Traditionally, it’s in Winter that households use more electricity. However, especially in Texas, keeping your house cool in summer these days can make that electricity meter tick just as fast as trying to keep warm in other colder states in winter. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to save on that monthly utility bill.
Below are 10 energy-saving tips that are simple, easy to use, and guaranteed to save power and money this hot Texas summer.
- Compare Rates
There are over 70 energy providers in the state of Texas. Each of these providers has its own rate structures, contract lengths, plans, and special offers. It is important to compare the rates from the providers serving the area to find the best deal. Some providers even offer summer rate freezes which is an ideal way to save money on electricity over the next 3 months.
However, finding local service providers and comparing their services can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. Electricity Shark will take care of this comparison and ensure that you get the best offer to suit the unique needs of just about any household.
One of the best ways to save energy is to keep the cool air in and the hot air out during summer. This means good insulation. The roof is the biggest culprit when it comes to leaks and your ceiling and attic should be well insulated using earth wool, cellulose, fiberglass, or polyester materials.
Doors and windows are the next problem areas. Weatherstripping is ideal for sealing up windows and installing a draft excluder on all entrance doors can go a long way towards improving insulation. Cracks and gaps in the structure should also be addressed. Crack filler or insulation foam is ideal for sealing these.
Less obvious offenders are light switches and wall sockets. Insulation inserts that are pretty simple to install are available from local hardware and supermarkets to provide any home with the ultimate insulation against the heat of summer.
- Service and Maintenance
Just like most appliances, an air conditioner needs to be serviced regularly and well-maintained in order to function optimally. HVAC units work harder to produce cold air if they are in poor repair or less optimal running condition. The harder the AC is working, the more power it is using and the more it is going to cost to keep the house cool. A professional service such as an AC tune-up or also known as an annual AC maintenance will ensure that all working parts are cleaned and functioning properly plus replace filters if necessary.
Although DIY aircon service is possible, it is not always recommended as it can affect the warranty. The professionals will be able to detect any current problems as well as prevent problems from occurring in the future. This will help avoid sitting without an aircon when it finally gives on the hottest days.
- The Thermostat
Most modern Air conditioning units and systems come with an electronic programmable thermostat to provide ultimate control over the climate in the home. Set the thermostat at an ideal temperature to cool the home a few minutes before arriving home rather than using a lower setting to cool a room faster. The lower the temperature setting, the more power the unit or system is going to use.
Also use the other advanced features on the Heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to maximize climate control while saving electricity. The blast chiller is designed to cool an area quickly and then resume an ideal temperature setting. The sleep setting will increase the temperature in the bedroom incrementally until a preferential temperature for sleeping is reached.
- Turn-It Off
Electronics in standby mode are still using tiny amounts of power. However, if you add up the usage from all the electronics in the home, it can make a significant difference to the monthly electricity bill by simply turning the electronic devices off or unplugging them entirely when not in use. This is especially important for electronics that are hardly ever used. Flicking the switch on electronics and others can contribute to energy savings. With Electricity pricing consistently rising in many states and cities, this is an easy way to combat that which is fully under your control.
- Change To LED
Consider changing all of the lighting in the home to energy-saving LED bulbs. These bulbs can reduce power consumption from lighting by up to 90%. This amounts to an average saving of nearly $250 or more annually for an average household. That is a significant saving, seeing that lighting is one of the greatest power consumers in a household. Of course, turning the lights off during the day and at night when they are not in use will provide even greater savings. Open the curtains, drapes, and blinds and let the summer sunlight the house instead.
- Energy Efficient Appliances
Look for appliances that have a high energy efficiency rating such as those labeled “Energy Star” or similar branding. These appliances are specifically designed to use less electricity to provide the same function as older appliances. This doesn’t mean that every older appliance in the home should be replaced immediately. But if the refrigerator, deep freeze, oven, or stove are on their way out, it might be time to consider an upgrade instead of a repair.
Keep in mind the future energy savings plus the repair costs when determining whether replacing or fixing an older appliance will be more economical. Remember that even energy-efficient appliances should be serviced and well-maintained in order to function optimally. An appliance that isn’t running properly is using more power.
- Use Fans
On cooler days, use fans to cool the house instead of the AC. Fans use less power than air conditioning units. Fans can also be used in combination with an air conditioner. They will allow the cool air to circulate faster and suck hot air upwards while allowing cool air to blow down. Ceiling fans are ideal to fulfill this function and you don’t need to run the whole-home AC system if you’re trying to cool just one room. Ductless AC systems are ideal where situations prevent standard forced air systems from being installed and are single-room solutions.
Summer is the ideal time to get out of the house for a barbecue and allows electricity savings in one of the most enjoyable ways. Not using the stove and oven to cook meals means a saving on using those two energy-sapping appliances. As a bonus, avoiding using the stove and oven will keep the house cooler and prevent the aircon from having to work harder at cooking time.
Alternatively, switch or replace an existing electric stove or oven with a gas variation. Natural gas is much cheaper than electricity and can offer phenomenal savings. A recent study by WalletHub ranked Texas as the 12th lowest in the USA for natural gas prices.
The same goes for the kettle – rather opt for a gas stove-top kettle to make your tea, coffee, and other hot beverages than boiling water in an electric kettle. If this isn’t an option, always only boil as much water as is needed to save on power costs.
- Go Solar
Changing over to solar energy is a great way to save on electricity costs – and with the hot Texas sun, there is usually no shortage of light to power and charge your home solar grid. There is a wide range of different options to provide varying degrees of savings. Simply convert the existing water in the house to use solar power during the day or invest in a solar-powered water heater. Alternatively, convert the entire house to solar energy and go totally off-grid.
Going solar provides the optimum savings in electricity. It is estimated that the average household can save between 50% and 100% of their electricity bill every month. However, it is important to find an electricity provider that offers net metering in order to maximize savings from going solar. Net metering is a system that allows solar energy that is not used to be returned to the grid. The electricity provider then provides credits for this excess solar energy. These credits can be used to power the house at night and can help reach the goal of going 100% off-grid.
Finding savings in your Electricity pricing is often done one step at a time, but these smart choices can provide a powerful combination and add up to big reductions in your overall power bill during the year. Remember to use Electricity Shark’s power provider comparison tool as a starting point to make a change in the right direction with lowering your monthly electricity cost – adding several of the suggestions above will increase these savings and put more money back into your pocket for better use elsewhere.