Five Significant Myths about Electricity Usage
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Many theories have emerged on how to save on energy use, some of which are misleading myths that directly lead to larger utility bills. Here are five myths about electricity usage:
1. Devices That Are Turned Off Don't Use Any Electricity
Surprisingly, most devices continue to steadily drain the power supply even when they are shut off. While the energy use isn't huge, TVs, air conditioners, video game consoles, and many other common devices will keep using electricity unless they are unplugged.
2. Leaving a Device On Can Save Electricity
This myth claims that turning on a device, such as a light or a computer, creates such a large power surge that turning it off in the first place isn't worth it. While power surges do technically occur when some devices are switched on, these surges are minute (lasting less than a second), which means that shutting off a computer or light will always result in saved energy.
3. Extreme Temperature Settings Heat and Cool Faster
Setting the thermostat to an extreme temperature is not the fastest way to heat (or cool) a house. While it may seem logical that setting the thermostat to 90 degrees will lead to quicker temperature change, this is just not how central heating is designed to work. Both central heating and air conditioning work as hard as possible no matter how high or low the thermostat is set. Setting it to an extreme temperature is pointless and may lead to wasteful overcooling or overheating.
4. Shutting Vents Saves on Heating Costs
Shutting off the vents in closed rooms will only make the central air system work harder to counterbalance the closed vents. At best, the result will be zero savings in energy usage; at worst, it can damage your central air system. Allowing warmth to spread evenly throughout the home is the most efficient use of central air and the way such systems were designed to be used.
5. Expensive Energy-Efficiency Upgrades Save Money
Putting in a newer, more efficient furnace or air conditioning system might save money—or it might not. Many homeowners get AC units and furnaces that are the wrong size or are installed incorrectly, resulting in enormous energy waste. Also, the initial outlay may not be worth the potential monthly savings. The same principle applies to fresh insulation or new, energy-conserving windows. Purchasing an upgrade that won't pay for itself for many years (if ever) is not economical.