Lower Energy Costs when the Summer is at its Hottest

Summer is officially here and that means the heat is cranking up. Running your air conditioner all the time can drown you with your electric bill, but not running it at all can drown you with uncomfortable heat and humidity. Fortunately, there are easy ways to make your home more comfortable and still cut back on AC use.

Lower Energy Costs when the Summer is at its Hottest

For starters, if you have a fan, use it. Running a fan in conjunction with the AC may seem counter intuitive (using more energy), but it actually allows you to run the AC less often and lower your thermostat up to 4°F. A blowing fan creates a wind chill when it is blowing on you. In addition, it helps better circulate colder air in a room. However, if there’s no one in the room, the fan is pretty much a waste, so only use on in populated rooms.

Next, you’ll want to make sure you check, clean, and replace filters. Air filters reduce the spread of dust and allergens, but they become clogged with use. When the filter is clogged, it reduces airflow, which makes the AC much less effective. It’s best to check them monthly, but some homes may be able to go up to three months before needing a check up.

Lowering the temperature on your water heater about 20°F won’t make much difference in the temperature of your showers or the capabilities of your washers. That 20° can make a lot of difference in energy use, though. Taking shorter showers and only running full loads in washers will also reduce water waste and by proxy, energy. A lot of energy goes into heating water, so the less we use, the more we save.

Finally, block sunlight from heating up your home during the day by using curtains or blinds. Cook outdoors to keep from adding heat to the interior of your home. Take advantage of solar energy by drying clothes outdoors. There are so many ways to save energy and for the most part, they won’t cost you a thing!

What to know when electricity shopping

There are two points on which every customer should judge an electricity provider: cost and reputation. Before deregulation, there was only one provider for electricity and you paid whatever they wanted you to pay. It didn’t matter how they treated you because there was nowhere else to go. Now, you can actually choose your own electricity provider and subsequently the rate you pay.

What to know when electricity shopping

Some companies out there may offer a great low rate but terrible customer service. Some offer great customer service but high rates. When you find that unicorn company that offers both, you have a winner. It’s best to switch providers just about every year because market conditions constantly fluctuate and what was a good deal last year may not be so good this year. Each year, just before your contract renews, start researching new electricity providers. Look for both low cost plans and customer reviews of the provider. We can help you by comparing several companies at once.

 

You’ll also definitely want to refer to each promising plan’s EFL because this document will give you all the details about the plan including a pricing breakdown, electricity content, and whether the plan is fixed (locked in rate for a contract length) or variable (rate changes every month based on market conditions, but no contract). Don’t feel like you have to go with a big name company because you heard their actual electrical service is more reliable. Electricity is the same, no matter who is selling it. Your local utility is the one that ensures electric stability, not the provider. So if you find a plan that has a wonderfully low rate and good customer reviews, go for it!

Why should we care about Texas electricity deregulation

Texas legislation gave customers electricity choice in 2002. This means that customers are no longer held in contracts with one company. Now, they can shop around and look at the most affordable rates for their individual electricity needs. From homes, offices, and even large businesses, electricity options are for everyone.

Why should we care about Texas electricity deregulation

Chances are if you have been with the same company since the early 2000’s, then you are probably overpaying for electricity service without even realizing it.

REPs are the newest part of the deregulated market. Retail Electricity Providers directly sell you electricity, based on market conditions. These market conditions affect the cost of your electricity. If trade routes or supply becomes stringent, new or variable rate customers will see higher rates for their month to month bill. When you have a fixed rate plan, your rate won’t go up or down until your contract is up for renewal. Contracts can last between 3 and 36 months, usually. Fixed rate plans give you security against sudden rate hikes due to weather, conflict, or supply disruptions, but should market conditions become more favorable, you are still locked into the higher rate.

As a customer, know that you have options when it comes to powering your home or business affordably. Grab your electric bill, and check out our website to compare your rate against others.

Go the Extra Mile and Lower Energy Costs

So if you have an electricity rate that meets your homes need, but still want to lower your bill even more, then listen up! Go to the extra mile with some simple steps to lower your electric bill and save energy at the same time.

Go the Extra Mile and Lower Energy Costs1. Switch your light bulbs in your home/office:

What to look for:

LED Bulbs
CFL Bulbs

 

2.Check your thermostat:

What to look for:

    • Set your thermostat as comfortable possible to about 73-75 degrees.
    • If you have an auto setting, or eco-mode on your thermostat, then make use of it, if you are not already.

3. Check windows/bottom of doors for air leaks:

What to look for:

    • Check corners of windows for air leaks.
    • Check bottom of doors for air leaks.
    • Go to the hardware store and purchase weather stripping caulking glue.

