Energy myths exposed

Some energy tips have been passed through family generations; others have been shared among friends. And many of them aren’t actually true. It’s time to bust some myths about energy in the home. Learn a little and save some money in the process.

MYTH: When devices are turned off, they’re off.

You may not be able to use devices once you’ve hit the power button, but they may still be costing you money. Many devices use standby power, sometimes up to 20% of the energy they use when they’re on. What many people don’t realise is that most electronics can’t be switched off completely unless you plug them out. Mobile phone chargers are one of the culprits here. They use energy, even when they’re not charging your phone. Plug things out or invest in a power bar, which lets you toggle the power flow with the flick of a switch. Not only can you save money, but it’s safer too.


MYTH: Leaving lights and electronics on uses less energy than turning them on and off repeatedly.

This may have been true many years ago, but times have changed. Computers and other electrical products are less prone to energy surge damage and use less energy when starting up than they used to. If you can turn a device or light off, it saves energy. The small surge in energy created when a device is turned on is much less than the energy used by a device left running when it’s not needed.


MYTH: Energy saving light bulbs aren’t compatible with traditional bulb fittings

Many people are hesitant to switch to energy saving bulbs because they don’t know that they are designed to work with traditional bulb fittings. You don’t need an electrician; just screw it in and you’re good to go. Energy saving bulbs may be slightly more expensive when you buy them in a store, but the energy they save more than makes up for this cost.


MYTH: It takes less energy to boil water if you fill pot with hot tap water

Warm water certainly boils faster than cold water. But the amount of energy it takes to boil your pot of water is the same either way. If you use hot tap water, you’ve already paid for this head start. That water was heated in your water heater. If you really want to save energy when heating water in a pot, cover it. Using the least amount of water you can get away with will also take less time and energy to bring it to the boil.


MYTH: There’s no benefit in turning the heat down overnight or when you’re not home.

The idea that it’s cheaper to leave the heating on all day is a myth. You can save energy, and money, by only turning the heating on when you need it. A certain amount of energy leaks out of your house every day. If you leave the heat on all day, it just means that you’re losing energy all day too. Make sure you use a timer so that you’re not getting up or coming home to a cold house. We want to save you money, not make you miserable!


MYTH: Changing energy use won’t save that much money

That is simply not true. How much you will save will depend on your current habits and what changes you’re willing to make. Small changes can make a big difference, and it’s certainly worthwhile.