What are some of the best energy myths you have ever heard? I think this could be good for a couple of laughs. I will start:
  • Incandescent light bulbs give off more heat than light and because of this they help heat my house in the winter. I don't want to switch to CFLs or LEDs because my heating bills will increase.
  • My system is running pretty cost effectively right now because 2 of my 3 HVAC units broke down, so I am only using 1 for the whole building. That's like cutting my costs by 2/3.
What are some good ones you have heard?

Tags: myths

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I don't want to air seal my house because then I will have to install mechanical ventilaiton, and running a fan all the time will waste electricity.
OK, Silas, you're on!

"Incandescent light bulbs give off more heat than light and because of this they help heat my house in the winter. I don't want to switch to CFLs or LEDs because my heating bills will increase. "

Technically correct, of course, but, under the vast majority of cases, not savings anyone would ever notice :-)

How about this chestnut: "Heat rises" (Arghhh)

As we all know, hot air rises because of convection. Heat, on the other hand, moves from a high temperature to a lower one. I believe that's why the universe is ultimately doomed to a frigid demise...something about enthalpy.

And another: "Operating a direct vent gas fireplace offsets my heating cost by only warming the area I am occupying".. (See my Forum entry for a discussion of this issue :-). Which reminds me, anyone else steaming about the magic electric heater from those friendly Amish folks that will provide 1.5kW of electric heat for the bargain price of only $300. I could turn on my $20 toaster and get the same effect, or go to the local "Big Box" and get a proper electric heater.

One of my favorites: "A PSC fan motor trying to move air against a clogged filter has to work harder to maintain air flow." This would be technically correct, if the motor could work harder, but since it can't, the different, strained sound it starts to make (vaguely similar to a vacuum cleaner with a blocked hose) is because it's spinning faster against reduced air flow load.

"Clean Coal" ??

OK, I'll stop now.
I love the "clean coal" thing. As if the coal was washed before its burned.


Steve Waclo said:
OK, Silas, you're on!

"Incandescent light bulbs give off more heat than light and because of this they help heat my house in the winter. I don't want to switch to CFLs or LEDs because my heating bills will increase. "

Technically correct, of course, but, under the vast majority of cases, not savings anyone would ever notice :-)

How about this chestnut: "Heat rises" (Arghhh)

As we all know, hot air rises because of convection. Heat, on the other hand, moves from a high temperature to a lower one. I believe that's why the universe is ultimately doomed to a frigid demise...something about enthalpy.

And another: "Operating a direct vent gas fireplace offsets my heating cost by only warming the area I am occupying".. (See my Forum entry for a discussion of this issue :-). Which reminds me, anyone else steaming about the magic electric heater from those friendly Amish folks that will provide 1.5kW of electric heat for the bargain price of only $300. I could turn on my $20 toaster and get the same effect, or go to the local "Big Box" and get a proper electric heater.

One of my favorites: "A PSC fan motor trying to move air against a clogged filter has to work harder to maintain air flow." This would be technically correct, if the motor could work harder, but since it can't, the different, strained sound it starts to make (vaguely similar to a vacuum cleaner with a blocked hose) is because it's spinning faster against reduced air flow load.

"Clean Coal" ??

OK, I'll stop now.
"If I have insulation blown in my attic, that should solve all the comfort problems in my house."
"I don't need to have a heat loss calculation done, I'll just have the old boiler replaced with the same size....."

"Hydronic baseboards is inefficient because they require such high temperatures"

"Tankless water heaters don't save that much money; after all, look at the Btu rating of their burners"

"Burning wood in an outdoor furnace is going to save me a ton of money"

Radiant ceilings are not as comfortable"

"Save up to 70% of your heating and cooling costs with Geo" - That's undoubtedly the most misleading one in my industry.

Technically you are correct that hydronic baseboards are not the problem.  Specifically, the fact that your boiler has to distribute hot water at about 180 degrees to drive them is less efficient than say a radiant slab that requires water at a far lower temp. that allows greater system efficiency since there is a larger delta T at the heat exchanger.

Brian,

Sounds like you are a wethead with high level understanding of hydronic efficiency WRT to supply and return temperatures.  

Maybe you can explain to folks how to squeeze the greatest efficiency out of a modulating condensing appliance?  

Maybe you can also explain to the folk that think that aggressively adjusting thermostats back may NOT save the money they think, and that suggesting it as prescriptive measure for "saving energy" is building science malpractice?  

A HOUSE IS A SYSTEM OF SYSTEMS.  DO NOT RECOMMEND SETBACK WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THE SYSTEMS.  TO DO SO IS A SIGN OF IGNORANCE, INCOMPETENCE, AND IT MAY DRIVE PEOPLES ENERGY CONSUMPTION UP AND COMFORT DOWN.  

And don't assume savings without measuring.  

All good, especially "Clean Coal" with Christmas rolling around I couldn't help but think about Santa, would clean coal be given to the kids that were only sort of bad? Here's another one:

Him: "I don't understand why my energy costs keep going up, I built my home very efficiently."
Me: "How long ago was your home built?"
Him: "Oh I don't know, about 20-25 years ago"

Apparently things don't age in his home? Fountain of youth perhaps?
I spray foamed my house and now my air conditioner runs for only 10 minutes at most. It used to run all the time, but now I am really saving money!!
"Oil is a renewable resource." Only if you live a very long time. Note that oil in the
Gulf of Mexico is chemically identical to the oil in Egypt and Libya . . . The last time those two locations adjoined each other was about 250 million years ago when the supercontinent of Pangaea split apart as a result of tectonic drift.

"I need new windows to save energy"

"Those windows are no good because I'm cold when I sit at my table with the beautiful glass all around me."

"Don't buy a furnace with an ECM motor because they're unreliable."

"The air coming out of the register is not warm/cold enough"

"I'm not going to pay somebody to insulate my attic when I can roll out my own insulation for a lot less money."

"Of course I can run air conditioning through those four-inch ducts."

"I used to get condensation on my windows when I ran both of my unvented gas heaters, but Company X fixed my problem by replacing the windows."

From heating contractors: "My ducts don't leak."

And, of course, the ever popular "The other company is a lot cheaper."
Twin draft door sealer "As Seen on TV" claiming you can save up to 30% on your energy bills?
Then they state if you the draft stopper doesn't pay itself back in one month, return it for full refund and complimentary product.
How can this company survive? I guess people are not willing to spend the time to call them out, or they have lots of small, fine print.
It's funny you brought up the incandescent bulb topic. Just yesterday, I got a call from a woman whose heating system stopped running. She didn't want to call an HVAC contractor to help as she thought it would cost more due to the holiday. While on the phone she mentioned she had recently replaced all her old light bulbs with CFL's. I asked her if she still had her old bulbs and she replied that she did. I suggested she put the old bulbs back in, move most of her lamps to one room, close off that room and stay in that room. I explained that the heat from her old bulbs might be enough to keep her warm in one room. Today, she called me and said she was comfortable in the room with the lights on because there is so much waste heat. She said it was difficult to sleep with the lights on... but at least she wasn't cold! Makes sense to me.

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