Smart Electricity shopping for appliances

When shopping for an appliance, first we look for ones that meet our needs. Then, under that group, we look for the cheapest of the bunch. But are we really getting a good deal? Every appliance and electronic device comes with two price tags: one you pay when you buy it, and the one you pay every month to operate it. Depending on how efficient the model is, you could end up paying more for a cheaper model than if you had gone with a more expensive, but energy efficient version.

Smart Electricity shopping for appliances

How can you be certain how efficient your appliance is? Most new appliances come with a bright yellow tag called an Energy Guide. This tag will tell you the estimated yearly operating cost of the product and show you on a scale where that fits into the range of other models doing the same task. The tag uses the national average for electricity costs per kilowatt hour (kWh) and also lists the estimated yearly usage. The label also will tell you if the appliance is Energy Star certified, which can save you even more.

Energy Star certified appliances are generally 20-30% more efficient than an uncertified model, so while they may cost a little more up front, they could save you more money down the line than if you had purchased the cheaper model. Energy Star certifies all sorts of appliances from refrigerators to computers. Look for this certification to save yourself money over the life of your appliance.

Tips for Energy Conservation in your Home

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Conservation is an important trait in a sustainable lifestyle. It reduces waste, whether it be food, water, electricity, or heat, and it can save you money. Some locales require conservation as part of their daily life, such as people living on small islands. Along the coasts of the United States are small island communities and these communities truly understand the importance of conservation, especially when goods and services are much higher in cost because of the inherent isolation. Islanders have to reduce waste however they can, but us mainlanders can be conservationists as well by following these simple tips.

When cooking, use the minimum appliance for the job. Large appliances like stovetops and ovens require a lot of energy and also radiate a lot of heat. This extra heat makes your AC work harder in the summer, thus driving up your energy bill. Instead, cook using the microwave, toaster, or crock pot to reduce your energy consumption and excess heat. If you still need to use the larger appliances, set your oven for convection if you have the option. When cooking on the stovetop, use pots and pans that are the same width as the burner to maximize efficiency.

Turn off lights that are not being used. Lighting a room with no one in it serves no purpose. When possible, use task lighting like desk lamps instead of overhead lights as they tend to consume less energy. Unplug electronic devices that are not in use, such as DVD players, TVs, and phone chargers. Even when they are off, these devices continually drain electricity. If you have a lot of electronics plugged into the same area. use power strips and just shut off the power strip to cut power to the devices. Shut off computers and laptops when they are not in use rather than putting them to sleep. If you mostly only do light web surfing, like email, news reading, and Facebook, consider using a tablet instead of a laptop or desktop computer.

Weatherstrip your home to prevent air leaks from driving up your energy bills. You can install rubber seals on your doors and windows to prevent air from leaking out of them, or if you only have gaps at the base of a door leading outside or to the garage, place a rolled up towel at the base of the door to stop the draft. When it gets cold out, wear more layers of clothing rather than cranking the heat.

Follow these tips to cut back on the consumption of Dallas electricity. Combining these tips with cheap electricity rates by switching to a new provider can save you a bundle over the course of a year. Shop Dallas Electricity gives you the power to choose your energy plan and provider, so you’re not stuck in the cold with a provider that doesn’t meet your needs or budget.

Don’t Let the Summer Heat Keep you Inside

Most of us like to stay inside during the summer and soak up all the AC that we can. Sometimes that means if we go out, we go to a restaurant or a theater just to stay out of the heat. Other times, we may go out only to soak in a pool. But if you want to get outside and enjoy the summer, follow these simple tips to keep yourself healthy.

 

Liquids

Drink lots and lots of water. This is really a good tip year round, but it’s especially important for the summer. Dehydration is a serious problem and it is the number 1 cause of heat related illnesses. It can have several different symptoms, such as headaches, increased thirst, and confusion, but these can be avoided simply by bringing some water along with you while you’re out in the heat of the day. Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine because they both cause increased frequency of urination. This means that they can actually cause you to become dehydrated. If you’re not a fan of drinking straight water, try adding some fruit to flavor it or try an alternative like decaffeinated tea or a sports drink.

 

Temperatures

Don’t stay outside during the hottest hours of the day, usually around midday to early afternoon, especially if you have children. Being outside at these times will increase the likelihood of becoming dehydrated, so stay inside and soak up some AC. Plan outdoor activities for the morning or late afternoon to avoid the sweltering temperatures.

