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Energy-saving Myths


Energy-saving myths

Eco Consumer

Dollars & Sense


Energy-saving myths

It’s important to separate conservation fact from fiction

Drawing up a checklist of energy-saving steps for your home or business? It’s a good idea, but first make sure you’ve culled any steps that are based on misinformation, outdated technology, or intuition that doesn’t stand up to proof. Some of these energy-saving myths may surprise you.

Fluorescent lights cost more than incandescent, and burn out faster if turned off and on frequently. In general, turn off fluorescents if you won’t need them for at least 15 minutes.

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Eco Consumer

I knew that—these myths are old news

Some energy-saving myths have long been debunked and their falsity widely publicized. They include:

Electronic gear consumes no power when it’s turned off.
Electronics that go into standby mode, such as televisions, computer monitors, and microwave ovens, suck more power than devices where off means off.

It’s better to leave a light or appliance on than to switch it off and on again.
This advice once had validity, but you can turn off modern lights, computers, and other gadgets whenever you don’t need them without shortening their life spans.

Turning your thermostat way down or way up will make your home cool or heat faster.
Just set the thermostat to the temperature you really want. You’ll get there just as fast, and you won’t waste energy overshooting the mark.

Heating one room with an electric space heater uses less energy than heating a whole house with central heating.
That’s rarely true, because space heaters are such energy gluttons.

Leaving a ceiling fan on when you’re out of a room helps keep it cool.
Ceiling fans have no effect on room temperature. Fans cool people by moving air rapidly across their skin.

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Dollars & Sense

Really? Debunking more myths

Other energy-saving myths haven’t gotten as much press, including:

You should close registers in unused rooms.
In well-insulated homes, closing registers saves no energy, and it can throw forced-air heating and cooling systems out of whack.

It takes more energy to cool a house if you keep the air conditioner off all day rather than leaving it on at a higher temperature.
One long cooling cycle at the end of a hot day will consume less energy than a series of short cycles during the time you’re out of the house.

Washing dishes by hand uses less energy than running an electric dishwasher.
The opposite is true. To maximize energy saving, avoid pre-rinsing dishes, wait until the dishwasher is full before running it, and don’t use the heat cycle to dry dishes.

Duct tape is good for sealing ducts.
Duct tape came in last in tests of 32 sealants. The best sealant for ducts is mastic, a gooey substance that hardens after it is painted on.

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