Some “tips” don’t actually trim your power consumption. Get the low-down on lowering your utility bills the right way.
April 1, 2015
By Andy Lindus
People once believed that a case of the hiccups indicated a person who disliked you was airing their grievances against you to someone else. The only remedy was for you to guess who was tarnishing your name.
It’s hard to imagine anyone would believe an old wives’ tale like this today.
But when it comes to energy efficiency, there’s some plausible-sounding advice out there that simply isn’t correct. Learn how to separate fact from some of the fiction floating around the Internet when it comes to conserving energy.
- Your fireplace is an excellent source of warmth
While it’s tough to beat sipping a hot chocolate by a roaring fire, doing so will not lower your energy bills.
Your fireplace has a damper that must be opened to vent the toxic gasses that burning wood produces. This is important for your lungs but awful in terms of energy efficiency, because having the damper open lets in as much outside air as an open window.
While the room you are in feels pleasant, the overall temperature in your home is prone to drop … which may have you turning up the thermostat.
- A chest freezer belongs in an unheated garage
This claim is easy to believe. That’s because freezers are cold, as are unheated garages. But the temperature of most garages fluctuates drastically season to season. This temperature variation can damage your freezer, because the motor has to work harder to standardize the temperature. The best place for a chest freezer is in your basement, where it’s consistently cool.
- Ceiling fans can cool a hot room
Ceiling fans circulate air, which cools our skin. But leaving a fan running in an empty room will do nothing to lower the temperature of the room.
- Hiking up your thermostat’s temperature will heat your home faster
As long as your furnace is running, it’s operating at maximum capacity. Turning up the temperature will only cause your furnace to run for a longer period, and could even make your home too hot.
- Electronics that are plugged in but in “off” mode don’t use power
Many electronic devices, whether switched on or off, are using ‘standby power’ if they are plugged in. To keep ‘vampire power’ from cellphone chargers and other devices from inflating your energy bills, unplug electronics when not in use.
- Closing vents in unused rooms will save you money
Keeping a vent closed affects how your HVAC system processes air and will cause the unit to work harder than it normally does, because the balance has been thrown off.
- Keeping electronics on continuously is better than turning them on and off frequently
This myth persists because when personal computers hit the market a few decades ago, they consumed gargantuan amounts of energy. This meant that it was better to keep them running, rather than shut them off after every use.
Today’s electronics are much more energy efficient and it’s now recommended to shut them off after each use.