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Posts Tagged: save energy

Don’t be bamboozled by these 5 home energy myths

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit 3 Comments on Don’t be bamboozled by these 5 home energy myths

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day, we’re exposing a few of these myths so that you can save yourself from being bamboozled.

MYTH #1: Leaving the lights on saves more energy than turning them off and on.

The story goes that leaving the lights on for short periods of time saves more energy than turning them off and on again. This is untrue. Sure, there’s a tiny burst of energy when you flip the switch, but it doesn’t compare to the energy loss from keeping them on. Turn off those lights!

MYTH #2: If the switch is off, the appliance or electronic is off.

Not quite. There is a phenomenon called “phantom power” or “vampire power”, which occurs when a plugged-in item steals energy even though it’s switched off. Combat this creepy energy loss by simply unplugging electronics or appliances whenever possible.

MYTH #3: An energy-efficient furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump alone is enough to save on energy costs.

This one has a major caveat, and it has to do with the quality of the installation and the size of the system. If the system is too small, it has to work hard to heat or cool the home. If it’s too large, it uses more energy than it needs to. Either way, you lose potential energy and cost savings.

An energy-efficient furnace, A/C, or heat pump will help you save on energy costs, but only if you have an expert installer who performs a thorough inspection of your home’s size, ducts, and vents. This will help him or her recommend the proper size of the heating or cooling system for your unique home.

MYTH #4: Your thermostat will cool or heat your home faster if the temperature jump is a major one.

In general, thermostats will raise or lower temperature at a steady rate, regardless of how high or low it must go. The incremental time for each individual degree change is the same whether you’re going from 50° to 70°, or 65° to 62°.

MYTH #5: Closing vents in unused rooms can save on energy costs.

If only it were this simple! Most heating and cooling systems don’t differentiate between closed vents or open vents, so they work at the same efficiency and power regardless. Closing a vent can alter the system’s stability and allow pressure to build in the ductwork. This can cause leaks, which leads to decreased efficiency and higher energy bills, which was what you were trying to avoid in the first place.

Home energy myths and misconceptions are everywhere. For concrete, realistic ways to lower your energy bills, browse our site and learn about innovative products and helpful practices to make your home more efficient. So while you may fall victim to pranks from family or friends this April Fools’ Day, home energy efficiency is one area in which you’ll have the upper hand.

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Weatherization tips for saving energy & money on utilities

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling, Insulation 2 Comments on Weatherization tips for saving energy & money on utilities

Windows & doors

Reducing leaks around windows, doors and chimneys in your home will result in considerable annual energy savings.


Insulation levels in walls, ceilings and floors of your residence play a major role in determining heating costs and comfort. To get started, here are some basic tips:

• Older structures may be under-insulated since the amount of insulation in ceilings, walls, and floors is often determined by the building or energy code requirements mandated at the time the structure was built.

• Check to see if your attic and basement (or crawl space) have a sufficient level of insulation.

• Consider adding insulation when embarking on a home remodeling project.

• Install pipe insulation on all exposed hot water pipes.

• Install pipe insulation on the first three feet of exposed cold water pipe connected to the water heater.


Heating & cooling

Heating and cooling your home is the largest single factor in your energy bill. These heating and cooling tips can help you to increase the efficiency. To get started, here are some basic tips:

• Identify places that heat escapes from your home. Check for gaps and holes that allow heat to escape, raising your heating bills and making your home drafty and less comfortable.

• Check your furnace filter(s) monthly. During the heating season (also during the cooling season if you use air conditioning). The proper time interval for replacing or cleaning filters will vary depending on the rate of accumulation of pet hair, dust, and carpet lint in your home. Check your furnace owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.

• Lower your thermostat. On average, for each degree you consistently lower your thermostat, your heating energy consumption drops by two percent. Therefore, keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting (68 degrees or lower)

• Seal your home’s unheated spaces. If ductwork goes through an unheated basement, attic or crawl space, check for leaky joints or disconnected sections. Seal leaky joints with latex duct mastic or foil backed butyl tape. Reconnect any loose sections, seal, and support.

• Contact your furnace and/or thermostat manufacturer to assure that your furnace and thermostat are compatible and adjusted appropriately for your home.

• Install weather stripping and door sweeps along with caulking any exposed cracks or missing seals. For a no-cost fix, roll up a bath towel and hold it against the bottom of the door with a weight.

• Replace caulking around your home’s windows to reduce air leaks. Use non-hardening “rope caulk” to temporarily seal gaps on little-used, movable windows and sliding doors.

• If your home’s windows are single-paned, consider installing inexpensive “tape-up” interior storm windows for a low-cost, temporary fix. Caution: Make sure that doors and windows can be opened as emergency exits in case of fire.


Maintenance is a time consuming task, but extremely important to protect your investment in a home-comfort system. Put your maintenance on autopilot with our Guardian Maintenance Program.

Information courtesy of Puget Sound Energy.

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