5 Utility Energy-Saving Myths

A small chalkboard with the words "fact" and "myth" written on it.

Everyone is looking to conserve energy because it’s both good for the planet and helps save money on utility bills. And while there are an abundance of ways to cut back on usage, there are also many myths out there widely believed to be saving energy when, in fact, they're not. Below, we debunk common myths and explain alternate ways that are actually effective in cutting energy usage and costs.

Myth #1: Switching electronics on and off uses more energy than leaving them on

It’s a common misconception that if you’re only going to be away from electronics for a short amount of time, it’s more energy-friendly to leave them on rather than continuously flipping the switch on and off. This theory is not true as turning devices on and off neither reduces their lifespan nor prompts any significant power surge that increases energy consumption. Instead of leaving these devices on when you’ll be away, even for a short amount of time, always turn them off as this is a more effective method of saving energy.Myth #2: Homes need to breathe to be energy efficient, so don’t overuse insulation.

This is another myth that does not hold any actual merit. Leaving out insulation does nothing but waste energy, as it allows artificial heating and cooling efforts to slip through the cracks, making these systems work harder to control your home’s temperature. Allowing your home to “breathe” will also allow for spores, odors, and unwanted moisture to enter your space. You should instead make your home as insulated and airtight as possible to save energy and make your heating and cooling systems efficient.

Myth #2: Leaky faucets are nothing to worry about

A faucet with dripping water.

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. A leaky faucet that drips two drops each second will waste up to 200 gallons of water in a month. If the leaking faucet supplies hot water, this will drive up your energy bills and consumption levels quickly. With that being said, fix a leaky faucet as soon as you notice it to avoid wasting energy and water. Leaky garden hoses should also be taken care of as they will have the same effect.

Myth #3: Appliances and devices don't use energy when they aren’t in use

Unfortunately, this is a myth that shouldn’t be ignored. Because most of our appliances and devices are built for the ultimate ease of use, they have built-in standby power settings that allow them to still use power even when they're not on. This results in devices using energy virtually all the time, driving up your utility bills. To stop this from happening, plug devices into power strips that can be switched off to diminish their electrical access when they aren’t in use.

Myth #4: Wood stoves are too much work to be energy efficient

A wood stove.

Wood stoves are a popular way to alternatively heat your home during the winter. However, they're regarded as labor intensive. While this may have once been true, it’s no longer the case. Modern wood stoves are not only easier to use, but they're highly energy efficient and offer high-quality performance. They burn wood thoroughly and leave behind little waste, which cuts down on the time you need to spend supplying the stove with wood and cleaning it. This also helps to keep your chimney cleaner. These factors, combined with the fact that they provide ample heat, make wood stoves a worthy investment, especially in areas with long and cold winters.

Myth #5: Closing heating and cooling vents in unused rooms saves energy

While this myth does seem to make logical sense, it’s actually untrue. Regardless of whether or not vents are open, your heating and cooling systems will produce the air required to fill the ductwork systems of your home. Closing vents will merely redirect the air into other rooms and increases the air pressure of the system, which actually forces it to work harder. Closing vents has the opposite desired effect, which means that you should simply leave them open when your temperature control systems are going.

Saving energy in your home can clearly be tricky, but don’t be fooled by these commonly believed myths. Do your research and gain a true understanding of what actually cuts usage and costs prior to taking up any practices that are geared towards increasing energy efficiency.