Winter is in full swing and that means we’re all looking for ways to save energy while staying warm. However, there are many cold weather “facts” people know that just aren’t so.
Believing these myths may be costing you in more ways than one. Don’t fall for hot air. Find out the top five cold weather energy myths — and what you should do instead!
Myth #1: You need to be cold to save energy.
This is by far the biggest myth. Saving energy is important, but staying comfortable is what matters the most. You don’t have to sacrifice your family’s comfort, or even your safety, to save energy. There are smarter ways to save than shivering all season long.
Do this instead: Drop your thermostat down just a few degrees (we suggest a comfortable 68-71°F). You’ll save about 1% for every degree you lower your thermostat, without feeling frigid. For extra cold days, don’t touch that dial. Just try an energy efficient space heater in rooms where everybody gathers.
Myth #2: Heaters are the only way to stay warm.
Your heater may be the best way to stay warm, but if you have it running at 80°F and above all the time, it is also the most energy draining and expensive.
Do this instead: Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature (see above). If you’re feeling chilly, bundle up with a sweater or blanket. You can also use the best heater in the solar system — the sun! Open blinds or drapes on windows with direct sun exposure to heat the room with sunlight.
Myth #3: You need to replace all single-pane windows to save money.
Yes, replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR®-certified double-pane windows is a smart way to save energy and money. However, replacing every window is not a financially smart move, and may take decades to recoup your costs.
Do this instead: Installing low-e storm windows over your single-pane windows is more cost-effective and can reduce heat loss by up to 50%. Just don’t install storm windows over aluminum windows, as heat buildup can damage them. Low-e (or low-emissivity) storm windows reflect heat back into the house into the winter, keeping you and your crew more comfortable.
Myth #4: Sealing leaks outside is the best way to make your home energy efficient.
Exterior caulking is great for keeping out water, provided it’s done correctly. However, it’s not the best way to make your home more energy efficient.
Do this instead: Sealing leaks inside, not outside, is a much smarter way to make your house energy efficient. Sealing your attic and ducts makes the biggest difference and could qualify for a rebate from us!
Myth #5: Closing air vents saves you energy.
Your furnace functions best when all of the vents are open. Also, if your home has a lot of air leaks (unfortunately, most do), closing vents will only send more warm air through the leaks, not into open vents in other rooms.
Do this instead: First and foremost, search your home for potential air leaks, especially sneaky ones you may not know about. Once you’ve sealed those pesky leaks, make sure your air vents are open and not covered by furniture. If you want to close off a section of your house, such as the upstairs, we suggest getting in touch with a heating and air technician.
Now that you’ve found out all of the things not to do, discover all of the ways to save energy this winter — and all year long. Your pals at PSO are here to help.