• Summertime, and the Living is…Expensive

    6:42 PM | July 17th, 2019

    If you’re like us, you love Summer but hate what it does to your energy bill. Beating the heat can get expensive in Texas since there’s so much of it, but there are simple tips and tricks that you can implement to shave that extra 20% off your electricity usage. If you’ve been in Texas a while you may know about a few of these, but this summer’s energy prices look to be especially bad for Texas customers so it’s a good idea to review your energy saving options.


    Keep your thermostat comfortable, but conservative. Many people don’t know this, but turning off your HVAC completely means that it will have to work twice as hard to cool your home when you turn it back on. While you’re in, keep the thermostat as high as possible without sacrificing personal comfort. After the sun goes down you can set it a bit higher, and when you leave the house set it to 80º. Remember: for every degree above 72º, you save up to 3% of your cooling expenses.


    Switch out your light bulbs. 90% of the energy that incandescent bulbs use just comes out as heat. Switching to LED or CFL bulbs can save you as much as 80% of the electricity used to light your home. Also, don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room.


    Clean or change your filters, and keep your vents obstruction free. Maintaining proper airflow is key to keeping your HVAC system working efficiently. Make sure you have the right filters for your system, and arrange your furniture so that no vents are blocking the circulation of cool air.


    Got fans? Use them! Speaking of circulation, ceiling fans are a great and cost-effective way to help keep rooms cool. Don’t have a ceiling fan in a room? A portable fan will work just as well. With a good fan, you can raise the thermostat and keep the same comfort level.


    Hi Sun! Bye Sun! That brutal summer sun can wreak havoc on your indoor temperature, so keep that fireball where it belongs— outside where you can work on your tan. Close the blinds on the sunny side of your house during the hottest parts of the day. In the evening you can open them again, and if it’s not too hot you can even turn your thermostat up and open a window to let in the cooler air. Just don’t forget to close them again in the morning to keep that cool air in.


    Go green. Plant a tree. A well-placed tree or bush can save you $100 to $200 a year in cooling costs. They provide great natural shade and look beautiful as well.


    Track your energy usage with a smart meter. Smart meters are the latest innovation in energy technology. When you register your service location at smartmetertexas.com, you can track your consumption and know how much power you’re using at all times. This can help you pinpoint poor usage habits and anticipate what your bill will look like.


    Check and replace your insulation. Good insulation keeps you comfortable year-round. If it’s been awhile since you checked the status of your insulation or if you live in an old house, it may be time to upgrade. One of the most overlooked and important places to have sufficient insulation is in your attic, so make sure it’s properly insulated to keep the air from rising out of your home.


    Don’t get sucked dry by vampire power. Many electronics never fully turn off. Instead, they rest in a standby mode that continues to draw power. According to one study, about a quarter of all residential energy consumption is wasted on devices in idle power mode. To make sure this vampire power doesn’t suck you dry, plug your electronics into a power strip or surge protector and turn it off when you aren’t using the devices. Depending on how many electronics you have in your home, the difference could start to show on your very next bill.


    Switch to a fixed rate electricity plan. Since Texas is a wholesale power market, electricity prices are subject to market forces. This is great when prices are low, but in the summer months when demand is higher your electricity rate can start to soar out of control. At VOLT, our fixed rate plans for both residential and commercial energy customers offer a more balanced billing experience, giving you the least exposure to real time market fluctuations. Fixed rate plans are a great long-term energy strategy for homes and businesses alike, and at VOLT we offer both 12-month and 24-month plans with fixed rates.


    To learn more about how VOLT can keep your pricing fair this summer, visit voltpower.net or give us a call at 281-359-5900. Our live energy experts are available to talk through your energy questions and concerns Mondays thru Fridays from 8am to 7pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.