Myth Busters:
Energy Saving at Home

Live green and keep more green in your wallet

A lot of Triangle residents are going green these days…or as least they think they are. When it comes to saving energy at home, not everyone knows the do’s and don’ts. Every little bit can make a difference, especially during a hot month like this one. Here’s a list of 10 energy-saving myths that, if avoided, can help the environment, as well as your wallet:

Myth: Powered attic-ventilation fans cut down on cooling costs.

Monitoring studies have shown that attic vent fans use more electricity than they save.

Myth: Ceiling fans can help reduce cooling costs.

They should only be used in rooms that are occupied, and they won’t save any energy unless you set the cooling thermostat higher.

Fans should not be operated constantly, especially when no one is home.

Myth: Wall insulation is important in reducing cooling energy.

Studies show that heat transfer through walls represents only 5 percent to 10 percent of cooling loads. That’s about half of the cooling load from heat transfer through the hot attic. Concentrate on lowering attic temperatures more than adding wall insulation.

Myth: Roof color doesn’t matter.

Using white, reflective roofing systems for new houses gives a 20 percent drop in cooling load and keeps the home more comfortable.

Myth: Setting the thermostat lower cools the home more quickly.

Not only does this not work, but you may forget to adjust it back to the desired setting. Each degree lower on the thermostat can increase your cooling costs as much as 10 percent.

Myth: Solar hot-water systems are not cost effective.

Solar systems can work well for larger households.

A study shows that families of at least four can save about 1,500 kWh annually, about $200 a year at today’s rates. The system will pay back its full cost during its lifetime of use.

Myth: There’s not much you can do to save electricity while cooking.

Think about how hot your kitchen gets when you’re preparing a meal. That only makes the air conditioner work harder to battle that heat. Make sure you have an exhausting range hood that vents outdoors. Every kilowatt-hour of cooking heat that is not vented away will cause the air conditioner to use another 300-watt hours to beat the heat.

Myth: Household lights consume too little electricity to make much difference.

The average homeowner spends about $130 per year for lighting. You can reduce that amount by 70 percent by using compact fluorescent lamps in fixtures that are on more than two hours per day.Plus, these bulbs burn cooler.

Myth: Miscellaneous appliances and equipment are negligible.

Actually, it’s the little things that add up quickly. You can easily spend a couple hundred dollars a year heating a spa with electricity, or more than $100 using a clothes dryer. Consider energy-efficient appliances, solar systems and other ways to reduce all your energy use.

Myth: Energy efficiency or renewable energy won’t really make a big enough impact.

Side-by-side tests of efficient homes vs. conventional ones have shown savings of as much as 80 percent in air conditioning alone.