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Five Common Energy-saving Myths

May 2, 2014

There are a lot of energy-saving tips out there that claim to help you reduce your energy costs and increase your financial savings. Unfortunately, they’re not all true. Here are five of the most common energy-saving myths.

1. Keeping a Ceiling Fan Running Cools the Room
Rooms don’t feel hot – people do. Therefore, there’s no benefit to running a fan in an empty room; it just wastes electricity and money. The way a fan works is by circulating the air in the room, which when it makes contact with skin, makes us feel cooler. It doesn’t actually change the temperature of the room. A better option is to turn the fan off when you leave the room and save on the energy cost.

2. Setting the Thermostat Higher Heats Your Home Faster
You might think that by walking into a cold room and cranking the thermostat up to 88˚F is going to make the room heat up faster. You would be wrong. It’s like repeatedly pressing the elevator button to make it come faster: it’s not going to make a difference. Thermostats direct a home’s HVAC system to heat or cool to a certain temperature; setting a higher temperature won’t influence the speed at which a home is heated. In fact, you may waste energy by forgetting to reset the temperature once the home has been heated. Instead, simply set the thermostat to your ideal temperature. The same principle applies to cooling a house.

3. Turning Your Computer on and off Wastes Energy
This is a very common energy-saving myth. Today’s computers are more energy efficient than ever before, and by turning them off when not in use, you can save a great deal of energy and money. You can also take advantage of built-in energy-saving features such as the “sleep” function that essentially puts your computer to sleep when not in use and wakes it when you go back to it. Again, this saves what would otherwise be a lot of wasted energy.

4. Closing Vents and Registers in Unused Rooms Saves Energy
HVACs function as balanced systems; by closing off one vent, it places a strain on other areas of the system, forcing it to use more energy rather than less. There’s no point in shutting off vents and registers in an effort to save energy – you’re probably doing the opposite instead. A better way is to set the thermostat a couple of degrees higher in summer or lower in winter.

5. Save Energy by Washing Dishes by Hand Instead of the Dishwasher
What many people may not realize is that hand washing dishes actually uses more hot water per load than using a dishwasher. Many modern dishwashers have energy efficiency settings that use less water and energy to keep costs down. Take advantage of these settings to save money and energy when doing your dishes.

For more energy-saving tips, visit the RESNET SmartHome. The typical American family spends nearly $2,000 a year on energy, and unfortunately a lot of that money goes on wasted energy. To find out more on how to save money and energy, contact your local certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor for an energy audit.

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