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3 common energy-efficiency myths debunked

There is plenty of advice out there to help homeowners make their house more energy efficient. But it’s also important to be able to discern fact from fiction.

Make sure you’re not falling for these energy-efficiency myths:

Myth No. 1: Closing vents reduces energy spend

It’s easy to believe that if you’re directing air to fewer rooms, you’re using less energy. The fact is, your central air unit pushes out the same amount of air and uses the same amount of energy regardless of how many rooms have open vents. When you close a vent, you’re simply directing that room’s share of the air to the rest of your home.

Actually, closing vents could have the opposite effect: By closing vents, you increase the air pressure in the system overall. In turn, your unit will need to work harder, using more energy and ultimately wearing out faster.

Myth No. 2: All new homes are energy efficient

While in an ideal world, all new homes are built for optimal energy efficiency, this simply isn’t the case. It all depends on the design and construction, and whether the contractor or designer made an effort to incorporate energy-efficient features.

Homes have recently been trending larger, which means it would take more energy to power the house as a whole. Homes built after 2000 are on average 30 percent bigger than homes built in the ’90s or earlier. Technically they are more energy efficient, as they only consume 2 percent more energy. But that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement.

Just because a house is new doesn't mean it's more energy efficient.Newer homes typically use around the same amount of energy as many older homes.

In many cases, there are plenty of upgrades a new homeowner can make to his or her newly built home to make it more energy efficient, such as installing solar panels or changing the lighting strategy to include dimmer switches and LED lights.

Myth No. 3: It’s better to leave lights or appliances on than to turn them on and off frequently

Some people believe that turning lights or appliances back on after they’ve been off creates an energy surge that negates any energy saved by turning them off for a short period of time. Others have been told that turning things off and on wears out the switch function.

Both of these are myths. Modern switching capabilities allow devices to be switched on and off without getting worn out. And if there is a power surge, it’s a tiny one. Always turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them, even if you intend to turn them back on five minutes later.

It’s easy to fall for these myths because so many people believe them, and at first they seem logical. However, it’s important to identify when an energy-saving tip is real or made up. By dispelling these rumors, you can begin improving your own home’s energy efficiency, and pass your wisdom along to your neighbors, too.

For more helpful hints about how to save energy, visit Gexa Energy’s website.