4. Unplug gadgets if you are not using:

What to look for:

    • Lamps, Toasters, Miscellaneous items that are not in use
    • Use a power strip to manage all cords in one place, and power it off when you leave the room.

5. Clean out filters:

What to look for:

  • Replace/Clean Air Filters in AC units
  • Replace/Clean Air Filters in Dryers

By using these Energy Efficient tips you can save a couple of extra bucks in your monthly energy costs.

Renters can also save on electricity costs

If you’re renting an apartment or condo and utilities are not included in your rent, you can cut back on utility costs by following a few simple steps. You don’t need to go crazy spending money to remodel a domicile that you don’t own, but just installing a few small things here and there, being more efficient about water and energy use, and even a little feng shui can help you save money. Even if your utilities are included in rent, consider implementing these tips to be one of those renters that landlords love.

Renters can also save on electricity costs

Water Use:

Installing a low-flow showerhead can save a lot of water from being wasted. Showers use 7-10 gallons of water per minute, and a low flow showerhead can reduce that to as low as 1.5 gallons per minute while maintaining water pressure. When waiting for your shower or sink to warm up, use a container to collect the water used waiting for the right temperature. This collected water can be used for houseplants, manually flushing a toilet, or do some general cleaning. Make use of the water used while washing clothes and dishes by only doing full loads. Though most clothes washers allow you to adjust the amount of water used for smaller loads, dishwashers use the same amount of water and energy for four dishes as they do for 40.

          Thermostat:

Check if you have a programmable thermostat for it will help you in adjusting the temperature easily. If you don’t, just keep the heating at 68 degrees and cooling at 78 degrees. Simple and easy, this will help you on your next electricity bill.

          Use Natural Light:

Leave the blinds open and the curtains drawn to avail the sunlight during the day and to help you keep the house warm. This is especially effective if you have south facing windows.

Saving energy on your Family Vacation

Looking to go on a road trip with the family this summer? Today we will discuss how to save money and being energy efficient while on the road. The AC in your car is the number one source to reducing your fuel economy during your trip, so you want to make sure you are using it properly.

  • Drive with the windows down for a bit to let the hold air out before turning on the AC.
  • Park in the shade when you can.
  • When you turn on the car, do not immediately turn on the AC system until the car is actually moving. The AC does not need to idle, the AC cools faster while driving.
  • Read the owner’s manual of your car.
  • Set the AC to a comfortable temperature.
  • Do not use the AC more than needed.
  • Using cruise control on the highway saves gas.

saving energy on your family vacationDrive with the windows down, when you can. This saves gas, and when you’re driving through the open countryside, then enjoy the fresh air.

Aggressive driving (driving and accelerating at high speeds, rough braking) is not energy efficient. Driving the speed limit saves gas and money. Using these tips can help you become a more energy efficient driver on your next family vacation.

Use your computer efficiently and lower energy costs

We all have found ourselves forgetting to turn off our computer. A lot of us simply just walk away or close the laptop when we are done using it. By simply turning off our computers, or putting it into sleep mode we can become more energy efficient.

Use your computer efficiently and lower energy costs

Here are some easy tips to help you reduce your computers energy consumption and save money on your electric bill:

1. Choose ENERGY STAR: Most computers and laptops nowadays are ENERGYSTAR labeled, which make them more energy efficient. The next time you are shopping around for a new computer/laptop, try to choose an ENERGYSTAR certified model since they use less wattage in sleep mode.

2. Turn Off the Monitor: If you’re going to be away from your computer for at least 20 minutes, turn off the monitor. It is as simple as a push of a button.

3. Shut down after 2 hours: If you know you are going to be away for more than 2 hours, then shut down the entire computer.

4. Avoid Screen Savers:  Screen savers use more energy than not having one at all.

5. Power Management Feature: Using the power management feature in your computer effectively can help you save money. Make sure that you have the power-down feature set up on your PC through your operating system software.

6. Power Strip: By having your PC connected to a power strip or a surge protector, just switch it off when not in use.

Shopping for the Air Conditioner that is best for you

Summer is practically here and temperatures are heating up quick. Now is a good time to get yourself an air conditioner so you’ll be prepared for another Dallas summer. Depending on the size of the room you’re looking to cool, you may need a larger or smaller capacity AC unit. Take note of the BTUs, EER, and thermostat especially.

Shopping for the Air Conditioner that is best for you

The primary point of consideration with an AC is the BTUs, which is the air conditioner’s capacity for removing heat from a room. The greater this number, the more heat it removes. But don’t just rush out and by the first AC with the highest BTU capacity, because an overpowered unit, just like an underpowered one, is wasteful. An underpowered unit will continually run without cooling a space sufficiently while an overpowered unit will cool it quicker but consumes much more energy. Perfectly balancing the BTUs for the room size will make it more efficient.

