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5 Summer Energy Efficiency Myths

May 25, 2015

Hot summers can lead to high energy bills, but not if your home is energy efficient! But some energy efficient practices are simply myths and won’t help you reduce your energy bill at all. Here are 5 of the most common summer energy efficiency myths:

1.    Leave ceiling fans on to cool rooms.

Fans work by circulating air, thereby creating a breeze, which makes you feel cooler when it hits your skin. The temperature in the room, however, never changes. Therefore, a ceiling fan that’s running in an empty room isn’t cooling anything and is only adding to your electricity cost.

2.    Cool your home faster by setting a lower indoor temperature.

Wrong. Thermostats work by directing the HVAC to reach a certain temperature, and then will turn off. The thermostat will turn on again to maintain the set temperature if it senses a change. Therefore, setting a lower temperature won’t help cool your house faster. Instead, it presents the danger of you forgetting to reset your thermostat to your ideal temperature and thereby wasting energy. The best thing to do is just set the thermostat to the temperature you want.

3.    Always turn off the central air conditioning when you go out.

The problem is that central air conditioning requires a lot of energy to cool down a house that’s hot. Of course, keeping the system running continuously for the entire day while you’re out is even more wasteful. The answer? Invest in a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can start cooling down your home shortly before you come back, so that you step into a house that’s set to your ideal temperature. And, it avoids the wasteful practice of either leaving the air conditioning on all day, or turning it on or off depending on when you’re home.

4.    Closing air vents in unused rooms saves energy.

Not true. The way most central air systems work is by distributing air throughout the entire home. Therefore, by closing a vent, all you’re doing is preventing the system from delivering air to that area. Instead of saving energy, you might actually be putting an additional strain on your system, which could lead to accelerated wear and tear. And that means more costs.

5.    Air conditioning is the only way to beat the heat in summer!

Air conditioning is great but it’s not the only way to stay cool. Many people use combinations of ceiling, table and floor fans to keep their homes cool. Other options include:

  • Close windows and curtains in the morning before the heat sets in, and then open them in the evening to flush your house with cooler air.
  • Plant trees on your home’s southern and western exposures to create natural shade.
  • Properly insulate your attic and equip it with a fan to blow hot air out of the attic outside.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent and LED ones. Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat as well as higher costs.

To find out more about home energy efficiency and how to keep your home cool in summer, talk to a RESNET home energy professional.