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Myths

Myth #1

"Switching lights on and off uses more energy than leaving them on.”

The switching process itself does not use extra energy. You save energy by switching lights off even if you are leaving the room for a short period.

 

Myth #2

"Air out your house every day in the winter since fresh air is easier to heat than stale air."

While you always need fresh air in your house, it is not easier to heat. By opening your windows and doors, you let in cold air that has to be heated, and let out air that is already warm. If you feel your house lacks proper ventilation, open a window slightly, use bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans or consider a more sophisticated ventilation system.

 

Myth #3

"I save energy by unplugging things like the toaster, blender, etc. when not in use."

Most appliances that are switched off do not use electricity even when they are plugged in. The exception is an appliance with an instant-on feature or a built-in clock, which consumes electrical energy even if shut off.

 

Myth #4

"Keep your freezer in an unheated garage so that in the winter, spring and fall, it doesn't have to work as hard."

Fluctuating temperatures are hard on your freezer's motor. It is actually easier on the motor and compressor of your freezer if the temperature is constant. The best location for a freezer is a basement where the surrounding air is cool.

 

Myth #5

"Air conditioners are costly to operate."

Air conditioners are actually more efficient than you may think. Air conditioners also filter and dehumidify air. It is important to match the unit power with the size of the room. Look for Energy Efficiency Rating (EER). The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is.

 

Myth #6

"Showers use less water than baths."

This depends on how long you like to shower and whether or not you have an energy-efficient shower head. To find out which uses more water for you, try a simple test. The next time you shower, plug the drain and let the water stay in the tub. At the end of your normal shower, check the water level. Is there more or less water than you use for a bath?

 

Myth #7

"Use plastic deflectors where ducts are beneath windows to direct heat."

This doesn't save any energy and can make the room less comfortable. Warm air registers are placed under windows to combat the cold air coming from the window. If air deflectors are used, they may create drafts by deflecting the warm air out and away from cold air at the window.

 

Myth #8

"Keeping your thermostat at the same level all winter is more energy efficient. Changing it frequently uses more energy."

If you turn down your heat when you go to bed and turn it up again in the morning, you will save money and energy. However, if you are only leaving the house on a short errand, it's probably best to not turn your thermostat down.

 

Myth #9

"When getting up at night, use a flashlight to avoid flicking the lights on and off and use battery-operated clocks and radios."

The cost of light from a flashlight is very expensive compared to electricity. It takes energy to make a battery and the amount of energy in the battery is very limited. Batteries lose their charge even when not being used. In addition, when you discard them, they can be an environmental hazard because they contain small amounts of mercury which can get into the ground.

 

Myth #10

"I turn off my electric hot water heater when I go away for the weekend (or overnight) to save money."

Turning your water heater off results in very little energy savings. Electric water heaters are well insulated so that they retain heat for a long time.