8/7/2014

Common Home Energy Myths

There are a number of ways to save a home’s energy and use energy more efficiently on a daily basis. While many common energy tips are helpful in achieving these goals, some tips are more useful than others. Before implementing a home energy-efficiency strategy, homeowners should do their research to make sure their efforts count.

Myth #1 “Off” Means No Energy Use

Many believe that electronics and appliances only use power when they’re turned on. While these items certainly use less energy when turned off, you’re still not saving 100 percent of your energy. Electronics and appliances that are turned off still use “vampire power,” or standby power that’s used even when the item itself isn’t in use.

The surefire way to avoid spending this extra energy is to unplug the item from the wall socket. Another option is to plug items into power strips that feature switches to cut power to the items plugged into them. These methods will ensure that items do not continue to suck electricity even when they are not in use.

Myth #2 Off-and-on Uses Extra Energy

When leaving a room for just a few minutes, some individuals may leave the light on instead of turning it off and then back on upon their return. The myth behind this is that turning a light off then back on uses more energy than simply leaving it on for those few extra minutes. However, there is no significant power use involved in turning on a light. When you leave a room even for a bit, always turn off the light in the interest of energy efficiency.

Myth #3 Higher Temperature Heats Homes Faster

In the winter, individuals often experience occasions where they want heat, and they want it fast. In an effort to speed up the heating time of their home, some may raise the temperature of their thermostat when first turning it on. However, it is a myth that a higher initial temperature will heat a home faster. The temperature on a thermostat does not influence the rate at which heat is distributed throughout the home.

This technique actually uses more energy, which essentially equates to a waste of energy. Homeowners who are unhappy with the time it takes to feel their heating should consider home renovations such as better insulation, air sealing, and heat recovery ventilation. Quality insulation and air sealing can reduce the amount of heat that escapes the home through windows, walls, and flooring. As a result, the home will retain more heat and thus warm up faster.  A high-efficiency Heat Recovery Ventilator such as Zehnder’s systems can go a long way in maintaining a comfortable temperature in an energy-efficient home.  These systems can recover over 90% of the heat of the building while simultaneously providing continuous fresh air to the home.  Since over 90% of the heat can be recovered, the constant comfortable temperature of the home is usually no more than a few degrees from room temperature even during a cold winter day.