Hot summers can lead to high energy bills, but not if your home is energy efficient!
But some energy efficient practices are simply myths and won’t help you reduce your energy bill at all. Here are 5 of the most common summer energy efficiency myths:
Myth 1. Leaving ceiling fans on keeps rooms cooler.
Wrong. Fans work by circulating air, thereby creating a breeze, which makes you feel cooler when it hits your skin. The temperature in the room, however, never changes. Therefore, a ceiling fan that’s running in an empty room isn’t cooling anything and is only adding to your electricity cost.
Myth 2. Setting a lower indoor temperature cools your home faster.
Wrong. Thermostats work by directing the HVAC to reach a certain temperature, and then will turn off. The thermostat will turn on again to maintain the set temperature if it senses a change. Therefore, setting a lower temperature won’t help cool your house faster. Instead, it presents the danger of you forgetting to reset your thermostat to your ideal temperature and thereby wasting energy. The best thing to do is just set the thermostat to the temperature you want.
Myth 3. It's best to always shut off the central air conditioning when you go out.
Misleading. The problem is that central air conditioning requires a lot of energy to cool down a house that’s hot. Of course, keeping the system running continuously for the entire day while you’re out is even more wasteful. The answer? Invest in a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can start cooling down your home shortly before you come back, so that you step into a house that’s set to your ideal temperature. And, it avoids the wasteful practice of either leaving the air conditioning on all day, or turning it completely off when you leave.
Myth 4. Closing air vents in unused rooms saves energy.
Not true. The way most central air systems work is by distributing air throughout the entire home. Therefore, by closing a vent, all you’re doing is preventing the system from delivering air to that area. Instead of saving energy, you might actually be putting an additional strain on your system, which could lead to accelerated wear and tear. And that means more costs.
Myth 5. Air conditioning is the only way to really beat the heat in summer!
Air conditioning feels great, but it’s not the only way to stay cool. Many people use combinations of ceiling, table and floor fans to keep their homes cool. Other options include:
- Close windows and curtains in the morning before the heat sets in, and then open them in the evening to flush your house with cooler air.
- Plant trees on your home’s southern and western exposures to create natural shade.
- Properly insulate your attic and equip it with a fan to blow hot air out of the attic outside.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent and LED ones. Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat as well as higher costs.
Editor's Addendum. Air conditioning makes extreme demands on our energy grid. If you're building new or remodeling, consider a geothermal cooling system, which may cost more up front, but uses a fraction of the energy required by central air conditoning.—Matt Power, Editor-in-Chief
This content was originally published by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) here. This content has been republished with the permission of RESNET. RESNET is the independent, national nonprofit organization that homeowners trust to improve home energy efficiency and realize substantial savings on their utility bills. RESNET’s industry-leading standards are recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.