Winter has well and truly come for most of the United States, and as the sweaters and scarves emerge, so does the advice on how to stay warm while saving money during the cold season. Unfortunately, some of the accepted wisdom about heating your home economically is nothing more than myth, and could end up costing you money. Here is a look at some persistent but problematic efficiency myths that are actually anything but efficient.
5 Common Home Heating Myths
Let us help clear up some confusion with these common home heating myths.
1. Programmable Thermostats Warm Homes Efficiently
Most people think that programmable thermostats will save them money because they can be set to turn down automatically. In reality, programming your thermostat is more convenient than making manual adjustments, but not always more efficient. This is because we usually program thermostats to anticipate our needs (e.g.; to warm the house before we get up each morning) rather than turning the heat on exactly when we need it.
2. Fireplaces Can Help Heat Your Home While Saving You Money
Wood-burning fireplaces can provide a delightful aesthetic experience during the winter months, but don’t expect them to save you money on heating costs. Not only is wood itself expensive, but fireplaces don’t radiate nearly as much heat as they release up the chimney. If you use a fireplace in conjunction with your heater, the fireplace actually steals your heater-warmed air for combustion, and sends the heat up the chimney with the smoke.
3. Crank Up the Thermostat for Faster Heating
Our tendency to crank a thermostat way up to warm a frigid home may be instinct as much as the genuine belief that it will result in faster warming. But the bottom line is that heaters have only two settings: on and off, and they will not warm any faster if the temperature is set higher. When we crank the thermostat up, the heater simply runs for a longer time and uses more energy.
4. Leaving the Heat On Is More Efficient
We’ve all heard the myth that leaving the heater on is more efficient than the cycle of heating and cooling that comes when you set the heater to switch off regularly. It just isn’t true—having the heater running constantly will ultimately consume much more energy than that required to bring the temperature back to a comfortable place after the heater has been off for a while.
5. Energy-Efficient Windows Will Save You Money
The myth of energy-efficient windows is tricky, because it is partly true. Yes, modern energy-efficient windows will trap heat much better and lower your energy costs. However, the savings will take a very long time to add up. Replacing the windows in a home with high-efficiency windows can cost thousands of dollars (depending on the size of the home and number of windows), and it may be decades before the up-front expenses are off-set by energy cost savings.
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