Whether your energy bills arrive via your snailmail or email, you likely don’t always celebrate their arrival. Few people would turn down a reduction in energy bills, even if it meant adopting energy-saving tactics. Unfortunately, there are many energy-saving myths about what you can do to bring down the cost of your utility bills that may actually not be effective at getting costs down.
Put a Freezer Chest in a Cold Room
We’ve all stood by an open door of a refrigerator in the heat of the summer and likely wished we could stand inside the appliance. Some people think that keeping a refrigerator or a freezer in a room will help keep that room cooler. However, unless your freezer system has serious leaks in its seals, the unit itself will not help a room stay cooler. Instead, keeping a freezer chest in your basement may do the trick. The relatively small cooling motor will have to work slightly less to keep its chill in a cool environment (like your basement).
Close Vents in Unoccupied Rooms
Sometimes, people try to save money by sealing off vents in rooms that are usually unoccupied for extended periods. But this tactic rarely works for several reasons. First, your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system operates under the assumption that all vents will be open and unimpeded. Sealing off a vent can cause the system to work harder to compensate. Second, shutting a vent does not shut off the room from the house. Unless you also apply an airtight seal to doors, air will circulate between rooms, causing the same amount of net energy use.
Leave the Air Conditioning or Heat On in Your House All Day
One of the greatest myths is that you can save money by leaving your HVAC system operating all day. Conventional thinking suggests that the amount of energy required to take a room from the outside temperature to a desired temperature is greater than the amount of energy required to maintain it during the day. In truth, no cost savings exist. Leaving the HVAC system off when you are out of the house can reduce your energy expenses if you are gone for any length of time. Instead, save money on home energy costs by keeping up with regular HVAC system maintenance.
Use a Fan In an Empty Room
Fans help people feel more comfortable in unpleasantly warm weather. A logical thought would be that leaving a fan running in an empty room will help lower the temperature throughout the day. However, this is just one of several misunderstandings about how house fans operate. Fans don’t lower the temperature in a room; instead, they keep the air in a space moving, which makes air feel cooler when it comes into contact with skin. But the feeling is an illusion: A fan by itself won’t significantly affect the real temperature in a room.
The best strategy to reduce overall energy use is to simply use less energy. If you can tolerate a higher level of cold or heat in your home, you can increase your home’s energy savings by reducing the amount needed to change your indoor temperature.