Getting Your Family Involved in Summertime Savings
How do I get my family to care about saving electricity in the summer?
Summer in Texas is hot. In fact, four of the top ten hottest cities in the US are in Texas. With heat like that, summertime electric bills can be daunting.
With the AC blasting and kids home from school it can feel like you are bleeding electricity and power.
How many times can you ask your family to unplug the video game controller when its not in use, turn off the lights when they leave the room, or make sure the thermostat temperature isn’t too cold.
But hope is not lost. Make the family part of the solution by giving everyone a goal. This summer, we’ll help with a plan to save energy, get your bill down and help keep you cool with your family.
How do we create and execute a plan to reduce our usage?
Ask family members why it’s important to save electricity! You might be surprised by their answers!
It could mean extra money for a new toy. Extra cash could lead to a vacation, or a chance to save for the future!
Now that your family understands why to save you need to figure out how to do it.
How do I know if our family’s plan is working?
Next step: look at recent bills.
Once you know your current spending, evaluate energy use behaviors that can be avoided. Expect mistakes along the way, no-one is perfect!
Next create an energy goal tracker. At the end of the month, compare your tracker to your bill. The family can share ideas on things that worked!
What do I do if I’m not seeing results?
If your plan doesn’t work keep some things in mind before getting discouraged!
Rates vary and generally it’s cheaper to use electricity at night. What activities can be shifted to off-hours?
Next, consider vampire energy. Devices that leak the most energy are the TV and desktop computer. You can turn these off when they’re not in use!
Proactive Habits to Save Electricity
What is the best temperature to keep my thermostat at in the summer? How frequently should I adjust my thermostat?
Do you want to save on energy costs, even while running your air conditioning?
Try raising your thermostat as little as 2 to 8 degrees to limit the number of times your AC kicks on each day.
When the weather outside is nice, you can also shut off your air conditioning and open the windows.
The fresh air will keep your home comfortable… but don’t forget to close the windows when the temperature starts to rise.
And remember: always try to keep the temperature in your home consistent during those heat waves, to keep your AC from working overtime!
How can I keep my home cool in the unpredictable weather (brownout, thunderstorms, hurricane, etc)?
When homes in your neighborhood are working extra hard to keep you comfortable, your electric company will often dial back your power. This is called a “brownout.”
If you notice flickering lights or spotty internet, try shutting off the devices and appliances in your home.
Cutting back on your power usage will help shorten the brownout for you and your neighbors.
Why is my house so humid? What can I do about it?
When your home feels muggy, try these simple tricks to control the humidity.
Don’t hang your wet laundry indoors. Instead, throw them in the dryer or line-dry them outside.
Try to avoid boiling water when you’re cooking.
And when taking a shower, flip on the bathroom fan to get rid of the steam.
Just remember to turn off the fan when you’re done!
Should I get a smart thermostat / appliances?
Consider investing as little as $30 on a programmable thermostat to monitor your home’s temperature during the day.
Set a schedule that lets your home adjust naturally to each day’s temperature, while everyone’s at school or work.
Then, by the time your family comes home, it will be cool and comfortable—just in time to unwind and recharge for tomorrow.
How hot is too hot? (For humans and pets)
Texas summers can get boiling hot! To keep your pets and family safe, remember these simple, heat-safety tips:
- Drink water throughout the day. When you’re thirsty, your body has trouble dealing with extreme heat.
- Never let your home’s temperature get above 80 degrees, especially if your loved ones are home. Keep the temperature below 78 to protect pets, children, and senior citizens from heat stroke. If you do see signs of heat stroke, call the vet or 911 immediately!
- Don’t spend more time in the heat than you absolutely have to. Rather than pushing your limits, stay indoors in cool areas to keep your family safe.
Sleeping tips for when it’s too hot?
Having trouble sleeping because of the heat?
Try cooling your room with fans. Fans cost less than air conditioning, and they can draw hot air out, while also creating a gentle breeze.
When getting ready for bed, take a cold shower to cool yourself down. Then wear loose, cotton clothing that can breathe while you sleep.
How to use the heat to your advantage?
In the hot months, use the heat to your advantage.
Embrace summer’s natural sunlight by opening your window blinds and turning off the lights.
You can also line dry wet laundry outside in the summer heat.
Without running your dryer and by keeping the lights off, you’ll save energy and cut down on your electric bill.
How can I get help with my bill?
If you struggle to pay your electric bill, there are state and federal agencies that can help with your electric costs–and many families already qualify, including yours!
Many electrical companies also offer prepaid or deferred payment plans.
With these programs, you get to choose the method of payment that works best for your family and your budget.