5 Energy Efficiency Myths Busted

1. Myth: Leaving a ceiling fan on will help cool the room.
Busted: Fans cool people, not rooms – fans work by circulating air in a room. When the breeze from the fan moves across the skin, we feel cooler even though the temperature in the room is still the same. So a ceiling fan in an empty room does no good as no one is there to feel it.

2. Myth: Cranking the thermostat up or down will make your home get warmer or cooler faster.
Busted: Thermostats are simple devices that direct the heating or cooling unit to turn “on” until a specific temperature is reached, at which time they direct the unit to turn “off.” Turning the thermostat higher or cooler than needed is a little like repeatedly pressing the button to make an elevator come faster; it feels like it is helping, but it’s not. Plus in doing so you run the danger of forgetting to reset the temperature therefore wasting energy.

3. Myth: Leaving lights, computers, and other appliances on uses less energy than turning them off and on repeatedly.
Busted: This used to be somewhat true, however modern technology can be turned off any time they aren’t needed and turned back on when they are, without any risk of wasting energy. The small surge of power created when some devices are turned on is vastly smaller than the energy used by running the device when it is not needed.

4. Myth: Washing dishes by hand uses less energy than running an electric dishwasher.
Busted: Hand washing generally uses more hot water per load than using a dishwasher; however the key here is to use the dishwasher efficiently. Most modern dishwashers don’t require pre-rinsing of dishes; and according to Consumer Reports, this practice wastes up to 20 gallons of water per load without getting dishes any cleaner. Don’t bother with the “rinse hold” on your machine, for the same reason. Wait to run the dishwasher until you have a full load of dishes, but don’t overload the machine. The energy-saving control offered on many dishwashers will turn off the heat during the drying cycle, which will also help keep the kitchen cooler in the summer.

5. Myth: Simply turning unused appliances off will save energy.
Busted: Now, at first glance, this seems true. Turning gadgets and appliances off when they’re not needed will save energy. However, it doesn’t mean that you’re realizing 100% of your energy savings. Leaving things off but still plugged in subjects you to vampire power— you electronics and appliances are still using electricity from the wall. This is especially true with things that actually go into standby mode when turned off, such as a television, computer monitor, gadget charger, microwave and most definitely anything that has a lit display even when supposedly off. These items are still using energy to keep running, even when you think they’re shut down.

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