energy myths

Let’s debunk these 4 common home energy myths

It’s not just the price of eggs that will make your mouth drop. Energy rates are on the rise again. Both FPL and Duke Energy have announced upcoming rate hikes. Duke Energy announced a few weeks ago that they will raise rates substantially in 2023:

If approved by the FPSC, the changes will be effective in April 2023. The monthly bill impact to a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh will increase $33.49 or about 20% beginning in April. Commercial and industrial customers will see bill impacts ranging from a 19% to 37% increase.

So now is the time to key in on your home’s energy usage. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know this is something we’re constantly focused on. We’ve discussed the importance of ceiling fans, 5 easy ways to save on your energy bill, and 8 ways to save specifically on heating. But today we’re debunking 4 common home energy myths, so you can put your energy (no pun intended!) toward what will actually make an impact.

Myth #1: Turning off my appliances will save power

Before you leave the house or go to bed, do you go around turning off the PlayStation, computers, and coffee maker? This may have been effective 20 years ago, but most of today’s appliances are designed with standby settings that still use power when turned off. And that power usage is pretty similar to when they’re on. To really save power on unused appliances, you need to unplug them from the wall. An efficient way to do this is to plug multiple appliances into a power strip with an on/off switch.

Myth #2: Ceiling fans will cool unoccupied rooms

Did you know that fans don’t actually cool rooms? In fact, their motors may slightly raise the temperature. That’s right. Fans don’t cool rooms, they cool people. Howstuffworks explains:

By blowing air around, the fan makes it easier for the air to evaporate sweat from your skin, which is how you eliminate body heat. The more evaporation, the cooler you feel.

So when you leave a room, go ahead and flip the switch to turn off the fan. If you’re like most Floridians with fans in every room, this could provide a noticeable decrease in your power bill over time and your home’s temperature won’t be affected at all.

Myth #3: Cranking the heat way up will heat the house faster

You come home to a cold house and crank the thermostat up super high, thinking that will cause your system to work more quickly. Nope. That’s not how it works. Your system will heat at the same speed, whether you increase the setting by 1 degree or 10. This is true of cooling your house as well. So just set the thermostat at your desired temperature and be patient. To take this a step further, we recommend installing a programmable thermostat. These allow you to tell your HVAC system to be ready for you when you come home. So if you have a predictable schedule, such as a work or school routine, let us install a programmable thermostat so that your home is always comfortable and you save energy when you’re not there. Want to know more? We have a whole post on that here.

Myth #4: Washing dishes by hand uses less energy than dishwashers

If you listen to a dishwasher’s hour-long cycle, it certainly sounds like it’s using a lot of hot water. But did you know that handwashing actually uses substantially more water? In their article Dishwasher vs. hand-washing: What saves more water? CNET explains:

This may appear impossible since it seems like dishwashers are constantly spraying water, but a newer one does use less water than hand washing. Getting them clean in the sink can use up to 27 gallons of water per load. An Energy Star certified dishwasher can use as little as 3 gallons per load (around 11 litres), according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In fact, an Energy Star certified dishwasher can save almost 5,000 gallons of water per year.

So go ahead and take advantage of the convenience of the dishwasher without worrying that you’re running up your power bill.

So, did any of these surprise you? Let us know in the comments! And if we can help make your home more energy efficient through HVAC maintenance, repair, or replacement, let us know. We’d love to help!