With triple-digit heat indexes and the dripping humidity of summer, Texas residents are looking for ways to stay cool but not break the bank. We offer 5 ways to save energy during these Texas summers. But first make sure you’re heeding these 10 Summer Energy Saving Tips, including using ceiling fans, closing your blinds to keep heat out, line drying your clothes, and adjusting your menu to use your oven less.
Additionally, one often-surprising tip is to keep air vents open, even in less-used rooms. Closing off vents makes your air conditioner work harder and won’t save money or cool rooms faster. If you want to keep from over-cooling unused rooms, you can close vents 50-75 percent. These minor adjustments can positively impact your power bill and lighten the demand on your A/C system.
As costs increase in nearly every budget area, from gas prices to groceries, families are looking for even more ways to save. Consider these five additional summer energy-saving tips from Payless Power.
1) Begin the summer with air conditioner maintenance.
Your air conditioner is the main character this summer, so make necessary adjustments to keep it running smoothly. Change the air filters inside and free the outside vents of any debris. Finally, if the air conditioner doesn’t seem to keep up with demand or needs a tune-up, you may need to call in an HVAC professional to inspect it.
2) Use your thermostat to your advantage.
- Install a smart thermostat. If your home doesn’t already have one, a smart thermostat is a small, but vital investment. You can set temperatures on a schedule or adjust them remotely from a phone app.
- Set the thermostat at a moderate temperature, with experts recommending 76 to 78 degrees or higher in the summer. Every degree of extra cooling will increase energy usage six to eight percent. Compared to a humid 95-degree day, 78 will feel like a cool retreat! According to the Department of Energy, the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. They estimate you could save up to 10 percent annually on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting. While you’re away from home for several hours at work, school, or running errands, it’s ideal to set your thermostat at higher temperatures.
- Don’t place heat-emitting electronics like lamps or computers near the thermostat, which could trigger the A/C unnecessarily. In the summer, cover any window that lets in direct sunlight on your thermostat.
3) Reduce your hot water use.
Summer isn’t the ideal time to take steaming hot showers anyway, so a cooler shower will help reduce costs from less hot water tank usage. Run your dishwasher and washing machine less frequently as well.
4) Seal your house properly.
Make sure hot air isn’t seeping into your house through door frames or windows. Read these tips on weatherstripping and sealing your home. Don’t forget about proper attic insulation to keep hot air out.
5) Capture that humidity.
Areas of Texas are humid, especially near the gulf coast. Humidity can cause sticky conditions, mold, and health-related problems. A portable dehumidifier helps pull the water out of the air then circulates drier air throughout your home, which in turn helps alleviate strain on your air conditioner. Remember to run your bathroom vent while showering to help reduce humidity as well.
What Not to Do
- Don’t turn your thermostat down if the air conditioner is currently running. This won’t help it cool any faster.
- Don’t keep unused electronics plugged in. While one small appliance won’t make a huge impact, lots of gadgets generate heat and could increase your electricity bill.
- Don’t leave lights on. As your mother always said, “Turn off the lights when you leave a room!” This wisdom is needed any time of year, but pertinent in summer as lights emit heat. Use lamps and only overhead lights when necessary. Invest in energy-saving light bulbs.
- Don’t use heat-emitting appliances during peak day hours. Use appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine during early morning or evening hours, not when demand is high during the hottest part of the day. If it’s time to replace an appliance, look for ENERGY STAR appliances that use less energy and generate less heat.
In addition to these summer energy-savings tips, an affordable electricity bill starts with a great plan. Learn more about Payless Power’s no-deposit, prepaid electricity plans for flexibility and savings all year long.