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Magic Valley EC News

Don’t Be Fooled by Common Energy Myths

Learn the truth behind these misconceptions

Eating carrots will greatly improve your eyesight, cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis, and watching too much TV will harm your vision. We’ve all heard those old wives’ tales, but did you know there are also many misconceptions about home energy use? Don’t be fooled by common energy myths.

Myth: The higher the thermostat setting, the faster the home will heat.

Many people think that walking into a chilly room and raising the thermostat to 85 degrees will heat the room more quickly. That’s not true.

Thermostats direct a home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system to heat or cool to a certain temperature. Drastically adjusting the thermostat setting will not make a difference in how quickly you feel warmer. The same is true for cooling. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees during summer months and 68 degrees during winter months.

Myth: Opening the oven door to check on a dish doesn’t really waste energy.

While it can be tempting to check the progress of a dish in the oven, opening the door does waste energy. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, delaying the progress of your dish and, more importantly, costing you additional money. If you need to check the progress of a delicious pie, use the oven light.

Myth: Reducing my energy use is too expensive.

Many consumers believe that reducing energy use requires expensive upfront costs, like purchasing new, more efficient appliances or making renovations to an older home. But the truth is consumers who make small changes to their energy efficiency habits, such as turning off lights when not in use, sealing air leaks and using a programmable thermostat, can see a reduction in energy consumption.

Myth: I can save money simply by installing a programmable thermostat.

On their own, programmable thermostats do not make your HVAC system more efficient. Their money-saving value lies in their ability to—once properly programmed—regulate the temperature inside your house to coincide with your habits. If you need help programming your thermostat, directions are usually available on the manufacturer’s website.

Myth: When I turn off electronics (like my TV, game console or computer), they stop drawing power from the outlet.

Even when turned off, most modern electronics consume electricity so long as they’re still plugged in. Chargers for mobile devices such as cellphones also consume electricity when plugged in, even when they are not actively charging a device. This wasted energy accounts for as much as 10% of a home’s total electric use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The solution: Unplug your electronics when you’ve finished using them.

Myth: It is not worth my time or money to seal small air leaks around my windows and doors or to make sure my home is adequately insulated.

Air that leaks through cracks and gaps throughout your home creates as much of an energy drain as leaving a window open all year long, according to Energy Star. The average homeowner can save up to 10% on their total annual energy spending by sealing and insulating their home.

Remember: Energy efficiency doesn’t have to be difficult. Focus on small changes to save big. Learn more about ways to save energy by visiting our website at magicvalley.coop.