use energy in order to be ready for immediate usage.[6] These “energy vampires” cannot be turned completely off without unplugging the device altogether.[7] 

6. Leaving a light on uses less energy than turning it off and on several times.

Even though a higher level of current is needed to turn on a light, this higher level is only used for a fraction of a second. When a light is kept on, it uses a lower level of power but for much longer. Leaving a light on for longer than a few seconds uses more energy than turning it off and back on as needed.[8]

7. Electronic chargers don’t use energy if plugged in and disconnected from the device.

Although this may be true for some chargers, most chargers use “vampire power” while plugged in but not connected to their device. If your charger feels warm to touch, it is most likely using vampire power. It is best to just assume that all of your chargers use this type of power and to unplug them when they are not being used.[9]

8. Most heat is lost through windows.

While heat can be lost through windows, window heat loss is only a small percentage of the total heat loss in a home. Typically, walls account for much more heat loss because of their large surface area. It’s best to consider insulating walls before upgrading windows since heat loss through windows is usually minimal.[10]

9. It’s cheaper to keep the heat on all the time on a low setting.

Keeping the heat on all the time means that you are warming areas of your house that do not need to be warmed 24/7. This constant heat usage is an incredible waste of energy. Turning the heat off while a room is unoccupied saves energy without causing discomfort. Another good fact to keep in mind is that homes and their contents store heat very effectively, allowing them to stay warm for a long time after the heat is turned off.[11]

10. Sleep mode or hibernate mode is just fine for computers overnight.

Putting your computer into sleep or hibernate mode, rather than shutting it down, suspends it from waking and sleeping modes. Quite a lot of energy is used to accomplish this state so that the computer can be ready to pop back on at a moment’s notice. It is best to shut your computer down all the way overnight or when you are planning on not using it for a while.[12] 

These are some of the many energy myths you may see or hear at some point, so when you hear them again, don’t pay attention to them. If you’re really looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, it is important to research and find credible sources to help you. At Think Energy, we work to be unsurprising and honest, so you can always trust us to provide you with the skinny on how to slim down your energy bill.

[1] http://www.resnet.us/library/five-common-energy-saving-myths/

[2] http://www.energysquaredllc.com/5-common-energy-myths-debunked

[3] http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com/sites/default/files/14%20common%20energy%20myths%20busted.pdf

[4] http://www.offthegridnews.com/grid-threats/top-20-energy-efficiency-myths/

[5] http://www.resnet.us/library/five-common-energy-saving-myths/

[6] http://www.offthegridnews.com/grid-threats/top-20-energy-efficiency-myths/

[7] http://www.energysquaredllc.com/5-common-energy-myths-debunked

[8] Ibid.

[9] http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com/sites/default/files/14%20common%20energy%20myths%20busted.pdf

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] http://www.offthegridnews.com/grid-threats/top-20-energy-efficiency-myths/


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