We’re all looking for more ways to decrease our electricity usage, especially during the summer when Texas temperatures consistently reach the triple digits. Here are some free and easy tips that can help you save electricity and keep money in your wallet during the summer months.
1. Cook with the microwave or outside grill as opposed to the stove or oven. Microwaves use two-thirds less electricity than stoves. Your stove and oven also create more work for your air conditioner as heat escapes from these appliances into your residence.
2. Let your dishes air dry. Turn off the heat-dry setting on your dishwasher. Besides using electricity to dry them with heat, the heat generated by your dishwasher escapes into the kitchen, requiring your air conditioner to work harder.
3. Keep your fridge full. Refrigerators work more efficiently when they are full. If you don’t want to fill it with food, leave a pack or two of bottled water in there. While we’re discussing the fridge, don’t keep the door open longer than necessary. Decide what you’re getting out of it before you open the door and help the kids do the same.
4. Turn off unnecessary lights. We’ve all heard this one a thousand times, but it’s an easy way to lower your electricity bill during the summer months. Turning off lights not only eliminates the electricity used to power the light, but it also eliminates the heat that the bulbs give off. Ninety percent of the energy traditional light bulbs need is given off as heat. If you’re willing to spend some money to save electricity in the long run, you should consider upgrading to CFLs or LEDs. More on that topic soon.
5. Program your thermostat to the recommended temperatures. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home and 85 degrees when you’re away. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, try setting reminders on your phone to prompt you to turn up your thermostat when leaving for work. One thing not to do: When you get home, don’t set your thermostat to a lower temperature than you desire. Setting your thermostat to 70 doesn’t cool your house any faster than setting it to 78.
6. Use ceiling fans in occupied rooms. Ceiling fans and portable fans don’t actually lower the temperature, but they do make rooms feel 4-6 degrees cooler. The trick with ceiling fans is to remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
7. Reduce your hot water use. This can range from taking shorter showers to switching to cold water for most of your laundry loads. The steam from hot water heats your home, causing your air conditioner to work overtime. Heating water also requires electricity if you have an electric water heater. If you heat less water, then you use less electricity, which saves you money.
8. Wash only full loads of laundry. This applies to using the dishwasher, too. Also, if you’re going to use your dryer instead of letting your clothes air dry, try to use the machine with back-to-back loads. This capitalizes on heat that the machine has already produced.
9. Turn off unused electronics and appliances. Off means off. If a device like your computer or monitor is asleep, it is still consuming electricity—a lot more than it would if it was turned off. Electronics also generate heat when turned on, similar to using your stove, which causes your air conditioner to work more to keep your residence cool.
9a. Unplug unused electronics. Take the next step when you turn electronics off and simply unplug them. Mobile chargers, small kitchen appliances, and easy-to-reach lights are all logical choices. These devices continue to draw even a little power when they are not in use but still connected. So why not pull the plug and save just a little bit more?
If you’re looking for more substantial ways to save electricity and money, you could try sealing your ducts, investing in ENERGY STAR appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, installing window treatments to shade your house from the sun’s heat, or upgrading your insulation. Don’t forget that you can also use more efficient light bulbs that use less energy and emit less heat.
What is your favorite energy saving tip?