For many people, summer provides the chance to enjoy time outdoors while escaping the winter blues. However, if you live in Texas, summer means dealing with hot and humid weather that often forces you to consume more electricity at home. When this happens, your electricity bills skyrocket.
We explore strategic solutions for reducing your electric bill in the summer without sacrificing comfort. Take a closer look at what you can expect from a Texas summer and options to reduce your energy expenses.
Summer in Texas: What to Expect
Summers in Texas often include harsh heat waves, high humidity rates, and muggy conditions. In the lowlands, summertime temperatures typically hover between 85 and 95 degrees during the day.
Whether you live up north or in the southern region, overnight temperatures rarely drop below the low 70s. As a result of the heat, residents generally spend their time trying to cool down near bodies of water or constantly lowering the temperature on their thermostats to stay comfortable. If you live near the coastline, your air will feel even muggier.
The Cost of Electricity in Texas
Texas residents spend an average of $213 on electricity per month, substantially more than the national monthly average of $122. When it’s particularly warm outside, your AC unit is more likely to run longer to maintain your chosen temperature, resulting in higher energy bills.
The size, condition, and layout of your living space also affect how much you spend to keep it cool. For example, your monthly electric bill will typically stay lower if you live in an apartment. If you live in a small or medium-sized house, the cost could fall between $150 and $300 per month.
11 Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill in the Summer
Reducing your electric bill in the summer is a matter of planning, upgrading your systems, and practicing smart consumption habits. Review our tips to help reduce your expenses, even when living through the Texas heat.
1. Get an Energy Audit
An energy audit is an assessment performed by an energy auditor or registered advisor designed to help you understand how much energy you consume at home. You can use these insights to improve your consumption habits. After the audit, you’ll get a list of recommendations to help you cut down on energy waste and lower high electric bills.
2. Minimize Your Reliance on Your Thermostat
Your thermostat is the critical unit that keeps you and your family relatively cool during strenuous summers. However, that doesn’t mean you should abuse your system to its core. Constantly adjusting the thermostat puts extra strain on your cooling system and forces it to cycle on and off more frequently.
If you want to keep costs down, set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the day when you’re at home and awake. This number helps establish a balance between cool indoor temperatures and reduced energy bills. You can also adjust the schedule to allow the temperature to go up a few degrees when no one is home.
3. Consider Getting a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is a bit more advanced than a programmable unit, as it’s designed to learn your habits and make adjustments and recommendations to help you save. After upgrading to a smart thermostat, you can use the wall-mounted unit or its associated app to establish your daily cooling schedule.
When used properly, a programmable thermostat can reduce a monthly energy bill by an average of 8%. Plus, relying on a schedule rather than raising and lowering the thermostat’s temperature constantly can help lengthen the lifespan of your system.
4. Opt for Energy-Saving Bulbs
Another source of energy waste is often the lightbulbs found in fixtures, lamps, and ceilings. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LED units can save you money in the long run. Upfront, they cost more, but they use up to 90% less energy than standard bulbs while lasting 25 times longer.
Keeping up with regular HVAC maintenance is always worthwhile to help the system run more efficiently. A qualified technician can perform an inspection and tune-up, assessing the unit and offering valuable recommendations to keep it fully operational. They may also provide tips to reduce energy consumption or perform repairs to fix problems causing waste.
It’s also important to change the filter in your HVAC system regularly. A clean filter allows the unit to run efficiently, which means less energy waste. Regular filter changes can also play a role in the lifespan of your air conditioner.
6. Close Your Blinds and Curtains
Keeping your windows covered is a simple yet effective technique for minimizing energy consumption and keeping unwanted heat out of your home. Keep your blinds and curtains closed during daylight hours to keep the sun’s rays out, preventing them from warming the inside of your house. Approximately 76% of sunlight on double-pane windows converts to heat, so window coverings can stop the temperature from rising too high within your space.
7. Unplug Unused Devices and Appliances
Another easy tip for reducing your electric bill is to unplug any devices or appliances when they’re not in use. Chargers and other devices draw electricity even when not connected to phones, tablets, or gadgets. The same is true for your toaster, coffeemaker, and TV.
The cost to keep appliances plugged in when not in use can amount to anywhere between $100 and $200 per year, so unplugging them can put a dent in your energy expenses.
8. Reduce Your Energy Usage During Peak Hours
Peak hours are the period when energy consumption is at its highest, which inflicts a toll on the electrical grid. On-peak rates tend to be higher than off-peak rates, so it’s not surprising that utility companies charge their consumers for using their appliances when the demand for power is higher.
If you want to save money on your electric bill, check with your utility company to find out about time-of-use rates you can use to your advantage. In Texas, off-peak hours typically fall between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. However, your company may have a different off-peak period, so consult your provider and plan your usage accordingly.
9. Consider a Prepaid Electricity Plan
With a prepaid electricity plan, you can pay for your electricity in advance. How is this beneficial from a money standpoint? When you pay upfront, you can only use what you’ve already paid for, requiring you to monitor how much electricity you’re consuming each month.
10. Add a Portable Air Conditioner
Using a portable air conditioner effectively improves your home’s energy efficiency without breaking the bank. Portable cooling units contain fans, which pull the warm air from the surrounding space. The coils inside the unit lower the air’s temperature before expelling it back indoors.
From a financial standpoint, portable conditioners are cost-effective because they only cool a single room. Running your central AC unit cools down the entire space, which uses more energy. By using a portable device instead, you can save up to 72% on electricity costs.
11. Don’t Forget About Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is an insulation method that closes off the openings around your doors and windows. You can use many weatherstripping products, including tape, v-seals, and gaskets. Come summertime, you’ll want to seal any openings tightly to prevent unwanted heat from coming into your home.
This insulation method also helps keep the cool air generated by your AC unit inside. If you want to take it a step further and save even more on monthly bills, consider sealing your home. Estimates show that homeowners can save up to 15% on cooling expenses by sealing their homes and upgrading the insulation.
Power Finance Texas Can Help You Cover Your Electricity Bills
If you’ve taken steps toward reducing your electric bill in the summer but still struggle to cover the cost, Power Finance Texas can help. We offer multiple loan options with fast turnaround times and minimal requirements to qualify. Get the cash you need to pay your rising energy bills by applying for a personal loan today.