If you’re like most homeowners, you’re always looking for ways to cut your costs around your home. In fact, you may have even googled “how to lower energy bills” at some point. With over 3.75 million results, however, it may be difficult to determine which advice is good and which may be a bit misleading. We totally understand your frustration. That’s why we’ve chosen five of the most common energy myths and debunked them for you.
#1 Most Heat is Lost Through Your Windows
False! Although a small portion of your energy bills may be seeping out of improperly sealed windows, it’s your walls that end up costing you the most in lost heating bills. Think about it; your walls have the largest surface area in your home, so there are more opportunities for heat to escape. Before replacing your windows, get your walls and attic insulated for the best return on your investment.
#2 Keep the Computer On to Save Money
Wrong. It’s a common misconception that it takes a lot of energy to power on your laptop or desktop computer. In fact, it wastes more energy by leaving your computer on all the time, even when it’s in sleep mode. Here’s the rule of thumb to follow if you truly want to save money: (1) use sleep mode on for short periods when you are not actively on your computer, and (2) turn it off when you go to sleep or won’t be on it for at least an hour or longer.
#3 Handwashing Dishes is Cheaper
Not likely. In general, handwashing your dishes will use more hot water than a dishwasher, which will cost you more money. Why? The newer dishwashers are energy efficient. If you have a much older model, however, it could be a toss-up. To ensure you are saving money either way, follow these tips:
- Don’t leave the water running. Fill the sink with hot water and use it for all dishes
- Use small amounts of soap to decrease suds and the need to rinse for long periods
- Consider wiping off your dishes and not rinsing at all
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full
- Don’t use the pre-rinse cycle (it wastes up to 20 gallons per load!)
- Let your dishes air dry instead of using the heat cycle
#4 Setting Your Thermostat Higher Will Warm a Room Faster
Not even close! If you want a room to warm up or cool down quicker, set it to the temperature you want to reach. Don’t raise it to 80 if 75 degrees is comfortable for you. And, likewise, don’t drop the setting to 60 degrees if you typically prefer it to be around 70. Moving your setting past the intended temperature doesn’t get it there any faster, but it could cost you more money. Most people forget to check until the room is too cool or too warm. By that time, you’ve already wasted energy. To avoid this, and to potentially save up to $180 a year in energy costs, consider installing a programmable thermostat.
#5 Wall Chargers Don’t Use Energy When Unplugged from Items
Guess again! If you have a teenager or college student at home, you’ve probably come across a few wall chargers plugged into the wall but nothing attached at the other end, right? Did you know those little “energy vampires” are still sucking up electricity and running up your bill? According to Energy.gov, phone chargers not only consume .26 watts of energy when left plugged in without a phone, but also 2.24 watts of power when a fully charged phone is still attached. Leaving chargers in outlets when not in use can even raise your monthly utility bill by as much as 10 percent.
For help with making your North Florida home more energy efficient, contact Cool Connections today at (904) 685-1582 or visit our website for more information.