Urban legends. Folklores. Myths.
Call them what you want, but there are certain energy efficiency traditions that seem to withstand the test of time. So this week, we’re separating fact from fiction and rounding up five commonly-touted energy savings claims to hammer out the true details behind some leading efficiency myths.
Myth No. 1: Electric space heaters save money.
The Facts: Not hardly. Unless you plan to use the space heater for just a short period of time in a well-insulated room, you may as well crank up your furnace as the primary heat source. Electric space heaters require a significant amount of energy to operate, and running two at the same time could actually end up costing you more than turning on the furnace.
Myth No. 2: Closing vents reduces consumption.
The Facts: Reducing energy consumption through the heating and cooling system can be achieved by either lowering or raising the thermostat so that it runs less often or by using an energy star certified device. Closing air conditioning vents only redirects the flow of air and actually puts added pressure on the system.
Myth No. 3: New = Energy Efficient
The Facts: Building a new home or installing new windowpanes doesn’t always translate to energy savings. In the case of efficiency, age is really just a number. Design and construction play a much larger role in determining whether a product or a home is built in a way to ensure a more productive energy consuming environment.
Myth No. 4: Blasting the thermostat saves money by heating or cooling a home faster
The Facts: Cranking up the furnace or dropping the temperature on the air conditioner will not heat or cool your home any faster. Systems are built with a predetermined maximum level of power, which is only used when the unit is first turned on. Setting the temperature significantly higher or lower – rather than just adjusting the thermostat to the desired temperature – will only burn more energy in the long run and make the space either uncomfortably hot or cold.
Myth No. 5: Leaving lights on saves energy when you leave for short periods of time.
The Facts: Turning lights on or off does not require any significant draw of power. Leaving the lights on when rooms are unoccupied – even it’s just for a quick restroom break – will actually burn more energy than just turning the lights off altogether. So flip the switch next time you’re on the way out the door, even if you’ll just be gone for a few minutes.