If you’re like many people, keeping your utility bills low likely motivates you to ponder ways in which you can conserve energy. However, you likely didn’t know that there are steps you can take which seemingly should conserve energy, but in reality don’t.
Here are five energy-savings myths that can actually cost you more in energy consumption. It’s not true that you can conserve energy by:
- Closing rooms and registers you don’t use: Central HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems rely on a specific air pressure to operate efficiently. When you close ducts and shut doors, you’re increasing the pressure inside your ductwork, which can make it leak. By closing doors, you’re interfering with the flow of return air back to your air handler, which makes it work less efficiently.
- Using portable, electric space heaters: This is one of the most common energy-savings myths. Electric heaters are expensive to operate because of electricity’s low efficiency as a fuel source. And, as noted in number one above, shutting off heat to a room, while your forced-air system continues to run, creates a system imbalance.
- Disconnecting portable devices from chargers: Leaving the cord plugged into an outlet, even when the device isn’t connected, draws energy. Called vampire energy, the Department of Energy reports that collectively, Americans spend $10 billion a year on energy that they use for no purpose. When you plug a charger into a surge protector and turn the power to the strip off, you stop drawing vampire energy.
- Leaving lights and your computer on: While it’s true that these devices use more power when they first start, it’s a small amount. Switching to CFL or LED bulbs, and turning them off when you’re not using a room, lowers your consumption. Setting your computer monitor so that it goes to sleep after idling for 15 minutes also reduces electric consumption. The monitor may draw more power than the computer itself.
- Utilizing duct tape to fix ductwork leaks. The adhesive is short-lived, especially when ducts are warm in the winter or summer, and it will dry out and crack. This enables the leaks to reemerge. Use mastic or metal foil tape instead.
Getting professional advice from an expert contractor, and ensuring that your HVAC system receives regular preventive maintenance, can help you conserve energy and keep your energy bills under control. For more information, contact the experts at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services for Portland-area customers since 1976, and we can help you with all of your heating and cooling needs.