Blog Post Monday 08 January 2018
We all know saving energy is good for your hip pocket and the environment, but the question is, what do you actually have to do to be energy efficient? It seems like a new tip surfaces every other week, making it difficult to sort the truth from the myth.
If you want to save energy, start by learning about the most persistent energy-saving myths floating around today.
1. Energy-rated appliances always help you save
Contrary to what you might think, buying an appliance with a high energy rating won’t automatically save you more on energy. The truth is, you can compromise your appliance’s energy-reducing features if you use it the wrong way. Plus, if you install it incorrectly, position it in a less than optimal place, or fail to maintain it, your energy-rated appliance could end up costing as much if not more to run. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and maintain it as directed.
2. Keeping temperature control on low all day saves energy
Have you heard that keeping your home cooled or heated on low all day while you’re at work will help you save on temperature control when you get home? Yep, this is a myth. In fact, it’s probably costing you more, rather than less. The same goes for leaving fans on to keep the house cool: fans circulate air; they don’t cool the air. Turn on your heating or cooling as required, and if you want to come home to a comfortable indoor temperature, program the thermostat to switch on just before you arrive back home.
3. Leaving appliances on saves more power
The idea keeping your appliances on as you step away for a little while is going to save more energy than turning them off and on is incorrect. Modern appliances are designed to be switched on and off multiple times, so switch of the computer, printer, and lights even when you’re heading out for only a little while.
4. Electrical space heaters are better than the thermostat
While you might think using electrical space heaters in one or two spaces is better than heating the whole house or office, those electric heaters consume a significant amount of power. In a lot of cases, you’d probably be better off setting the thermostat to a moderate setting and putting on an extra layer of clothing.
5. Sleeping or hibernating computers uses little energy
If you’ve been leaving your computer on sleep or hibernation mode overnight, stop. Newer computers are designed to shut down and start up efficiently, so there’s no reason to keep your computer in sleep mode overnight, which does use up quite a bit of energy.
6. Use a screensaver to save power
Screensavers offer privacy and personalisation, but they don’t save you energy, as the computer is still in full operating mode. If you’re stepping away from your desk for a couple of hours or more, shut down your computer and unplug it instead of activating the screensaver mode.
7. New homes are always energy efficient
The energy-efficiency rating of a home depends on its design and not its age. Newer homes, if not well designed, can be more energy-intensive than older homes. If you’re buying a new house, don’t assume it’s going to be energy efficient. Look to the design and features to work out how your home rates on energy efficiency.
8. Max the thermostat to heat your home faster
Setting the thermostat to the maximum temperature or a higher temperature won’t heat your spaces any faster than if you set it to your usual setting. It takes the same amount of time to heat your house whether you turn it to a higher temperature or a moderate one. So the next time you’re tempted to max your thermostat on a freezing day, don’t. Set it to your ideal temperature instead.
9. Close your vents in unoccupied spaces to save energy
HVAC systems are designed to operate as whole, balanced systems, so shutting one vent could lead to strain in other areas of the house. Instead of shutting your vents in an effort to save energy, try setting your thermostat several degrees higher (in hot weather) or lower (in cold weather).
10. Handwashing dishes saves more energy than the dishwasher
Dishwashers are actually more energy-efficient than handwashing. They use less water and therefore less energy (if you wash with hot water). In addition, you’ll probably end up with cleaner plates with your dishwasher, since studies have found dishwashers clean dishes more effectively.
So what are the best ways to save energy?
With those myths busted, you may be left wondering, what are the best ways to be energy efficient? Our complete guide to saving on your energy bill has got you covered.