“So much of what we know….just ain’t true.” Will Rogers, commentator
Myth #1: Your first major energy upgrade should be replacing your old windows, right? Wrong. Of all energy upgrades, replacement windows tend to save the least energy per dollar invested because they are so expensive. Yes, new windows will improve comfort, upgrade appearance, increase resale value and save energy, but don’t invest in new windows with the idea that energy savings alone will pay for your investment.
Myth #2: Your thermostat works like an accelerator: the higher you turn it up, the faster your home will heat up. False. Setting the thermostat all the way up will likely waste energy and increase your heating costs. Most furnaces deliver the same amount of heat whenever they’re operating, regardless of the thermostat setpoint. When your home needs heat, you should set the thermostat to the lowest level at which you are comfortable, then leave that setting alone.
Myth #3: Turning down your thermostat at night or when you’re gone really doesn’t save energy. Absolutely not true. Studies by utilities show that 5%-8% savings are typical by those homeowners who set back their thermostats 5 to 8 degrees overnight when sleeping and during the day when away from home.
Myth #4: Closing heating and cooling vents in rooms you don’t use will save energy. Usually not true. Heating and cooling ducts should be designed to move a certain of air pushed by what’s called the air handler or blower. Closing registers in rooms may reduce the total amount of air moved by the blower, which reduces its efficiency. Or the blower may force air out of duct leaks, including forcing it to the outdoors.
Myth #5: Use electric heaters to make some rooms warmer and keep the house cooler. Bad idea. In the Pueblo area, electricity from Black Hills Energy costs roughly three to five times more than warm air from a gas-heated furnace supplied by Xcel Energy. It makes more sense to use gas-heated air than electric space heaters in nearly all circumstances.
Myth #6: Window drapes save energy. Not usually true. While closing some drapes will reduce the amount of heat that your body will radiate to a window, thus improving comfort in one manner, air will nearly always circulate between the drape and the window. In fact, air isolated by the curtain from the room will cool and fall faster, speeding up heat lost by convection currents or air movement.
Myth #7: Ceiling fans cool off a room. Wrong. Moving air by ceiling or box fan will cool your skin at any temperature below 90 degrees. In fact, with a fan blowing air on them, many occupants can tolerate an additional 4 or 5 degrees of warmer air indoors before they turn on a high energy cooling device such as air conditioning. But while a room fan will improve comfort at a given temperature, it won’t chill the air. In fact, the fan’s motor generates a little heat in a room.
Myth #8: Leaving lights on uses less energy than turning it on and off several times. False. Furthermore, compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs both last a lot longer than the older generation of incandescent bulbs and can tolerate more on-off cycles. So turn the lights off when you leave the room!.
Sources include the US Dept. of Energy and the University of Oregon. V-1: 10-1-16