7 Common Electricity Myths
As a leading electrical repair service, we hear our fair share of strange stories from customers regarding electricity and the way it works. We are often surprised at how many people come in with a long-held belief about electricity that isn’t true, or hasn’t been true for some time. Some electricity myths have been around so long, they don’t seem like myths. Read on to learn some of the common electric safety and usage myths we’ve encountered.
1. Devices and appliances that are turned off do not use power.
Believe it or not, most of the electronic devices in your home use power when they are just sitting there not being used. Consider that little red dot on the TV that lets you know it’s not on, but it’s ready when you need it. You probably never thought about what it costs to run that little red button. Another common culprit is any cord that includes an adaptor box, like a cell phone or computer cord. Anything running a clock is also using electricity 24/7. These things add up. You’d be surprised how much you could save by plugging things into a surge protector and clicking it off when it’s not in use.
2. Computers shut themselves off when you’re not using them.
People often proudly say that they haven’t turned their computers off for years. There seems to be a long-held belief that powering down your computer and restarting uses more power than leaving it on all the time. While it’s true that you don’t need to turn your computer on and off every time you use it, properly shutting down a computer once a day is actually good for the machine (and has nothing to do with an electricity myth). The battery-saving options for computers are very good when it comes to being energy efficient, but if you are going to bed for a few hours, shut your computer down for the night too. Over the years you have a computer, this adds up!
3. You should always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Your parents weren’t wrong. The incandescent bulbs that have been around for ages can be turned on and off all day long with no effect on how long they last or their electric safety. So if you are using incandescent bulbs, turn them off whenever you leave a room to save money and power. However, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) will experience a reduced lifespace if turned on and off too frequently. Only turn off CFLs if you are turning the lights off for more than fifteen minutes.
4. CFLs are bad for the environment.
There is a rumor that CFLs are bad for the environment because they contain some mercury. While it’s true that these bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, as long as the bulb is intact, the mercury inside is safely sealed where it can’t do you harm. CFLs use more than 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs. That is a big help to the goal of reducing greenhouse gases. Even better, though, is using LED in your home!
5. Air conditioners that run all the time save money.
The idea here is that an air conditioner running at a low rate all day to regulate a home’s temperature is working less hard than an air conditioner that gets flipped on to lower the temperature of a very hot house. It’s just not true. It costs more and uses more energy to run an air conditioner all day than it does to use it only when needed to lower the temperature of a room.
6. Fans cool rooms off better than air conditioners.
Some people will bet their lives on this electricity myths and it has nothing to do with electric safety, but fans do not cool air. Air conditioners cool air. If you sit in a room with a fan, you will feel cooler because the air is moving around. However, the temperature hasn’t changed, you just feel cooler. If you put on an air conditioner, the temperature will change. Why does this matter? Because some people leave fans on 24/7 to “cool the room.” That’s just a pure waste of energy.
7. It costs way more to use a dishwasher or clothes washer than to do the washing by hand.
The only time this is true is when you only have to wash one or two pieces of clothing or dishes. Let’s compare oranges to oranges. If you are washing the same amount of clothing or dishes that you can fit in a machine, using the machine is more efficient. A human being will use more water and heat than a machine would. Not to mention, you could be earning money instead of bending over a sink for an hour.
There are plenty more of these electrical myths that we hear on a daily basis. The important thing to remember is that electric safety and efficiency is always fluctuating and changing as we make improvements. What may have been true when you were a kid, or even just a decade ago, might not be true now. Got any other ideas about electricity you think might not be accurate? Give Afton Electric a call today. We’ll help you bust those electricity myths!