Home Energy Efficiency Myths
Over recent years, home energy efficiency has become a major talking point, with more and more people seeking tips that can help keep their bills – and their home’s impact on the environment – as low as possible. As tends to happen when a topic becomes popular, the good advice tends to be joined by a few myths that can potentially stymy people’s ability to actually improve the energy efficiency of their home as a whole. Below, we’ve outlined a few of these myths, so you know which measures aren’t worth your time – and which ones are.
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MYTH: Hand washing dishes is preferable to using a dishwasher
It’s claimed that there are two benefits to hand washing over using a dishwasher. The first is related to the energy needed to heat the water for washing; according to the myth, less hot water is needed to wash dishes by hand, and thus less energy needs to be used to heat that water. The second is in terms of the water itself, with the myth suggesting that dishwashers use more water than people generally use to hand-wash, which means dishwashers increase water waste. Neither point, however, is accurate – dishwashers are the more efficient choice, by every metric, every time.
MYTH: Black radiators are preferable to white radiators when it comes to heating your home
If you were to leave two shirts, one black and one white, out in the sun for an hour, the black one would be much hotter to the touch than the white – so this myth does have a basis in scientific fact. However, the difference is in the type of heat; in our example, it’s thermal heat that makes the black shirt feel hotter, but radiators primarily produce convective heat – which colors do not impact. While radiators do produce some thermal heat, it’s not significant enough for you to see any real benefits from black radiators. If you paint a white radiator black than you might see tiny benefits due to the extra layer of insulation, but it’s not significant enough to be worth going out of your way for – if you like the idea of black radiators as a design feature, then go for it, but doing so won’t make an appreciable difference to your heating bills.
MYTH: It’s better to leave your home heating on all day rather than turn it off and on continually
This myth would make sense if everyone lives in a hermetically-sealed property where it was impossible for internally-heated air to escape – but no one does live in such a property. Our homes are losing energy all the time, which means that if the heat is left on all day, then heat is being lost all day too. It is far preferable to turn your heat on and off as and when needed.
MYTH: Use plastic wrap to cover windows and prevent heat from escaping
Around 25% of a property’s heat is lost through the windows, so this myth seems to pose a sensible solution to this problem – simply use plastic wrap to add an extra layer of insulation but without preventing natural daylight from entering the room. However, the benefits of doing this are negligible, it’s unsightly, and plastic wrap at all is less than ideal from an environmental standpoint. Realistically, modern double-glazed windows that have been properly installed and are well-maintained are always the best way to prevent heat loss via the windows in your home.
So what does work?
All of the myths developed for a reason: because people want to make their home more efficient and cut their energy bills, especially over the winter months. The fact that the above myths have been busted doesn’t change the fact that people still want to see the benefits of a more efficient home – so it’s worth discussing the measures that can actually make an appreciable difference in this regard.
Most of the principles of good energy efficiency will be familiar to most; there’s simply no magic remedy that will slash bills and cut energy usage dramatically. Instead, focus on the fundamentals:
- Ensure that your home is adequately insulated
- Replace old or damaged windows to help retain heat in your home
- Keep the thermostat as low as is comfortable and safe
- Swap your conventional light bulbs for LEDs
- Turn the lights off when a room is not in use
- Unplug devices rather than leaving them on standby
The above methods can really help to keep your home as energy efficient as possible, so you can set the myths aside and focus on achieving tangible results.
Tia, and TipsfromTia.com is trying to keep you looking good and
feeling good, from the inside out. If you’ve got a problem or a tip email me! Be sure to Like and share on Facebook or Follow on Twitter or Instagram.