Spooky Stories | 4 Common Appliance Myths Busted

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Halloween means candy, costumes, and of course: scary stories.  But these stories don’t just have to be about werewolves and zombies.  There are plenty of stories about things you can find in your own home from Vampire and Ghost Power, to radioactive food, to flooded kitchens.  In the spirit of Halloween, today we are debunking a few spooky appliance myths.

Myth 1: When your appliance is in “Standby” or “Sleep” mode, it isn’t using any power

This myth is False.  Commonly referred to as Vampire Power, Ghost Leak, or Phantom Load, appliances and gadgets continue to use energy when they are in standby mode or even turned off.   “25% of electricity use by home electronics occurs while the products are off“- (howstuffworks.com)  The most common energy-suckers are televisions, cable boxes, microwaves, chargers, computers, game consoles, toasters,  coffee makers, and anything with a continuous display (clock radio, etc.)

So what can you do to fight them off?  Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use.  Surge protectors and power strips can make this easy, just plug in the appliances that are the likely culprits and flip the switch when not in use.

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That being said, unplugging large appliances when not in use isn’t exactly practical.  Instead, consider replacing your older appliances with Energy Star appliances.  These models use less power than traditional appliances when in use and typically have lower standby consumption.

Myth 2: Microwaves will hurt you if you stand too close and make your food radioactive

Many of you have probably been told this at some point and now you can know for certain that both statements are False.  There is no evidence that microwaving your food will make it radioactive, contaminated, or that it will hurt you.

When it comes to standing too close, the FDA is extremely strict when it comes to regulation of microwave emissions.   What microwaves let off during cooking is far below what would hurt you even if you’re standing as close as 2 inches away from it.   Moving 20 inches away brings it down to almost zero.

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So long as your microwave door closes and latches properly and isn’t damaged or warped, you have very little to worry about.  That being said, it is recommended that you don’t spend long periods of time leaning up against microwave ovens and avoid being inside of a microwave at all costs (we’re not really sure why you would want to do either of these things).

For more information check out this link to the FDA website:  http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ResourcesforYouRadiationEmittingProducts/ucm252762.htm

Myth 3: Leaving your lights and appliances on uses less energy than switching them on and off

Years ago, incandescent lights used to take time to fully turn on, some as long as 30 minutes.  They used a lot of power and it was originally recommended to just leave them on, rather than shutting them on and off multiple times throughout the day.  That isn’t the case today, making this myth False.

Although appliances may require an extra surge of power to turn on, it is significantly lower in terms of energy than leaving them on for hours at a time.  You’re always better off turning off you electronics, lights, and appliances if you’re going to be away from them for more than a few minutes and when not in use.

Myth 4: Your dishwasher completely fills with water while it runs

This may sound a bit silly to some, but many people fear that if they open their dishwasher mid-cycle, it will flood their kitchen with gallons of water.  We’re here to confirm once and for all that this myth is… False.

Dishwashers actually use very little water during the cycle, often less than even hand washing.  When you open the dishwasher door, the spray arms will stop and the most you’ll have to worry about  is maybe some steam.


 And there you have it, 4 common appliance myths busted.

Happy Halloween from 1st Source Servall!


Have a spooky appliance myth or story of your own?  Share it with us in the comments!  Be sure to like and share this post and the check out the rest of the 1st Source Servall Blog

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