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Somebody Told Me…

 Somebody Told Me…

We all have a “somebody” in our lives who is the source of a wealth of information—some true and some not so reliable. “Somebody” has spread a lot of myths about saving energy, and we’d like to set the record straight.

Myth: Leaving a light on uses less energy than turning it off and on several times.

Even though a higher level of current is needed to turn on a light, this higher level is only used for a fraction of a second. When a light is kept on, it uses a lower level of power but for much longer. Leaving a light on for longer than a few seconds uses more energy than turning it off and back on as needed.

Myth: Appliances don’t use energy when they are turned off.

Thanks to standby power settings, most appliances constantly use energy to be ready for immediate usage. These “energy vampires” cannot be turned completely off without unplugging the device altogether.

Myth: Closing air registers saves energy.

Forced-air heating systems are designed to operate with all of the registers open. The blower won’t perform as well with registers closed and can create whistling in the ducts. In some cases, duct systems have so many leaks that closing a register won’t force more warm air into other rooms—it will force more air out of the leaks.

Myth: Hand-washing dishes rather than running them through the dishwasher can save energy.

Hand-washing a load of dishes requires a lot of hot water and therefore a lot of energy. Today, most dishwashers have energy efficient settings that typically allow you to run a load of dishes using less water and less energy than washing by hand.

Myth: Electronic chargers don’t use energy if plugged in and disconnected from the device.

Most chargers use power while plugged in but not connected to their device. If your charger feels warm to touch, it is most likely using power. It is best to just assume that all of your chargers waste energy when left plugged in, so unplug them when they are not being used.

Myth: Most heat is lost through windows.

While heat can be lost through windows, window heat loss is only a small percentage of the total heat loss in most homes. Typically, walls account for much more heat loss because of their large surface area. It’s best to consider insulating walls before upgrading windows.

Myth: Replacing windows is a good investment.

New windows can increase security and comfort, but they’ll take 20–30 years to pay for themselves. Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane low-e windows will save energy and money, but in a house with 20 windows, it’ll take you almost 24 years to recoup the cost of the new windows. That being said, if you plan to stay in your home and the existing windows are drafty and in disrepair, it’s probably a good idea to replace them.

Myth: Sleep mode is just fine for computers overnight.

Your computer continues to draw quite a lot of power in sleep mode so that the computer can be ready to pop back on at a moment’s notice. It is best to shut your computer down all the way overnight or when you are planning on not using it for a while.