Friday, May 18, 2012

Want to save energy? Get the facts!

I need to buy new windows if I want to save on energy.
Maybe not. You need to carefully evaluate your windows and doors and insulation with an energy audit. Actually, before jumping to the conclusion of "I need better windows" you need to completely assess your home's energy envelope. Often times there are hidden factors that might reveal another energy problem that is contributing to the apparent problem of bad windows.

Turning off heat registers in unused room saves energy.
Partially true. If you turn off too many rooms, your furnace will overheat and shutdown. If this happens you either need an hvac contractor to come out and reset the furnace, or install a new one. Furnaces are designed with a maximum temperature in mind, and if this temperature is reached or exceeded the unit either shuts down or the furnace fries itself. Bottom line: you can shut off a room or two, but not much more without watching your furnace design temperature.

If I turn down my thermostat to 68 in the winter and 75 in the summer, I will save energy.
Maybe. This is one of the most common energy saving tips out there. The truth is every home is different, because every home uses energy differently. 68 might be optimal for most homes, but it may not work so well for yours. This tip works best when its in combination with other information about your home's energy usage.

The only way to get a professional analysis of my home's energy situation is to pay a professional to do it.
False! You can do a professional quality analysis of your home's energy usage through a home energy audit.

I'm saving money on energy because I have energy star appliances.
False! The truth is you could still be wasting money and wasting energy! An energy star appliance just uses energy more efficiently than comparable, non energy efficient appliances. The other part of the equation is you! If you're not using the appliance wisely, the most energy efficient appliance in the world will not save you any money – and you will not save energy.

Energy audits are expensive, time consuming, and worthless.
No, energy audits can be free as a weekend, do it yourself job, and generally take a couple of hours. The information you gather during an audit is invaluable, as it points you in the right direction "where" to look to save energy and money. If this information is "worthless" then saving energy isn't for you.


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An American Democrat