IF you use electricity at night is cheaper. New homes are more efficient. Switching off an appliance prevents it from using electricity.

We’ve all heard these energy efficiency myths. But are they right or wrong?

The experts at Ergon Energy bust these myths and more to help us save both energy and money.


1. Myth: Switching off an appliance prevents it from using electricity

Busted: Most appliances, even when they are not in use, continue to draw energy. When you’ve finished using an appliance, switch it off at the wall and pull out the plug.

Appliances like kettles, toasters, lamps, heaters and fans can all be unplugged in between uses.
Even your TV! Leaving your TV turned on at the wall could have you paying more for standby power than you think. TVs and gaming systems will keep drawing power even when on standby so use a remote-controlled standby eliminator to turn off your TV and entertainment system or turn them off manually at the wall after use.

Want to save you up to $50 a year on your power bill? Then switch your mobile phone charger off at the wall after using it.

Computers and printers can also guzzle the power when left on. Computer screen savers don’t save energy unless they turn the monitor off. So when you are away from your computer for extended periods, turn your computer screen off. Also, turn your printer off when it is not being used.

2. Myth: Using electricity at night is cheaper

Busted: It is the same flat rate day and night if your appliances are wired to the most common residential Tariff 11.

Based on Tariff 11 consumption and rates, use Ergon Energy’s household energy use calculator to estimate your household’s daily energy use and see ways you can make changes to reduce your energy bill.

Use the household energy use calculator here.


3. Myth: Leaving appliances switched on uses less energy than switching them off and back on again

Busted: Compared to the energy used to keep an appliance running when it’s not needed, the amount of energy used to switch an appliance on is very small.

The cost of keeping appliances in standby mode can really add up particularly if some of your appliances are older or less efficient.

Standby energy can account for four per cent or more of household electricity use.

Instead of using standby power, turn your appliances off when not in use. As a general rule: whenever you aren’t using an appliance, switch it off.

4. Myth: You can’t insulate an old home – it’s not cost-effective

Busted: Insulating your home will reduce the need for heaters and air conditioners, resulting in cheaper energy bills.

Install ceiling and wall insulation to help maintain a more comfortable home all year round.

And use curtains or blinds with pelmets that sit snugly in the window frame to improve the insulation of your windows.


5. Myth: New homes are more efficient

Busted: This isn’t necessarily true. A property’s energy efficiency is to do with how and not when it was built and designed.

Living areas and other high use rooms should be north-facing to catch the sunlight for the longest part of the day.

Bedrooms should be positioned on the southern side of a home so they are cooler for sleeping at night.
Installing eaves over north-facing windows can help keep the sun out in summer but let in warmth during winter.

Open plan areas can be expensive to heat and cool. More enclosed living areas keep heating and cooling costs down.

Too many windows can make your home hot in summer and cold during winter. Limit the number of windows in your home on the east and west sides.

In warmer climates like Mackay, light construction materials can help keep the home cool. A metal roof effectively reflects sunlight to keep internal temperatures down and solid materials such as brick, concrete and stone can help absorb and store heat during winter.

Walls and roofs that are light-coloured can reflect heat and help keep your home cool in summer.

LED lights save as much energy as fluorescents but can last three times longer or more.

For more home energy tips from Ergon Energy, see here.