Measuring and controlling your home’s energy consumption is a little tricky. There are plenty of talking heads and information resources on the internet that tell you how it’s supposed to work, but in most cases you’ll find that so called common knowledge about your home’s energy use isn’t always true. Here are some of the most common myths and how to differentiate from the truth.
- Conservation and Efficiency Are Different: Many people think that by getting an energy efficient appliance, they are conserving energy and helping the environment. To some degree this is true. However, in reality, you are merely reducing how much energy it takes to complete a task. Conservation is finding ways to actually stop using energy for common tasks. Taking baths instead of showers, not watering your lawn, and turning off lights completely are all examples of conservation.
- Turning Off an Appliance Saves a Lot of Energy: Regardless of whether an appliance is physically on or not, it still consumes power as long as it is plugged in. The only way to completely stop your energy consumption is to unplug an item completely or use a power strip that blocks access to electricity when the switch is turned to off.
- Turning on Items Creates a Power Surge: While turning a computer on and off uses a bit more electricity than simply leaving it on all the time, it isn’t a significant difference. In fact, the longer you leave an appliance on, the more it wears down and the faster it starts to use extra power to remain effective.
- Extra Insulation Creates Pressure: If you insulate a certain area of your home, you don’t need to worry about air leaking out. While it’s a good idea to complete all of your insulation at the same time, if you skip the windows or doors for now, it won’t hurt. All insulation is a good investment, no matter how much you install at any given time.
- One Energy Source is Cheaper than Another: This depends largely on the type of energy source you have for heating and cooling, the cost of that source and how much heating and cooling you need. A single portable electric heater is cheaper than running your entire oil heating system. But, electric heaters are rarely cheaper if you use them to heat your entire home.
Myths abound when it comes to energy use around your home. Make sure to get all the facts before making decisions that could end up costing you more money in the long run.