Myths and Misconceptions about Saving Energy at Home

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  • Author Laura Ginn
  • Published January 22, 2014
  • Word count 703

In spite of rapidly increasing bills, many people are still spending more than they need to on their utilities. More often than not, this is due to careless habits and a number of common myths and misconceptions about saving energy. The following seeks to dispel some of these misunderstandings in order to help you cut down on your electricity consumption significantly.

Appliances which Are Turned Off Consume No Energy

The reality is, that if an electrical appliance is turned off, it will usually still be drawing some power unless it is disconnected from the power socket entirely. Some appliances even draw as much energy when they are supposedly switched off as they do when they are actually in use. A great deal of modern household appliances ranging from televisions to computers have a standby mode. While on standby, such appliances may consume less power, they are consuming something nonetheless. Save energy by ensuring that devices are switched off at the power strip or unplugged entirely. Likewise, unplug mobile phone and laptop chargers when they are not in use, since they will continue to draw power otherwise.

Fluorescent Lights Are Unsightly, Inefficient Strip Lights Often Found in Offices

While this is partly true, modern fluorescent lightbulbs are actually extremely energy-efficient, consuming around a fifth of the amount of power as the traditional incandescent lightbulb. They might be more expensive and take a short time to reach full brightness once switched on, but changing all of the lighting fixtures in your home or office will make a very significant saving on your electricity bills. These bulbs fit into the same sockets as any other standard bulb. Also, fluorescent lightbulbs last, on average, about ten times longer.

Maintaining a Constant Temperature with Your Thermostat is More Efficient

The cost of heating a home normally accounts for the majority of a household's utility bills. However, many people assume that keeping the thermostat on a constant temperature throughout the day and night is more energy-efficient than turning it down during the night and up during the day. In reality, the opposite is usually the case, and it is typically much more energy-efficient to have your heating on at a slightly higher temperature for several hours per day at two or more separate intervals. Additionally, lowering your thermostat temperature by one or two degrees makes little different to the ambient temperature while cutting energy consumption by as much as ten percent.

Setting Your Boiler to a Higher Temperature Will Make It Heat Water Faster

This is simply not true, since it will take the same amount of time for the boiler to reach a set temperature regardless. If you set your hot water boiler to ninety degrees, it will still take the same amount of time to reach seventy degrees, which is normally an optimal temperature for most requirements. Setting it higher simply wastes money by heating water more than necessary. The same applies to air conditioning units and central heating systems.

Insulating Your Roof Will Cause More Heat to Escape from the Windows

This is not true either. The fact is, that at least a quarter of the heat escapes through the roof of your house unless it properly insulated. This is due to the fact the warm air rises, regardless of how your house is insulated. Insulating your attic of loft space is actually one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to cut your heating costs. You can apply rolls of insulative material, usually made from wool, glass wool or a similar product, yourself without too much trouble. In the United Kingdom, the recommended thickness for loft insulation is 270 mm. If your loft isn't insulated already, installing it to this level will lead to very significant savings.

Using Electric Space Heaters Is More Efficient than Central Heating

This may be true in certain situations, particularly if your central heating system is outdated, poorly maintained or just plain inefficient. The reality is, however, that space heaters consume an enormous amount of power. The average portable electric heater consumes around two kilowatts of power when on the highest setting. This is equivalent to switching on around 100 energy-efficient lightbulbs. Space heaters should therefore be used as sparingly as possible.

Laura Ginn knows that there are many tried and tested methods that effectively reduce the amount of energy that is wasted in our homes. Visit uswitch.com/energy-saving/ to discover how you can reduce your energy wastage.

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