 

Dress Code

Wear light, reflective clothing while outside. The brighter the color, the more sunlight you will reflect, so a white t-shirt and beige shorts will be much cooler than wearing all black, no matter how punk rock you think you look in it. Make sure the clothing is lightweight, too. As you sweat, your clothes will absorb that sweat and become even heavier. Apply sunscreen to any areas of exposed skin, including your face and head (for those of us with very little hair). Wear a hat to help shade your face, if you like.

 

Limitations

If you are feeling like you’re overheating, mist yourself with some water to help cool yourself down. If you’re still overheating, take a break. Mowing the lawn or tending to the garden can wait until you’ve sufficiently cooled down by soaking up some more AC. Remember to keep drinking water and be sure to have extra around while you’re out, but don’t feel like just because you’re misting yourself down and drinking plenty of water that you’re totally safe in the heat. Know your limits and adhere to them. It will keep you healthy in the long run.

 

Spending all that time outside can have an added benefit beyond staying active. While you’re out, you can adjust the temperatures inside your home to be higher than you would normally set it were you inside all day. This way, you can save some electricity while you are outside, and when you come back inside, your home will still feel much cooler than it feels outside. Combine this savings with the savings you could have by switching to a provider that offers cheap electricity, and you have the power to choose a summer that is filled with fun activities, cool homes, and electricity freedom.

Wind Energy Benefits and Disadvantages

Cheap-ElectricityOne of the fastest growing sectors of renewable energy is wind power. Wind energy has been harnessed for many centuries. It has been used to mash grain to make flour, pump water, and more recently, generate electricity. When wind spins the blades of a wind turbine, a large magnet inside the top part of the tower spins inside of a cylinder of copper coils. The magnet passing by these coils generates an electric charge which is transmitted over power lines to the local energy grid. The primary benefit of wind energy is low cost renewable energy, but there is a little more to it than just that.

Wind energy is a true green energy source. Wind is powered by the sun, and generating electricity from wind emits no harmful pollutants into the environment. There is no consumable fuel source like coal or gas to use up, making wind power a renewable source of energy. Renewable energy means that the electricity generation can be sustained for very long period of time. While current estimates say that our oil and gas reserves will last about a hundred years or so, wind energy will be around long after that. Generating electricity from wind is really quite cheap, about four to six cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). They are primarily built in remote areas where winds tend to me the most consistent. You can see wind farms lining ridgelines, dotting the landscapes of plains or farms, or in some other countries, offshore.

That said, planning where to place wind turbines can be a challenge sometimes. Since most wind farm sites are in remote areas, extra infrastructure needs to be added to get the generated electricity to the grid that needs it. This means running long power transmission lines. Sites also need to be fairly consistent with the available wind. An area that gets very little wind will not be cost effective. Similarly, if winds are often too strong, the site will not be viable due to the risk of damaging the machinery. If a potential site for wind turbines has potential for other uses, the landowners will be taking other bids into consideration, thus determining what actual gets implemented.

While wind electricity generation emits no pollutants, it can still have an effect on the environment. There have been reports of increased bird deaths in locations where wind farms exist. However, the number of bird deaths per year is almost inconsequential compared to the number killed from catastrophic pollution disasters, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Noise pollution could be considered a problem for wind sites close to residential areas. The rotation of the rotor blades causes a constant whoosh-whoosh-whoosh sound that some residents may find bothersome. Others may not care for the sight of wind farms, claiming it taints their view.

All in all, wind energy has major benefits when it comes to generating cheap electricity, bolstering the economy, and cleaning up the environment. The challenges facing developers are reduced as technology improves. Newer turbines are quieter, for example. The Department of Energy wants to have 20% of the country’s energy produced by wind by the year 2030. This will expand manufacturing jobs, generate local revenue, conserve water, and even lower natural gas prices. If you want to be part of the wind movement, contact Shop Dallas Electricity today and find a Dallas energy provider that offers renewable energy you have the power to choose your own provider and energy plan, so you can seek out the cheapest electricity rates with the best benefits.

Energy Efficiency on a Bike

New York City has taken energy efficiency to the streets to encourage more people to leave their car at home for the day. Cities in general have high pollution levels due to their high traffic content and tall buildings consuming vast amounts of energy. To help curb the traffic related pollution, Citi Bike was created to allow people to bike to work, the gym, the park, or dinner while eliminating a vehicle from the road. With all the traffic in New York City, carbon emissions pour into the atmosphere at staggering rates, especially when much of that traffic gets stuck in long lines at lights downtown. Citi Bike recently celebrated its first anniversary and hosts over 100,000 members.

