Top 5 Ways to Save Energy This Summer
Everyone knows Texas summers can be brutal. And it’s no surprise that energy usage can climb right along with the temperature. But Gexa Energy is here for you.
Check out these tips designed to help you beat the summer heat—and take control of your energy usage all season long.
#1 Get all STAR struck
Take advantage of ENERGY STAR® products, tax breaks and rebates
ENERGY STAR is the government-backed symbol that signifies energy efficiency. Putting ENERGY STAR products in your home is a great way to take control of your electricity usage this summer—and all year round.
An ENERGY STAR-certified central air conditioning unit typically draws 8% less energy than a conventional new model and could use quite a bit less than an older unit you may have in your home.
ENERGY STAR LED light bulbs are another bright idea for controlling electricity usage. Consider swapping out your old incandescent bulbs (or even CFLs) for these new energy misers. They not only use a lot less energy (typically about 25 to 80% less) than traditional incandescents, but they also produce less heat, which can cut down on your A/C usage.
#2 Go to great panes
Adjust your windows (and window treatments)
According to the US Department of Energy, heat gain and loss through windows accounts for 25 to 30% of a home’s heating and cooling energy use.
Utilize curtains and drapes. Blackout curtains or those with closed-weave fabrics work best to keep the heat out. Shut draperies and curtains over windows receiving direct sunlight during the day. Studies show that medium-colored draperies with white plastic backings can reduce heat gain by 33%.
Install reflective shades and blinds. Properly fitted shades with light-colored materials facing the window can effectively deflect the sun’s heat and keep the inside of your house cooler. Reflective blinds can do the same. When completely closed, they can cut heat gain by around 45%. Both these tips will keep your family more comfortable this summer and help you delay using your A/C, which saves energy.
#3 There’s something in the air
Keep your A/C usage under control
How you manage the temperature inside your home can have an impact not just on your family’s comfort, but on your energy usage, too.
Raise the temperature just a tad. According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas you may be able to save 6 to 8% on your energy costs for every degree you raise your thermostat above 78 degrees in the summertime.
Get a programmable thermostat. It can help you use your A/C more efficiently. Some manufacturers claim you can save 10% or more on your heating and cooling costs by doing this.
Use your ceiling fans properly. Ceiling fans can help ease your A/C usage. But they only make you feel cooler when you’re in the room. So, be sure to turn them off when you leave.
Vent your bathrooms and laundry room. This will help pull heat and humidity from your home and prevent your A/C from working overtime. To reduce heat most effectively, make sure fans are vented to the outside, not just to the attic.
In fact, by replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you may be able to save up to $75 each year.
Hunt for rebates. There’s an added bonus to buying ENERGY STAR products as part of your summer energy usage strategy: You could save on your purchase with rebates that may be available depending on where you live. Look for rebates here >> energystar.gov/rebate-finder
#4 Dive in and save energy
Pamper Your Pool
Gathering round the pool is a fun summertime activity and a great way to cool off. But pool systems can be energy hogs. Combining the tips below could save you 75% on your pool pump electricity costs.
Install a timer to help control pool pump cycling and avoid running it all day long. Set the timer to activate your pump for several short cycles during the day to collect debris.
Maintain your pool skimmer. Most pool debris can be removed using the skimmer instead of recirculating the water with the pump and using energy unnecessarily. Clean and replace the basket and weir according to manufacturer’s instructions, and more often if needed.
Cut filtration time to six hours a day, and you could save 60% on your pumping electricity costs. If the water appears dirty, increase that time in half-hour increments until you get the results you want.
Keep intake grates clear. Clogged drains make pool pumps work harder, which wastes energy.
#5 Strip “vampires” of their power
Root out energy-wasting fiends in your house
Energy “vampires” are devices that keep drawing power even when they’re not officially on. Computers, TVs, older set-top cable boxes and DVRs are some of the biggest culprits. All told, these energy suckers can account for 10% of the power used in an average home, and they could add as much as $100 to $200 to your annual electricity costs.
Here’s how you can save money this summer by banishing energy vampires:
Plug in to power strips. They enable you to turn off multiple electronic devices with just one switch.
Reduce idle time. For example, put your computer in Sleep Mode when you walk away for any length of time.
Buy a watt meter to measure the actual energy usage of devices in your home. You’ll be surprised at how much power seemingly idle devices can draw. Decide whether it’s worth keeping them plugged in.
Purchase so-called low standby products, which are designed to draw less power (or go into a “deep sleep” mode) when not in use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol.
Texas summers are always going to be hot. Fortunately, there are many tips here you can use right away to take control of your electricity usage now. Others are best seen as an investment that can help cut your energy costs in the long run. Pick and choose which tips are right for you.
Have a wonderful, energy-saving summer from your friends at Gexa Energy!