With costs for energy rising all the time, and the word “efficiency” attached to everything we do, its easy to see why people can get sucked into a wide array of beliefs when it comes to improving home efficiency. And while many of the “reported” maintenance items will work, many of them are simply myths and urban legends. How do you know the difference? While it is difficult to wade through the information, we’ve put together some of the most common home energy myths and what you can do instead.
Myth: Energy efficiency increases the initial cost of a home.
If you’ve ever set out to upgrade one appliance in your home – a water heater for instance – when you start comparing prices you’ll find the more energy efficient options move to the middle or upper end of the pricing structure. So its natural to assume that when building a home, adding in all of the top of the line energy efficiency items throughout will increase the price of the home. But its not necessarily true. In some instances, smaller, higher efficiency units may take up less space or work more efficiently from the beginning, meaning the home builder can take this into account with the initial build, and provide you with the savings.
Myth: Showering uses less energy and water than taking a bath
This one is a toss up, depending on your home environment. A typical bath takes anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of water. If you take a 10 minute shower with a low flow showerhead (which typically uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute), it would only use 25 gallons of water. If you haven’t replaced your showerhead with a low flow unit, or have multiple showerheads or special water features, these numbers can go up accordingly. Its important to understand how much water you are using, and limit consumption as much as possible.
Myth: A slow dripping faucet isn’t that significant
Even the tiniest of drips can add up quickly over time. A single dripping faucet can add up to 300 gallons of water per month … all flowing down the drain. Which means of course that your water bill is being impacted by every drip a faucet creates. No matter how slow the drip, fix it as soon as possible.
Myth: Its faster to boil hot water, and therefore takes less energy
In order to get hot water into your teakettle or pot, chances are you had to let the water run from the faucet to bring hot water from the water heater to your faucet. That requires energy. So energy you might have saved from trying to boil already warm water (and the savings isn’t significant), you’ll consume by getting the warmed water into your pot.
Myth: Energy savings isn’t a significant feature in the sale of a home
According to the National Association of Home Builders, study after study shows that homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home if it has Energy Star ratings on heaters, air conditioners and appliances, or meets Green Building Guidelines. If you can show your home has efficiency, and it will be made up in savings on energy bills, people will be more attracted to your home.