Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tips to Save on Electricity this Summer

As we approach the hot summer months here in Houston, it strikes panic in my heart and wallet because I know the higher electricity bills are coming!
It’s time to get ready. Now, don’t go running and screaming or burying your head in the sand! There are things you can do to lower your electricity bill!

Here are 10 tips to help you save this summer:
1.  Get an energy audit. This is a great idea because it will point out your biggest energy wasters. You should then have a plan of attack to correct any energy wasters in your home and still have time to get them corrected before the dead heat of summer gets here.
2. Seal leaks. Your precious conditioned air could be seeping out of places you don’t even know of, like your chimney flue, around doors and windows, and even your electrical outlets.
3. Install programmable thermostats. These allow you to set thermostat higher while you’re away and program to cool when you’ll be home.
4.  Turn on the ceiling fan before you turn down the A/C. Fans use a while lot less energy and can make you feel a few degrees cooler almost instantly! Just remember to turn the fan off when you leave the room. While it makes you feel cooler, it doesn’t actually cool the room.
5. Keep the sun out.  Keep your blinds closed when the sunlight is coming in directly, use insulated window treatments that are now available, or put UV sunscreens or window film on your windows to block the heat.
6. Equip your attic. Believe it or not, in the sixth grade, my science fair project was called “Attics: Keep ‘em Cool”. There are definitely significant energy reductions to be had when proper insulation, radiant barrier and ridge vents are installed in your attic. Also, if you’re having a new roof installed, try to choose the lightest color shingle for your home. It helps!
7.  Shop electricity providers. Here in Texas we have options when it comes to electricity providers. Use sites like electricitytexas.com and shop for the best rate and program for you.
8.  Do chores during cooler times of the day. Running appliances (washer/dryer, vacuum, etc) produces heat. Do your chores first thing in the morning or later in the evening when you’re a/C unit doesn’t have to compensate for the extra heat.
9. Keep filters clean. Keep fresh filters in your a/c units so they’re not working overtime to cool your home.
10. Cook outside when possible.  Keep the heat outside so you’re not paying to cool the inside. You don’t have to eat outside, but it could make for some great family picnics!

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