Summer in North Texas brings lots of fun—swimming, travel, endless sunny days. But, all that sunshine also results in extremely hot weather, which can lead to increased utility bills—and higher demand on the Texas electric grid. Consider taking steps now to help control your energy usage at home and work. You could lower your bills AND help conserve energy. That makes sense for you and for your neighbors!
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees.
If you are leaving home for more than 4 hours, set your thermostat 5–7 degrees higher. Adjusting your thermostat 2–3 degrees higher in the afternoon and early evening will also help. Make sure to not turn off your system, which can result in excess usage.
- Put your fans to work while you are in the room.
A ceiling fan can create a wind chill, making the room seem as much as 4–6 degrees cooler. Set your fan to spin counterclockwise in the summer, but don't forget to turn off the fan when you leave the room.
- Use blinds, curtains, shutters and solar screens.
Move blinds and curtains to avoid direct sunlight coming into your home. Those rays really warm up your home if not blocked. Thermal drapes or blackout curtains make an even bigger difference!
- Seal up any leaks around windows and doors.
Check for and seal leaks around pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Look for leaks in bathrooms, underneath the kitchen sink, around pipes inside closets, etc. And don’t forget your outlet covers! Blocking the drafts and leaks around these sneaky areas will help you in hot AND cold weather!
- Check your insulation.
Insulation helps slow down the transfer of heat to cold and a lack of it allows heat to enter your home, increasing your bill. Talk with a professional in your area to determine if your current insulation is adequate.
- Have your HVAC system serviced twice a year.
Make sure your HVAC has been tuned up so your cooling system will run as efficiently as possible. Don't forget to change your air filter per manufacturer recommendations! Leaky HVAC ducts and dirty filters put additional strain on your unit, resulting in higher usage.
- Consider lowering the number of hours you use your pool pump.
Running the pool pump early in the morning or overnight will help with high-demand times on the grid.
- Avoid using large appliances like ovens and washing machines during peak times.
Later afternoon and early evenings are the time when the most power is used during hot weather—and ovens and other large appliances can really heat up a room. Warm weather may also be a great time to consider hanging clothes outside to dry, taking advantage of those same sun rays.
- Make the "smart" choice in thermostats.
Consider installing a "smart" thermostat. Designed to save you energy, a smart thermostat can learn your schedule and adjust your home’s temperature to save money and energy while you are away–while making sure it is a comfortable temperature in anticipation of your return.
- And, give yourself time to adjust to the warmer weather!
Research shows it can take our bodies up to two weeks to adjust to new environments, including temperature changes. You can do it—and save energy and money in the process!