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With temperatures that can climb to an average of 96 in the summer, Dallas residents know the effects of running their A/C all day long. In fact, these temperatures are part of the reason why the average Texas home uses 1,140 kWh of electricity a month, the fifth-highest usage in the nation.
To help Dallas residents cut back, we are going to cover six simple steps you can take to make sure your electric bill doesn't take a bigger bite out of your paycheck than it needs to.
1. Consider Switching Energy Providers
Since Dallas residents have the power to choose their electricity provider, one of the easiest ways they can save on their electricity bills is by switching electricity plans.
On ElectrictyRates.com, you can compare electricity providers and easily lock in a fantastic fixed-rate electricity plan. Simply enter your ZIP Code at the top of the page and start comparing electricity rates.
2. Figure Out What's Using the Most Energy in Your Home
The best way to save on your electricity bill is to figure out what's the largest consumer of energy in your home and cutting back on that appliance's usage. This may help you realize the largest potential savings on your electricity bill.
You can learn more about calculating the consumption of electric appliances through ElectricityRates.com's resources, but most likely, it's either your A/C or heating.
As we've already stated, the Texas heat can be brutal, so you'll probably end up using more of your A/C as opposed to your heating system. But as we learned this past February, you need to be prepared for anything.
3. Lower Your A/C and Heating Consumption
Again, these are the two biggest electricity hogs in the average home. Here are a few energy-saving tactics you can use to cut back their consumption.
Lower Your Air Conditioning Usage
Start to lower your air conditioning consumption by increasing the temperature by just a degree and seeing if you're still comfortable. It might not seem like much, but in the long-run, it can lead to huge savings. It’s important to discover a temperature level in which you’re most comfortable, so continue adjusting the temperature until you find your sweet spot. However, be mindful of how hot it is, especially if you have children or pets in the home.
You can set your air conditioning to 86 F when no one is home, or you can simply turn off your A/C unit completely.
Open Your Windows and Turn On Your Fans
A simple solution for reducing your A/C consumption is opening your windows for natural airflow. You'll get fresh air and save money too.
Also, you can use a fan to cool yourself down. Whether it's battery-powered, plug-in, or a ceiling fan, it will use significantly less energy than an A/C unit.
Use a Portable A/C Unit
If you spend most of the day in a particular area of your home, portable air conditioners are the best option to save on energy consumption. You can keep the places you spend the most time cool without wasting energy in places you don't.
Consider Getting a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats can be a smart choice if you often forget to turn off your A/C. You program it to lower or increase the temperature at specific times from your phone. Some thermostats can even detect if you're not home and turn your A/C off for you.
Lowering Your Heat Usage
Similar to reducing your A/C consumption, you can adjust your thermostat by a degree every day. This time you want to decrease the degree rather than increase it. Do this until you reach the lowest temperature you are the most comfortable at. You can also bundle up with warmer clothing to help cut back on the use of heat.
When no one is home, you can lower your thermostat to 55 F degrees to make the most out of your energy savings.
Keep Your Home Leak-Free
Check your home for any cracks or leaks that could be letting air escape. If you do have any leaks, call a professional to come out and fix them before your next cold spell comes around.
Get High-Efficiency Windows
To make your home resistant to cold weather, consider switching to weatherized or high-efficiency windows. These windows are typically double-paned which insulates your home better.
You can also open up your blinds to let the heat from the sun warm up your room instead of your heating system.
4. Cut Back on Appliance Use
Whether it's your dishwasher, dryer, refrigerator or washing machine. Your household appliances use energy, which can add up on your electricity bill. Here are some ways to reduce your appliance use.
- Run full loads in the dishwasher.
- Air dry your clothes.
- Don't leave the fridge door open for long.
- Choose the cold water option for your dishwasher and washing machine.
- Use energy-efficient (smart) appliances.
5. Cut back on Light Usage
Unlike heating and cooling systems, your home's lighting accounts for a smaller amount of energy consumption. Still, cutting back can help reduce your electric bill.
Turn Off The Lights
Plain and simple, switch off the lights when you're not using them.
Switch to LED Lights
LED lights are more energy-efficient than traditional lights and last longer too. Plus, some LED lights are smart lights and can be programmed to turn on or off on a schedule.
Use Natural Light
Pull back the curtains on your windows during the day and let the sunlight replace the light bulb.
6. Oncor's Take a Load off Texas
Oncor’s Take a Load Off Texas program encourages Texas residents and businesses to lower their energy bills by purchasing energy upgrades. The goal is to help consumers maximize their savings and make the most out of their energy plan. To enroll in this program, you must have Oncor as your utility provider, which is the case for the majority of Dallas residents.
The Take A Load Off, Texas program offers a wide range of incentives. This includes upgrades such as:
- Home Energy Efficiency Program – Rebates and incentives for everything from insulation to HVAC systems
- Residential Solar Program – Provides support for installation of solar panels
- Oncor Retail Products Program – Find sales and discounts on LED lighting products and smart thermostats
How To Get Started on the Take a Load off Texas Program
To get started, visit the Take A Load Off Texas site, click on "Residential" and explore the upgrades listed. There is a list of participating companies/contractors to choose from.