More and more people are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, improving the environment for future generations. As trusted southeast Michigan heating, cooling, and plumbing professionals, we know that many homeowners have heard and read little pieces of “advice” here and there that they believe to be fact. Some of these energy efficiency “tips” are actually energy efficiency myths, and will end up costing you more in energy costs!
Energy Efficiency Myths
Most of the energy efficiency myths we will talk about below relate to leaving appliances, lights, and electronics on, rather than turning them off when not in use. You may be surprised to learn that what you have been doing is all wrong!
Energy is saved by using screen savers on your computer
Myth! While it doesn’t actually cost you more if you do use one, a screen saver does nothing to save energy. A screen uses the same amount of energy whether it is left on a website or spreadsheet, or with the screensaver on. If you need to leave your computer for a few minutes, just turn it off – that’s the only real way you will save energy.
Leaving the lights on saves more energy than turning them on and off.
Again, this is a myth! While this piece of advice applied mostly to fluorescent tube lighting, even with the energy-saving light bulbs available today it is more energy efficient to turn the lights off when you leave a room. Get into the habit, and it will save you a bundle. Industrial or commercial businesses may want to consider lighting that works through motion detection to eliminate the need for turning lights on and off.
Cooling a room costs less when you leave the ceiling fan on
This is a big myth – ceiling fans only cool the people who are in a room by circulating the air around, the actual room temperature doesn’t change at all. If a room is not occupied and you leave the ceiling fan on, it is a total – and costly – waste of energy. Air conditioning is the only “true” way to lower the temperature in a room. However, you don’t want to run your air conditioning unless you need it either, because it uses energy!
It costs more in energy to heat a cold building or space
Think it’s better to leave a boiler on overnight, so that the building doesn’t get as cold, and thus takes less time to heat up? False! The fact is a boiler works equally as hard whether maintaining a temperature or warming up to the desired temperature, so when you don’t actually need it, flip the switch to off.
You waste energy and “wear out” light bulbs and computers by repeatedly switching on and off
Not true! While older computers were more susceptible to damage caused by everyday wear and tear, today’s modern computers are tougher and more durable. If you are forgetful, utilize the ‘sleep’ and ‘hibernate’ power saving modes to avoid wasting energy. Turning lights on and off has no impact on their lifespan, as they are designed for this type of use. The takeaway? Turn lights and computers off when you’re not using them.
Maybe some of these myths got started by people who are simply just too lazy to turn things off, or perhaps at some point they were believed to be true. Regardless, there is no advantage energy-wise to leaving electronics, lights, boilers, or ceiling fans on when not in use!
Have questions about saving energy? At Haley Mechanical, our goal is to help Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and other homeowners in the southeast Michigan area save money on energy. Call us today for all of your heating, cooling, and electrical needs!