The first bike share program, called Bycyklen, started in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1995. The bike share program worked similar to some grocery store carriage returns. You place a coin into the lock, use your bike until you are finished with it, and when you return the bike and lock it, you get your coin back. The bikes were uncomfortable to ride and primarily became a tourist attraction. Bike share programs have been picking up around the United States recently, however. Seattle, WA is the most recent US city to announce a bike share program, and it will begin in September of 2014. The program will begin with 50 bike docks and 500 bikes.

More than 30 US cities have a bike share program, and Portland, OR, Tampa, FL, and a San Diego, CA will be adding to that list in the coming years. Despite the initial stigma surrounding the first bike share program in Denmark, the current generation programs are really picking up all over the world. Perhaps it’s because more people are concerned with the state of the environment and don’t see these bikes as gimmicks anymore. Regardless of the reason for their increasing popularity, they will provide benefits such as reducing the amount of vehicles on the roads and improving public health.

When it comes to tackling the office buildings in these big cities, one of the best ways to reduce to pollution caused by their constant use of electricity is to enroll in renewable energy plans. Many Dallas electricity companies offer cheap electricity for businesses that feature green plans. If you are a business owner in Dallas, you have the power to choose what kind of electricity you want for your business, and Shop Dallas Electricity can help you find the energy provider that will work best for you.

Advantages of Texas Electric Deregulation

The energy market was deregulated in Texas as of 2002. This means that Dallas now has the power to choose your own energy provider. By choosing your own provider, you can be certain to get cheap electricity, since the utility company is no longer able to set the price to whatever they want. The market is open for competitors to vie for your customer ship. Having a deregulated energy market also benefits you in a few other ways.

 

Switching to a new Retail Energy Provider (REP) can get you in on some extra benefits or advantages. The biggest advantage is getting cheap electricity. When REPs compete for your business, the average rates for electricity drop. Some REPs may also offer introductory offers that will get you an even lower rate to start out. All REPs offer different plans with varying contract lengths, rates, and options. Renewable energy is one of these possible options, and you can look for plans that feature partial or full renewable energy to power your home. You may also find a REP that offers loyalty programs. These programs offer extra incentives to you depending on how long you are a customer. You may receive gift cards to local restaurants, discounts on your energy bill, or even chances to get a dream vacation. In an unregulated market, there is no reason for a provider to offer these kinds of deals because you would have nowhere else to go.

 

Even if a sole provider did offer a rewards program, if their customer service was nothing remarkable, you may not even care what the rewards are. In this deregulated market, if you don’t like your energy provider, you can switch to a new one. This is another point where the power to choose your provider really stands out. Sometimes, an extraordinary customer service will outweigh a slightly higher rate for electricity, but you could still conceivably find low Dallas electricity rates and great service. The key to it all is shopping around.

 

Shop Dallas Electricity helps you through the selection process by narrowing down your choices based on your search criteria. Whether you’re looking for a low rate, renewable energy, or a fixed or variable rate plan, we can help you get the best plan for you. When you choose a new provider or plan, you don’t have to worry about losing service while the transition is made. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) ensures that once you select a switch date, your service will continue uninterrupted as you switch from one provider to another.

Tips for Electric Savings during the Hot Summers

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Summer brings warm temperatures, pool parties, barbecues, and a lot of energy use. You can cut back on that energy use and still keep cool by following these simple tips. Some tips will cost nothing to implement, others suggest you replace outdated appliances to maximize energy savings. All in all, these tips will save you energy and money in the long run.

  • Upgrade your AC — If your AC is more than 20 years old, it is not nearly as efficient as it could be. Upgrading your AC to a newer, more efficient model will save a lot of electricity in the coming years. Be sure you get a unit that is appropriately sized for your home; oversized units do not cool your home any faster, but they do use a lot more electricity.
  • Cooking — Use the smallest cooking appliance to get the job done. Ovens use a lot of electricity, and they also add more heat to your home, which in turn causes your AC to work harder. Use microwaves or crock pots to cut back on energy use and heat gain. If you do need to use the oven, consider baking in the morning when it’s
    usually cooler.
  • Thermostat — Installing a programmable thermostat can help cut down on energy use throughout the day. These thermostats let you set what temperatures you want for different parts of the day. You can have a nice cool home starting just before you get home from work, let the system shut down overnight, cool down in the morning, and shut down while you’re at work.
  • Sunlight — Keep sunlight from overheating your home by closing curtains or treating your windows with a low-e film. You could also consider planting trees on the south and west sides of your home. They will shade your home during the summer, but let light through in the winter when you need the extra warmth.
  • Fans — Using fans in conjunction with your AC will allow you to set the thermostat a bit higher, as the fans create a wind chill when blowing directly on you. On cooler days, open the windows and use fans instead of the AC.
  • Water Use — Lower your water heater from 140° to 120°F and use less hot water while showering. Either turn the heat down or take shorter showers. You could also consider installing a tankless water heater, which is far more efficient.
  • Lights — Old incandescent bulbs have been called “heaters with light as a byproduct.” These old bulbs let off a lot of heat and consume a lot of electricity compared to CFLs or LEDs. LEDs are 80-90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and they emit much less heat, which will help keep your home cooler.
  • AC Service — Tune up your AC every 6-12 months by having a professional service it for you. They will keep it running efficiently, ensuring your home stays cool while using as little electricity as possible. You should also clean or replace the air filter every 1-3 months to keep airflow at its maximum.

