Summer often comes with an increase in energy bills as temperatures rise and air conditioners must work harder to keep up.
This summer, Texas residents may notice an even larger-than-average increase in energy bills as three of the state's coal-burning power plants have just been shut down, resulting in an energy shortage and price hikes. Is it even possible to keep energy bills low in the Texas heat and with such an electricity shortage? The answer is yes -- if you follow these tips.
1. Turn Up the Temperature
If you slowly turn the thermostat up one degree at a time, your body will adapt to the new temperature. Before long, you will be just as comfortable at 78 degrees as you were at 72. Savings will vary, but many residents save about three percent on their cooling bill for every degree they turn up the thermostat.
2. Utilize Your Programmable Thermostat
Adjust your programmable thermostat settings to your current schedule. Turn the temperature up to 85 degrees when you're not home. (Leave it at 80 if you have pets.) If you have a smart thermostat, you can always change the temperature remotely if you decide to come home early one day.
3. Rely on Your Window Treatments
Window treatments present an often-overlooked opportunity for free temperature regulation! Close them when the sun is shining to prevent heat from entering your home. This reduces the burden on your air conditioner. Open them at night so that any heat in your home can escape through the cool glass windows.
4. Cook Outside
Nothing heats up a home faster than cooking a big meal in the oven. As the oven releases heat, the air conditioner must work even harder to remove it. To keep energy bills low this summer, cook outside on the grill more often. Another option is to prepare cool menu items like sandwiches and salads.
5. Use Your Ceiling Fans
A ceiling fan won't lower the temperature of your home, but it will push warm air down from the ceiling, which keeps the temperature of your home steady and may minimize the burden on your air conditioner. Even when energy prices soar, ceiling fans cost pennies a day to run.
Don't let increasing energy costs get the best of you. For more energy-saving advice, check out our Energy Saving Infographics.