It goes without saying that Texas is HOT in the summer. We can all make small changes that can dramatically decrease the amount of energy we consume, thereby reducing our electric bills. The Austin Energy website provides some great advice to avoid wasting electricity.
* Keep lights off whenever possible. The standard light bulb gives off 90% heat and 10% light — heat that makes your air conditioner run more. Switch to CFLs which give off 10% heat, 90% light and use up to 75% less power than incandescents.
* Keeps curtains and blinds drawn on windows hit be direct sunlight. Direct sunlight shinning into a room can raise temperatures 5 degrees or more very quickly.
* Set your AC thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when possible. Every degree higher can save up to $90 a summer. Use a programmable thermostat to raise the temperature when you are gone and cool down your house before you return.
* Wash and dry clothes, iron and cook in the morning or later in the evening. Microwave ovens produce much less heat than stoves for cooking.
* Washing clothes in cold water rather than hot can save as much as $100 a year or more in energy use.
* Replace old refrigerators. They use about twice the energy as newer models. Refrigerators located in the garage use even more.
* Setting your water heater temperature lower than 120 degrees will save about $45 a year on average.
* Unplug cell phone chargers, microwaves, TVs, computers and other electrical devices which are using power even when turned off. Phantom power use can account for as much as 10% of home energy use.
* When possible, reduce the number of times you come in and out of entry doors, which brings in hot air and lets cool air out.
* Fans blowing directly on you will make you feel 2-4 degrees cooler.