With recent heat waves setting new records, many Texas residents are looking for ways to reduce their electric bills. In an ideal world, we would have four seasons, a reasonable summer, and solar panels lining our roofs to capture those abundant Texas rays. Unfortunately, Southern weather has a mind of its own, and solar panels aren’t an affordable option for many families.
Here are thirteen easy ways to lower your electric bill, without surrendering your air conditioning or electronics:
Invest in a digital thermostat
A digital thermostat will help you save by letting you know exactly what temperature you’re cooling system is set on, and most have the ability to program them to increase the temperature during certain hours and lower it during others. Market prices range from $15-200+, so there are options for every budget.
Adding blackout panels to your windows can significantly reduce the effect of outside weather on interior temperature by providing solar-blocking protection and an added layer of insulation to windows.
Wash on Cold setting
Using the cold setting on your washing machine cuts its electrical use by 90%. It also reduces the electrical drain on your hot water heater.
Have an energy audit
Contact your electric provider and ask if they offer professional energy auditing services. Many companies provide these services for free, and following their recommendations could save up to 30% on your next electric bill. You can also search for professional energy auditors at the Department of Energy’s website.
Adjust your hot water heater
Hot water heaters are the second largest users of electricity in most homes. Many hot water heaters come pre-set to 140 degrees, but adjusting that temperature to 120 degrees will save usage on your electric bill and reduce your family’s risk of burns.
Use smart power strips
Vampire usage from electronics that are plugged in but not in use really adds up, but unplugging everything when it’s not in use and re-plugging it is a hassle that most people give up on pretty quickly. Smart power strips eliminate the need for plugging and unplugging by cutting off the electrical current when the devices aren’t in use.
Interested in a few more affordable tips to lower your electric bill? Some of these seem like no brainers, but are surprisingly easy to overlook:
- Line (or balcony) dry clothing instead of using the dryer.
- Skip the heated dry on the dishwasher and let dishes air-dry instead.
- Clean/replace air filters every 30 days.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turn the porch light off during the day.
- Use fans for directional air.
- Keep air vents clean and free of dust.