In honor of April Fool’s Day, we’re debunking some common energy myths.

“Energy is a complicated topic and there are some longstanding misconceptions about electricity and its usage,” said Edith Garcia, Senior Project Manager for UniSource Energy Services’ Energy Efficiency Program. “We get a lot of questions when we’re out in the community because sometimes there’s a lot of conflicting information from various sources.”

Garcia warns customers not to be fooled by these common misconceptions.

Myth: Washing dishes by hand saves energy.

Fact: Machines often increase efficiency, and in this case, it’s true. Handwashing dishes actually uses more energy, since it typically uses more hot water than the dishwasher. Just make sure you run full loads. For even more savings, consider using your dishwasher’s air-dry setting.

Myth: The best way to cool your home is to crank the thermostat much lower than your desired temperature.

Fact: This approach makes your equipment work harder, wasting energy and contributing to higher peak loads on our local energy grid. A programmable thermostat can help you make gradual, efficient adjustments that suit your schedule

Myth: My electronics aren’t using energy when they’re not in use.

Fact: Most electronics draw some so-called “phantom” energy while they’re stilled plugged in. In fact, the average home has 20 or more energy phantoms, racking up about $100 a year in lost energy costs. Televisions, cable boxes, stereos and game consoles are some of the more notorious ones. Consider unplugging them or using a smart power strip that can turn off multiple appliances with an on/off switch.

Myth: Running fans through the whole house saves energy.

Fact: Fans cool people, not homes. Using ceiling or oscillating fans makes the air feel cooler, which can reduce your need for air conditioning. But if you aren’t there to feel it, it’s wasting energy. So it’s best to turn off fans in empty rooms.

Myth: Closing vents in unused rooms saves energy.

Fact: Let’s answer this one with a question: If you plug one nostril, will you breathe less air? No, but you’ll work harder to get what you need. The same is true for your air conditioning unit, which will process the same amount of air either way. Closing vents puts pressure on your system, making your air conditioning unit work even harder and potentially damaging it.

Fool: A leaky faucet won’t impact my energy bill.

Facts: If it’s hot water, it absolutely could. You’re paying to heat that water, drip by drip.

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