Next is the EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio by dividing the BTUs by the number of watts, you’ll find out how efficient the AC unit is. The higher this number is, the more efficient it is. EERs range from 8 to 11.5 with 10 being well suited for hot areas like Texas. Keep in mind that a higher EER is more costly to buy, but will save you the most money in the long run.

All AC units have some form of thermostat, but look for one that is programmable to get the most out of it. It will only run during the time specified when the temperature gets high enough. Once the room is cooled down to below the set temp, it will shut off, saving energy.

Once you have an AC unit, be sure to clean the filter every month to keep it in prime working order. Set the fan so that it helps circulate the air effectively. Some fans can only be set to one direction, but others will sweep. Once you have all of this in place, your room will be nice and cool, but you won’t need to break the bank spending on electricity.

Energy Efficiency for your Apartment

You can read a lot about home energy audits or how to make your home more energy efficient, but what if you don’t own a home and are living on rental, then how can you save energy? So here are some tips on how to be energy efficient while living in an apartment or a rental property. With rental property you usually can’t make any drastic changes and you have very little liberty on where you can save.

Energy Efficiency for your Apartment

Check the backend cost: When you are looking for an apartment of a rental property, check what your utility bill might look like. If you are planning to move to an old quaint house or apartment, beware it might not be as energy efficient as the new ones. From cracks to ruin your insulation to old non-energy star appliances check what your monthly cost will be other than your rest.

Energy Efficient Light: Switch your incandescent bulbs with Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs) as they consume 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Also be sure to turn off the lights when they are not in use and don’t forget to clean the fixtures to get more illumination.

Thermostat: Check if you have a programmable thermostat for it will help you in adjusting the temperature easily. If you don’t, just keep the heating at 68 degrees and cooling at 78 degrees. Simple and easy, this will help you on your next electricity bill.

Reduce hot water usage: Reduce your hot water consumption by taking shorter showers and washing your clothes with cold water. Heating water consumes a lot of power and this will help you save. Also keep a check that there are no leaks in your apartment.

Use Natural Light: Leave the blinds open and the curtains drawn to avail the sunlight during the day and to help you keep the house warm. This is especially effective if you have south facing windows.

Energy Leakage: Weather-stripping and caulking is very important to seal your doors and windows from air leaks. If you have cold or hot air gushing in your home, your home isn’t very energy efficient. You might need your landlord’s permission to do so but you can also check your local hardware store to see if there are some temporary solutions which will help you save and not affect the walls or windows which might bother your landlord.

Your Air Conditioner Your Energy Costs and the Texas Heat

Air conditioners are a part of our everyday lives in Texas, especially come summertime. Once the summer starts heating up, you may be tempted to crank the thermostat as low as it goes to cool down quick. Or, if you’re in the market to get a new AC unit installed, perhaps you want the industrial sized unit so your house can be a walk-in fridge. If these are your plans for this summer, you may want to reconsider your options.

Your Air Conditioner Your Energy Costs and the Texas Heat

For starters, bigger is not always better. Oversized air conditioning systems are incredibly inefficient, and they may not make your home as comfortable as it could potentially be. An oversized unit will cool your home just as fast as a smaller, appropriately sized unit, but the oversized unit will accomplish this before proper dehumidification happens. This will make your home feel “clammy.” In addition, the oversized unit will draw a lot more electricity than is needed. When selecting a new air conditioning system, have professionals measure the size of your home and individual rooms so they can recommend a model that is well suited for the job.

Don’t use the circulation fans of your air conditioner to circulate air without running the compressor as well. Keeping your AC on auto mode will shut off fans at the same time as the compressor. Use ceiling and standalone fans in individual rooms to increase circulation. If you would prefer to use fans over an air conditioning system, consider installing a whole-house fan. These fans work by drawing in cool air during the night and circulating it throughout the house during the day. During the day, the house remains sealed to circulate the cooled air while the warm air is exhausted through the attic.

Setting your thermostat as low as it can go will not cool your house any faster than setting it to your preferred temperature. If left unattended, the lower temperature setting will result in over-cooling, which can lead to increased energy use, more frequent maintenance of your AC, and even freezing of your air conditioner’s condenser unit. Instead, set your thermostat as high as you are comfortable with. Every degree above your normal set temp results in 1-3% of energy savings. Remember, the closer your inside temperature is to the outside temperature, the less your AC needs to work to keep you comfortable. If you are using a window AC unit, use standalone fans to help circulate the cold air around your home. Close the doors to any rooms you do not need cooled. Finally, avoid placing appliances and electronics near thermostats, as the heat they give off can fool the thermostat into thinking the house is not cool, and will continue to run the air conditioner.