Energy Myths & Facts


Myth #1 – Setting your air conditioner thermostat to its lowest setting will cool the home faster.

FACT: The thermostat is not a throttle, setting it lower than necessary will not cool the home any faster.

Myth #2 – The bigger the air conditioner the better it cools the house.

FACT: Air conditioners cool and dehumidify. An oversized air conditioner can quickly cool a home, but results in it frequently cycling on and off, which doesn’t allow it enough time to remove moisture and may make the house feel clammy. A properly sized A/C will operate for a longer period of time during the hottest days which will remove that uncomfortable moisture. Although a properly sized unit will run longer, it will be more efficient and use less energy.

Myth #3 – The size of the house is all that’s needed to size an air conditioning system.

FACT: A good load calculation program takes into account window types, window orientation and window shading; insulation of ceiling, walls and floor; air leakage and many other factors such as the color of the roof and the number of occupants. Using the square footage of a home to size an air conditioner is outdated and will almost always yield an oversized system. Don’t use a contractor who wants to size your unit solely on the square footage of your house. Require a Manual J or equivalent analysis before purchasing.


Myth #1 – When I turn down my thermostat at night, it takes more energy to reheat the house in the morning when I turn the thermostat back up.

FACT: No matter how long you will be gone or asleep, you will save energy by turning down the thermostat. Heat escapes faster when there is a bigger difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. When you turn down the thermostat, the indoor temperature is closer to the outdoor temperature, the furnace runs less and you lose less heat and save energy. In the morning, the furnace will run a little longer to bring the house back to temperature; however, the nighttime energy savings is much greater than the energy needed to re-heat the home.

Myth #2 – The higher the thermostat is set, the faster the furnace will heat the house.

FACT: Most furnaces deliver heat at the same rate, no matter how high the thermostat is set. Just set the thermostat to the temperature you’d like and your furnace will heat your home as fast as it can.

Myth #3 – Replacing all my windows is the best investment.

FACT: If your windows show signs of significant deterioration (rot, corrosion, weather damage), they probably need to be replaced. However, a new window only cuts window energy loss in half, and the area of the windows only accounts for a small percent of the building “envelope.” Therefore, insulation and air sealing are first priority investments.

Water Heating

Myth #1 – It takes less energy to boil water if you start with hot water from the tap.

FACT – It takes energy to make that tap water hot, therefore no energy was saved. In fact, it takes more energy for your water heater to heat the water than it does for your stove to bring cool water to a boil.

Myth #2 – You need really hot water to sterilize dishes and clothes.

FACT: Even at the hottest setting on your water heater, dishes and clothes are not sterilized. Also, scalding can occur at high temperatures and can cause injury.

Air Leaks

Myth #1 – A house can be too air-tight.

FACT: It’s almost impossible to make a home too tight, especially an older home. If your home feels stuffy or there is condensation forming on your windows, it is probably the result of inadequate ventilation— make sure that kitchen and bathrooms have good exhaust ventilation (recommended to the outside and not into an attic or crawlspace).

Note: If you are heating with an unvented gas or kerosene heater, it is necessary to crack open a nearby window to allow moisture and exhaust gases to escape and fresh air to enter.

Myth #2 – Windows are the largest source of air leakage in the home.

FACT: Only about 10 percent of a home’s air leakage is through windows. The majority of air leakage in older homes is through the floor and ceiling and these areas are the first priority. However, if your windows are beyond repair or are beginning to rot, consider replacing them with newer, more efficient ones. If your windows are still in good working order, then storm windows are a more cost-effective option.

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