Mick's Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Energy Efficiency Myths – Rethink Old Ideas


With all the energy-wasting stories and unreliable tips floating around, it can be difficult to know which ones are true and which ones are energy efficiency myths. Here are some of the myths about energy efficiency along with advice for making the changes that matter:

1. If you turn the thermostat down or up by several degrees more than you need, the area will cool down or warm up faster. This has never been the case. Doing this does not cause the area to warm or cool any faster, but it does force the air conditioner or heater to work harder and run longer. Save energy by keeping temps steady and comfortable.

2. Ceiling fans keep rooms cool when you aren’t there. The truth: A fan does not cool an entire room. It can help people feel cooler, but it does not change the room temperature. To save energy, turn off the ceiling fan when people are not in the room.

3. Rather than turn lights on and off, we should just leave them on because more energy goes into the turning on than into keeping them on. This was the case in the old days of the fluorescent bulb. Modern bulbs do not follow the same rules because they do not take as long to power up. Save energy by turning the lights off when they are not needed.

4. To save money, buy an electrical space heater. This can be true, but when you compare the numbers to natural gas heat, natural gas wins in most areas of the world. Over time, the cost of running an electric space heater can be much more than using natural gas to heat your home or building.

5. If a building has air leaks, doors and windows are the culprits. Of course windows and doors can be the source of leaking air, but there are more elements to consider, such as holes in attics and ceilings and even leaking air ducts. Yes, doors and windows should be weather-stripped and caulked, but this won’t stop the problem if the major issue is somewhere else. Check it all.

6. It is better to keep your air conditioner running through the night or over a few days than it is to turn it off and cool it when you need it. The truth is it always wastes more energy to leave an AC running than it does to use it when you need it.

7. It is better to leave your computer running than it is to turn it off because it wears the computer down and uses more energy. This was true for the old computers, but it is not true today. Computers can handle the on and off cycles and leaving them on will only use more energy. If you have to leave your computer turned on, put it in sleep mode or turn off the energy-eating monitor.

8. It costs a lot to make a home, office, or building more energy efficient. Truth: You can reduce energy consumption and save money without making extra purchases. You can save energy by turning fans and lights off when you leave the room, shutting your computer down, closing shades and drawing curtains to keep outdoor heat outside, and using cold water when you do not need warm water.

To learn more about these energy efficiency myths and how to save energy the right way, follow our blog for more great HVAC information!