• Presenting the Past: Ups and Downs of Hollywood Prequels

    Some of the most anticipated films of any year aren't movie sequels but their prequels, like this year's Monsters University. After all, haven't you wondered why Monstropolis residents are scared of children or how our favorite monsters got to be scarers? Just like sequels, some of these movies ... Continue Reading »

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Energy-Saving Tips

Texas Residents: Learn How To Save Energy!

Everyone can benefit from using less energy! The reason is simple: The more energy you save, the less money you spend on electricity. This room-by-room guide is designed to help Texas residents start saving big on electric bills. Whether you are looking to compare electric companies in Texas or hoping to save the environment, these energy-saving tips could help you save hundreds in electricity costs this year!

Lower Your Electric Bills

Lowering your monthly electric bills is easier than you might think. You don't have to install a roof full of solar panels or quit using the air conditioner. There are dozens of easy, inexpensive ways you can cut back on energy use and lower your monthly payments. The Texas area has its own set of challenges and opportunities for customers looking to cut back on their electricity use. See what changes you should make today!

Electricity-Saving Tips for Texas Residents:

Follow these simple steps to reduce your electricity use and start saving money on your electric bills.

Living Room

Texas energy customers will spend more of their electricity dollars cooling their homes than anything else. But keep your AC in check: 78 degrees in the summer should provide you with optimal comfort and energy savings. In the winter, try to keep your heat set at 68 degrees.

Use window shades, blinds or tinted glass on windows to control the sun. Summer heat is best controlled through windows with a low SHGC, or solar heat gain coefficient. Look for windows with an SHGC of less than .30.

Caulk around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.

Use ceiling fans while you're in the room, but turn them off when you leave. Fans circulate the air to create a draft, cooling you. Unfortunately, a ceiling fan does nothing to cool a room.

Install energy-efficient lighting. LED light bulbs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Unplug electronics when they are not in use to eliminate wasted standby energy.

Kitchen

When the weather is nice, go outside and enjoy it. Grilling items outside instead of using the oven can reduce the heat in your home.

Preheat items in the microwave before cooking to reduce the amount of time a hot oven has to be on.

Use small appliances whenever possible to avoid heating the oven and use less electricity.

On the stovetop, choose the right size pan for the burner you're using. A pan that's smaller than the burner, wastes energy.

Purchase ENERGY STAR® appliances and maintain them in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. This will save money on your electric bills and keep your appliances working longer.

Keep your refrigerator running at its best: Food should be stored at 38 degrees, and the freezer should be kept at 5 degrees.

Dust your refrigerator coils regularly and check doors to make sure seals are tight to keep the unit working efficiently.

Only wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher and air dry them whenever possible.

Laundry Room

High-efficiency appliances make a big difference in electricity usage. Check into high-efficiency washers and dryers to save time and electricity.

Wait to do laundry until you have enough for a full load.

Clean the lint filter in the dryer before every load.

Use cold water and air dry clothes when possible.

Bathroom

Heating water is the second biggest energy expense for Texas residents. Your hot water heater has to heat and reheat water to keep a constant supply for you, causing it to use a large amount of energy. Keep your hot water heater insulated and look into energy efficient pumps to limit energy waste.

Turn down the hot-water thermostat to 120°F. This will keep you from scalding your hands and save energy!

Repair any leaks in faucets or hot water pipes to eliminate wasted water.

Look into low-flow showerheads and faucets that use less water. They are relatively inexpensive and could save you hundreds of dollars over their lifetime.

Don't let hot water run while you are doing simple tasks such as brushing your teeth.

Bedroom

Turn off and unplug appliances when they aren't in use. That includes phone chargers and TVs that draw power even when they are turned off.

Use a fan in the summer and open windows whenever it's nice outside to reduce cooling costs.

Install a programmable thermostat to save energy at night when you are less sensitive to the temperature.

Do not close AC vents in unused rooms. Shutting off vents adds pressure to your unit, causing air leaks. In addition, it could damage the air conditioner, leading to costly repairs.

Garage

Garages and garage doors can allow an enormous amount of heat to seep in, causing you to use more electricity to cool your home. Insulate your garage and garage door. Make sure to use weather-stripping on doors leading to areas without insulation.

Attic

Measure your insulation and add more if needed. Texas residents should aim for attic insulation that is at least 12 inches thick.

Check AC ducts for leaks and replace air filters at least every three months.

Check your wiring: Not only can old electrical systems consume a lot of electricity, but old wiring can also be a fire hazard.

Landscaping

Use landscaping to create shade around your house.

Plant native vegetation that requires little maintenance to reduce energy use on your lawn.

Have your air conditioning units serviced every year – including a thorough cleaning of AC condenser/evaporator coils to keep the AC working efficiently.

Office

Use power strips to protect from surges but also so that you can easily turn off appliances when not in use.

ENERGY STAR isn't just for kitchen appliances. Check out major electronics that bear the ENERGY STAR logo to find energy savings for your office.