Home heating and cooling needs can represent a significant part of monthly bills for many Michigan residents. The cooling season is not as long and might result in lower total costs for the period than during the heating season. A lot of energy may be required to make homes comfortable during the harsh winter seasons each year. The desire to save money on energy bills has given rise to practices aimed at energy efficiency, but these could turn out to make no difference or even have undesired effects. The following are beliefs about energy usage that are simply not true.
Appliances Don’t Use Any Energy When They Are Off
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, most electronic devices continue to use energy when they are powered off. That includes kitchen appliances, televisions and your air conditioner. These devices go into standby mode so that they can turn on quickly and conveniently as you need them — but it also means that they are using energy. In reality, you are paying for standby mode for most of the devices in your home unless you actually unplug the item. If you use surge protectors, most now turn connected devices off when a master device is off.
Leaving the Lights on When You Leave the Room Uses Less Energy than Turning Them On
As with most modern devices, our lights are much better today at handling the small electrical surge that comes from being switched to the on position. However, if you are leaving a room, especially for extended periods, it is certainly best to turn off the light.
Adjusting the Thermostat Significantly Will Heat or Cool Your Home Faster
Adjusting your thermostat, by setting the temperature significantly lower or higher will not heat or cool you home any faster. The thermostat controls only the temperatures, not the speed at which a particular temperature is achieved. The HVAC system turns on when the temperature of the room does not match the thermostat setting, and turns off when it does. This process takes place gradually, and the AC will have to run longer to reach greater temperature ranges, negatively impacting costs. You are also likely to end up with rooms that are too hot or too cold, and you will have to adjust the thermostat once again. Constantly adjusting the thermostat is a no-no for energy conservation.
Ceiling fans, used in conjunction with the HVAC system, are also a great way to achieve comfortable temperatures without placing a strain on energy usage. For this to work the fan blades have to be set to rotate counterclockwise during summer, then changed to clockwise for the cooler months. The rotation can be changed via the small switch on the fan’s housing. During the warmer months, ceiling fans help sweat to evaporate faster from the body, thus creating the cooling effect. In winter, the fan helps to pull the warmer air downward and distribute it throughout the room. At the beginning of the heating and cooling seasons, fans can actually be used by themselves, allowing you the opportunity to realize even greater savings while using the HVAC system less.
A Set Temperature Saves Energy
Setting a constant temperature is not an effective strategy because of changing outdoor temperatures, and activities throughout the day. For example, it is usually cooler in the mornings, and especially for those who work and go to school there is little activity in the home throughout the day. Later in the day the outdoor temperature as well as indoor activities increase. Activities such as using devices, children playing, and meal preparation, all influence indoor temperatures. Setting the thermostat according to activity and occupancy would help to make your home more energy-efficient. Programmable thermostats are a very effective option for energy saving and maintaining ideal temperatures throughout the day.
You Should not Turn off Your HVAC System When You Are Away
There are actually differing opinions where this is concerned. Leaving the AC off for example when you are away on vacation may seem logical. However, leaving your AC on or off will depend on several factors such as:
- Whether you are away for short or extended periods
- The time of year or the general temperatures
- Home equipment such as laptops or PCs that cannot be exposed to extreme temperatures
A good option is to employ a mix of several measures: leaving the system at the most tolerable temperature, using a fan, and investing in a programmable thermostat. One of the great advantages of modern thermostats is the ability to control them remotely.
To learn more about true energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions for your home, call Kelley Brothers at 734-662-6266.