In today’s society, people more than ever are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. This includes efforts to be energy efficient at home and at work, promoting conservation of the Earth’s resources but also the conservation of your paycheck. Many people opt to undergo annual furnace tune-ups or purchase new windows – but do these practices actually save energy?
It turns out there are many pieces of advice that have been doled out over the years regarding saving energy that turned out to be useless. Many scientists have dedicated their time to analyzing energy efficiency tips to see whether or not they actually will save people energy and, therefore, money. Some tips are a bit silly – such as loosening all but one light bulb on a chandelier – while others may surprise you. Check out this list of some of the interesting and/or dumb things that people think may save them energy and money – but don’t.
The best investment to save energy is installing new windows
One of the most common energy saving myths out there is that replacing your windows is the best way to kick-start your quest for an energy-efficient home. However, the cost of taking out old single-pane windows and installing new double-pane, low-e windows actually take quites a long time to recuperate. Yes, the windows will save you a bit of money, but the payback period is larger when compared to other home improvements that can be made.
Close the vents in areas of the home that are used less often
This myth is quite surprising to many people, as it seems like closing heating or cooling vents would therefore lead to less energy use. But HVAC systems are designed to be a balanced system, meaning if you close a supply vent it could put strain on other areas of the home. This leads to increased energy usage, not less – not to mention the chilly temperature of the guest room for the holiday visitors that arrive in the winter.
Turning lights on takes up energy so leaving them on is fine
Many people are under the assumption that turning on a light takes up more energy than leaving it on for a short time – this is totally false! Flipping that light switch up draws no extra energy whatsoever, meaning that if you’re leaving a room for more than a few minutes you should turn off the lights. This is a good habit to practice – especially since people often leave rooms for longer than they originally anticipated – forgetting the lights are on at all. Talk about a money waster!
Getting an HVAC inspection and tune up every year is necessary
Sorry, all of you heating and cooling folks out there – giving your home an HVAC checkup every year or even two years has no real effect on energy efficiency. It is important to maintain your vents and filters, but the cost of having a professional come out and do a thorough inspection will nearly always cost more than you would actually save over time. This is not to say that HVAC companies are trying to scam homeowners – there are some problems where these professionals should be brought in. But a so-called “tune-up” is unnecessary and potentially a waste of cash.
Washing dishes by hand saves more energy than running a dishwasher
This is one of the most common – and biggest – energy-saving myths out there. What people do not realize is that most modern dishwashers are designed to use less water and energy than the traditional hand-washing of pots and pans. It may make sense to hand-wash dishes sometimes, particularly if you have only used a couple of plates or the item is hand-wash only. However, most people unknowingly waste a lot of hot water when hand-washing dishes, therefore costing them more money out of pocket over time than the cost of buying a new appliance.