• How to Prepare for a Cold Winter in Texas

    5:11 PM | April 20th, 2019

    Autumn took its sweet time showing up this year, but now that the leaves are finally starting to fall it’s time for Texans to start thinking about how to prepare for winter. VOLT customers in the Panhandle have already seen snow this fall, and experts are predicting cooler temperatures and wetter weather for Texas residents.

    We Texans are adept at beating the heat, especially those of us who live in the South and near the Gulf. But since we only get truly bitter cold every once in awhile, we aren’t always used to facing the challenges of energy efficiency in winter weather. Here are a few things to consider when preparing yourself for winter weather, and a couple of easy tricks you can implement to make sure you stay warm and within your energy usage goals.

    Electric Heating is Less Efficient than Gas

    One of the most important things to know about how you use energy in the wintertime is the way you heat your home. In colder climates where below zero winters are the norm, most homes use gas heating due to its greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness when compared to electricity. However, Texas homes that rarely see freezing temperatures usually have an electric HVAC system that handles their heating needs due to its lower installation and ongoing maintenance costs. While we expect our bills to rise in the summertime with frequent A/C use, our more mild winters have taught us to expect lower heating bills. When temperatures drop for long periods and you have to crank the thermostat to stay warm, electric heating can contribute to an even higher energy bill than electric cooling.

    How to Curb High Energy Usage

    If your home uses electricity for its heating needs, energy efficiency is your best bet to keep your electric bills consistent. Make sure your HVAC system is in good condition with clean filters and unblocked air vents, and turn it down when you aren’t at home. Use smart lighting habits, check the seals on your windows and doors, and make sure your insulation is sufficient to keep the heat inside. If your home is equipped with a Smart Meter, register it online at SmartMeterTexas.com to track your energy usage in real time and adjust your habits when necessary.

    For Texans on a reduced or fixed income, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a US Department of Energy-funded program that helps low income customers control their energy costs through installation of weatherization materials and education. You can apply to find weatherization help online at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. To find the agency in your county to call for assistance, click here.

    Read more: How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient in the Winter

    Lock in Your Electricity Costs with a VOLT Fixed Rate Plan

    Just like in warm weather, there are little things you can do to lower energy consumption and make sure you’re getting the most from your electricity in the wintertime. One of the best ways to protect yourself from fluctuating energy costs is to lock in your rate with a VOLT Fixed Price energy plan. With a fixed rate plan, your cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) stays consistent for the length of the contract so you know what to expect from each electricity bill. We also offer balanced billing options to ensure your monthly bill stays within your budget year-round. Every one of our power plans are designed for optimal flexibility and offer transparent billing with no hidden terms or fees.

    To find the plan that’s right for you this winter, contact VOLT today.