When you are a commercial property owner, it is understandable that you want to find one or more ways to lower your energy bills. After all, your heating and electricity payments take a big bite out of your monthly budget. But when you are searching for methods to reduce those bills significantly, do not fall prey to myths or out and out untruths about how to adapt to use less energy.
If you do not look at the many suggestions out there in an intelligent way and use your critical thinking skills, you may not only fail to reduce your heating and light bills, but you may also damage expensive appliances or run afoul of local rules and regulations. Let’s take a look at a few suggestions you may have considered following to rein in your monthly finances to see if you will reap the intended benefits.
Use Your Fireplace To Lower Your Heating Costs
When there was no central heating available it is certain that people used fireplaces to warm their dwellings. What you may not realize is that heating with a fireplace is generally not a very energy efficient way to accomplish that goal. In order for the fire to burn without loading the air around you with noxious gases and particulates, your flue and chimney system uses a flap called a damper to keep outdoor air flowing into the fireplace.
If the damper is closed, the smoke will not have an outlet — perhaps a situation you have experienced when starting a fire without checking that it is open. The cold air entering causes your HVAC system to work even harder and uses more fuel when you tend a fire in your fireplace. You may feel warm and toasty, but other areas are cold and your heat pump, furnace, or boiler kicks in more frequently to compensate. The result? A higher heat bill.
The Perfect Place For Your Freezer
Many people will try to convince you your freezer will operate better, and more cheaply, in a unheated garage. In addition to this making no sense at the height of summer when the freezer runs endlessly to block the heat, storing it in an unfinished and heated area has other problems.
The significant swings in temperature year-round mean your freezer is always working hard to stabilize the temperature for the items inside. You risk burning out the motor or damaging the coil when the temperatures are too extreme. It is best to keep your freezer in a cool area with fairly constant temperatures like your basement. It will last longer and the mechanical system will not cycle on and off which costs you more money.
Run Ceiling Fans 24/7
A ceiling fan is a great help to people gathered in the room within which it is operating. Its cooling effect is based on evaporating moisture from your skin, making you feel much more comfortable. When no one is in the room, however that effect disappears. If you run a fan constantly in an unoccupied room the temperature will not be affected and will do nothing to help cool areas. So, turn the fan off until you enter the room. This will reduce energy use and focus the energy you do use to a time and situation where the fan will actually do its job of making you and others feel cooler.
Setting Thermostats Higher For Faster Heating
If you raise the temperature setting on your thermostat higher than a comfortable level you will not heat your building faster. All you will accomplish is requiring the furnace or other heat sources to run constantly, using more energy. Set it to a comfort level you prefer, and consider a timer so the heating level you need rather than trying to compensate.
To Plug Or Unplug
When your electronics are in their “off” mode they can still be using a trickle of power. This phenomenon is known as standby power, and when allowed to continue over days, weeks, and months raises your overall energy costs. Unplug rather than shut off electronics to ensure that you are not increasing your costs.
To Remain On Or Turn Off
A similar conundrum occurs when you reason that keeping your computer or other electronics on is more energy efficient than rebooting it every time you want to use it. The “re-entry” into operational mode is much less of an energy drag than in the past, so you will actually save electricity, and money if you turn your computer off between uses.
HVAC Systems Work Best When Vents Are Closed — Or Open?
Closing a vent in the hop the room affected will not be heated or cooled seems to make sense. Depending on how your HVAC system works, constantly managing vents will actually use more energy as the configuration works harder when the flow of air is blocked even in just one space.