 

  • Ductwork — Ensure that the ducts and pipes for your AC are well sealed. Any cracks or gaps will let the chilled air escape throughout your home’s infrastructure, which will keep it from cooling efficiently.
  • Go Outside — Spend time outside and leave the AC off. This will keep you from using electricity in your home and allow you to soak up some rays and enjoy the outdoors. Take a dip in a pool to help keep yourself cool and grill outdoors to keep from adding excess heat to your home.

As the days heat up, so do the Dallas electric prices. You have the power to choose a Dallas electricity provider that gives you the cheapest electric rates. Switching to a new provider before the temperatures rise will ensure you get a good low rate for your electricity. Shop Dallas Electricity will help you sort through the providers and plans available to you, so you can pick the best plan for your home.

Electricity Tips Simplified

There are a large number of ways you can cut your home energy usage. Cutting back on energy usage saves you money and is good for the environment. Many of the tips we’ll share with you today don’t even require you to spend any additional money to upgrade your home. Something as simple as moving a piece of furniture can actually yield energy saving benefits!

 

  • Consolidating your entertainment center into a single outlet with a power strip will allow you to shut all of the electronics in it off at the same time. Electronics drain electricity even when they are off, but by switching the power strip off, you will stop the flow of electricity to these devices.
  • Switching to more energy efficient lighting like CFL or LED bulbs will save 80-90% of the energy used in lighting.
  • When looking to replace electronics or appliances, look for Energy Star certified products. Energy Star products are 20-30% more efficient than other products of the same type.
  • If you print a lot, consider getting refillable cartridges. They will save on waste and refilling the ink yourself is much cheaper than buying new cartridges.
  • Only run full loads of clothes and dish washers. They use about the same amount of energy for small loads as they do for large ones.
  • Find and seal any leaks in pipes or air ducts. These leaks can have a major impact on your energy use, regardless of how small they may be.
  • If you have a small yard with grass that’s not very thick, consider using an electric mower. You’ll save on gas purchases and eliminate a good portion of carbon emissions.
  • Clean the condenser coils on your refrigerator. Clean coils allow the compressor to work more efficiently.
  • Clean or replace the air vents on your air conditioning and heating systems every 1-3 months. Clogged vents reduce airflow and make the system work harder.
  • Ensure furniture is not blocking any air vents in your home. Blocked vents make it take longer for your air conditioning and heat to make your home comfortable.
  • Close off vents and shut doors to unused rooms that you don’t want climate controlled.
  • If you have children, consider installing occupancy sensors in their bedrooms and playrooms. Children may not always shut the lights off when they leave a room, but an occupancy sensor will do it for them after they leave the room for a time.
  • Use reusable containers to carry food or drinks with you to work to help cut back on waste.
  • Whenever possible, use electronic bill paying methods. Some Dallas electricity providers offer cheap rates on plans with electronic payment.
  • Lower your water heater from the factory default of 140°F to 120°F to save a good deal of electricity.
  • Take care of chores like clothes and dish washing, vacuuming, and meal prep early in the morning. These chores can add to the heat in your home, which will make it more uncomfortable if done at night in the summer.
  • Use the smallest appliance necessary to cook food. Ovens use significantly more electricity than microwaves, toasters, or slow cookers.
  • When cooking on the stovetop, make sure to use a pot or pan that completely covers the heating element. Not only is this more efficient, but it can prevent ceramic element covers from breaking.
  • On particularly warm days, consider grilling outside to keep from overheating your home.
  • Use a bucket or trash container to collect rainwater for use in gardening or cleaning.

