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5 Energy Saving Myths

by Ann Ryan


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If you are someone who likes to stretch a dollar, then you will want to take special notice when it comes to saving on utilities. If you are seeking ways to cut down on your utility expense, then make sure you are not following tenets that actually, today, amount to old wives' tales.

The following fallacies and myths will help you avoid following practices toward saving that, in reality, are misconceptions or falsehoods.

Myth #1 - If you close off the vents in the house, you will reduce the amount you pay on heating. Actually, if you close off the vents in your home and you own a forced air furnace, you will throw the system out of whack as closing off the ventilation will cause the system to work harder. That's because the air cannot be evenly distributed throughout the house. Plus, the rooms that are shut off from the heat will draw heat from the rooms that are already warm. In turn, the whole house will feel colder.

Myth #2 - Using fiberglass insulation will keep cold air from entering the home. While fiberglass does a commendable job at keeping a house comfortably warm, it is not an end-all solution. If there are any cracks or drafts anywhere in the home, cold air will find its way inside, regardless of the amount of insulation that is installed. Air sealing will assist you in plugging any gaps or holes that invite in the cold.

Related: Beat Energy Costs: Insulation

In fact, chances are the ceiling in your home has what equates to a two-foot sized square that is drafting warm air into the attic and sucking in icy air around the windows and doors. You cannot see this hole because it is comprised of a number of smaller openings. These kinds of gaps exist around light fixtures, the chimney, and plumbing pipes. The holes are also hidden beneath insulation. In order to ensure that the use of the insulation is optimized, the holes need to be plugged and sealed.

Myth #3 - Leaving the ceiling fans on in your home will cool the area, even when you are at work or away for the day. You don't want to run the ceiling fans when you are not at home as you simply will be wasting electricity. Fans work to cool your skin but do not change the temperature in the room. If you run a fan when you are not around, you simply are wasting valuable electricity.

Related: What's That Little Switch On My Ceiling Fan?

Myth #4 - Buying a high-efficiency HVAC system will instantly reduce utilities. While a high-energy HVAC system can help you save money, you have to be careful about how the system is installed and make sure it is properly sized. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that improperly installed and poorly sized equipment can cause homeowners to waste as much as one-third of the energy consumed.

Related: Buy a New Air Conditioner?

Myth #5 - The higher the thermostat is set, the faster the house will get warm. The level that you set your thermostat has no bearing on the amount of heat that is delivered. If you set the thermostat at the desired temperature, the house will warm just as quickly as when it is set at a higher temperature. Plus, you will probably have to reduce the temperature anyway, which will cause you to use more energy.

Related: How to Install a Programmable Thermostat


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