Friday, September 21, 2012

Home Energy Myths

We found this information today from PSE&G (energy provider in the northeast US), which aims to dispel common misconceptions about energy in our homes.  Some really good stuff in this article including a couple of our favorites:

  ·  When an appliance is turned off, it is off.  Many appliances and home electronic devices continue to use power after they have been turned off—sometimes as much as if they were on. This is known as standby power or phantom load. The only way to stop the drain of power from these devices is to unplug them.

The actual number is 90%: devices in standby mode use 90% of the energy that they use when they're ‘on’. 

Brutal.  The secret weapon against phantom power is the smart power strip.   Some utility providers offer rebate checks on certain brands of smart power strips.

And while we love the effort, we’ll somewhat take them to task for this one:

·  Purchasing an efficient air-conditioner or furnace will automatically reduce energy bills.  This is true to an extent, but optimal savings will not be achieved unless the system is sized and installed correctly. Installing an efficient, but over-sized, system may negate much of the potential savings, while a poorly designed duct system will also impact efficiency and comfort. Windows, doors, and insulation also affect heating and cooling efficiency.

We’ll take them to task for this because, frequently, the biggest factor that determines the efficient performance of the furnace and air conditioner in a home is the last thing they mention: Insulation!  And they fail to mention air leakage at all.  Every day we see homeowners struggling with a furnace or an air conditioner that runs non-stop, all day.  The vast majority of the time it’s the result of inadequate insulation.  It’s hard to keep the box-that-is-our-house cool in the summer when the box isn’t sufficiently protected against heat; and the opposite is true, and more costly, in the winter.  Insulation and air sealing work!