Alright, so anyone on the internet can say whatever they want. And that’s all right because it’s a great American freedom: you have the right to be a complete fool in public if you want to.
Sometimes, people try to use that freedom to their advantage. They’ll intentionally spread misinformation to cause harm to others. It gives them some sort of odd satisfaction to deceive others.
And then you have companies, who can fall victim to this too. They may spread untrue information to improve their bottom line.
So, you have to be careful with what you read. You have to read multiple sources and research the issues concerning you and formulate what you find to be the most reasonable, realistic opinion. And even research itself can be biased and manipulated.
To the best of our ability, here’s a few summer energy savings mistakes you may make yourself, or hear to be claimed true by other sources:
1. Not Adjusting Your Thermostat
Nest makes this problem a thing of the past because it automatically adjusts your thermostat for you based on your usage. It also adjusts your thermostat when it senses you getting a certain distance from your home (because you link it to your smartphone).
But if you don’t have Nest (which is simple to install by the way), you can easily save more money by adjusting your thermostat. Nest claims 20% energy savings. Maybe you can save 10% by raising your temperature when the Texas heat relents during the summer.
However, once you have your temperature set, leave it there for a few days. Adjusting your thermostat can actually cause your AC to cycle on and off too frequently, which could actually raise your electric bills.
2. “Investing” in Energy-Efficient Windows
If you hear that you “should” do this, you should actually feel a little skeptical. Adding energy-efficient windows to your home does reduce your electricity costs.
However, it can take you a good 15-20 years before you actually realize savings from your investment. And even then, your current windows have to be cracked and crumbling into practically nothing.
There’s simply other things to prioritize that save you more on your energy bills much faster.
3. Not Doing a Home Energy Audit
You can actually get these done for free frequently by energy companies. Contractors may charge $300 – $500. And if nothing else, you can do a basic one yourself (although you could miss other problems contractors might catch).
The Department of Energy offers guides on doing your own home energy audit.
This Old House is highly credible and reliable on this kind of stuff, and you can follow their free guide.
You can also Google the topic – but be sure you know the credibility of the source before you know their energy audit.
4. “Investing” in Solar Panels
These fall along the lines of windows, as discussed earlier. As much as they get promoted, and as good as they might seem and sound, the payback period on them is still around 15 years.
And what if you need maintenance or serious repairs during that time?
Right now, the problem is the cost to produce the panels and install them. While both are decreasing, they’re still high enough to cause a high return-on-investment timeframe.
So if you’re considering solar panels, understand that yes you will save energy and money, but you’re really playing a long-term game. Don’t fall for any hype that tells you anything different.
Don’t make any of those energy-savings mistakes this summer. And instead understand the truth – so you truly save energy and money.