 

There are still a myriad of other ways to reduce your energy usage. While saving energy can save you money, so too can switching your energy provider.Shop Dallas Electricity will help you compare several energy companies at once, so you get the best deal on electricity. You have the power to choose an energy plan that fits your needs, including plans with e-billing discounts or renewable energy.

Energy Saving Lutron Sensor

Saving energy is a primary concern for a lot of people these days. Cutting back on energy use will help us globally, environmentally, and economically. A sustainable living will prolong the life of the environment. We implement several methods to conserve energy, like cutting back on air conditioner use, weather stripping our homes, and shutting off lights when we leave a room. Fortunately, with the advancements in technology, the last option can be automatic. Motions detecting light switches have been around for a long time, but they have only recently been used in common indoor applications.

Today, you can find motion light switches in public restrooms, office rooms,  outside our homes (security lights), and frozen food sections of markets. These switches turn the lights on as soon as a person enters the room and shuts them off after a period of inactivity, usually a couple minutes. Sometimes, this can lead to being left in the dark if you don’t move enough while in the room. Fortunately, there is a solution to the premature darkening and the wasted minutes of energy after leaving.

Lutron created the Maestro occupancy sensor switch based on this motion sensing technology, but with some improvements. The switch’s basic functions are still to turn on when you enter and turn off when you leave. However, this switch is configurable for several different situations. The switch can be set to detect high levels of motion, such as walking, or low levels of motion, such as typing on a keyboard. This means that even though you may not be moving much, the lights won’t go out on you. What’s more is the switch will automatically turn the lights off as soon as you leave? The Maestro sensor can also be set with a dimmer and a vacancy mode. The vacancy mode means you need  to press the switch to turn the lights off, but they will turn themselves off when you leave. This is good for families with pets.

These occupancy sensors are a great way to save on electricity, especially in homes where lights get left on frequently. Installing one of these light switches takes about 15 minutes and can save up to 50% on your lighting energy usage. They also monitor the ambient light level in your home, so they don’t turn on when there is plenty of ambient light, but it will learn to automatically turn on at certain light levels if you tend to turn the lights on when there is still some ambient light.

In addition to changing the light switches, changing your lights will save you money as well. Upgrading from old incandescent light bulbs to more efficient LEDs will save 80-90% on your lighting electricity usage. And signing up with a Dallas electricity provider that offers cheap electricity rates will also get you a huge savings. Shop Dallas Electricity will give you the power to choose your electricity provider and the energy plan you want for your home or office.

Retail Electricity Providers (REPs)

Texas has had a deregulated energy market for over a decade, giving Dallas and other cities the power to choose an electricity provider based on various criteria, including cheap electricity. Deregulation was a major step to freeing up the market from monopolistic utilities drive driving prices down. But, since the market was deregulated, utilities were split into three parts: Generators, TDSPs, and REPs. Power generators are facilities like wind or solar farms, coal plants, and natural gas plants. These places generate the electricity. The Transmission and Distribution Service Providers (TDSPs) transmit the electricity over the wires. They are sometimes called the wire company, and they maintain all the power lines and restore power if it goes out. Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) are merchants who sell electricity to you, the consumer.

REPs like TriEagle Energy purchase shares of electricity from electricity generators. When you sign up with a REP, you pay for the electricity you use. This payment covers the cost of the electricity shares you consume, as well as the use of the wires for it to get to you. All REPs offer multiple plans, allowing you to choose one that best suits your needs. You can choose a month to month plan, which tend have higher monthly rates, and they can go up or down each month (also known as a variable rate plan), but there is no cancellation fee. Longer contract terms will have a cancellation fee if you back out early, and they can last usually anywhere between 3 and 36 months, but the rates tend to be lower and they will stay locked in.

Locked in rates means that if you have a plan for 10 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and the cost of electricity goes up a couple cents, you will continue to pay 10 cents/kWh. By the same token, if the price goes down, you will still pay the higher rate. Still, these plans offer a security in knowing more or less what your electricity bill will be each month. You can also choose plans based on whether they offer electricity from renewable sources like solar or wind power. All plans have an Electricity Facts Label (EFL) that will tell you exactly how much renewable energy, if any, is used in your plan.

Shopping for electricity doesn’t need to be difficult or overwhelming. Shop Dallas Electricity will help you find the best deals on cheap electricity rates in Dallas. Remember, ultimately, you have the power to choose the plan and the type of electricity you use, whether it be conventional or renewable. Take advantage of this power and find an electricity provider for yourself today!