Install Blackout CurtainsIn summer, it’s essential to block out as much heat as possible, and closed blackout curtains are a great way to do that. High-quality curtains can provide a bit of extra insulation in the winter, too.
Service Your FurnaceThough you may not see much snow during Texas winters, home heating can still account for a significant portion of your energy use. Having your furnace or heat pump professionally inspected every year will make sure it’s running efficiently.
Use Ceiling FansCeiling fans create a wind-chill effect to help you stay cool during the summer without using the AC. Fans can be just as useful in winter, too—just switch the blades’ rotation to clockwise to boost the airflow of heat and warm up the room.
Unplug AppliancesEven when turned off, electronic devices still consume energy and can account for nearly 10% of a household’s energy bill. Get in the habit of unplugging appliances you aren’t using to trim that extra usage.
Avoid Peak Energy HoursPower suppliers go through periods of higher demand during “peak hours”—usually from 6 am to 10 am and 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays, depending on the provider you’ve chosen. To reduce strain on the grid, try running the dishwasher, doing laundry, and cooking meals during non-peak hours.
Change Your Air FiltersClogged air filters mean your HVAC unit has to work harder to pull in air. Replace the air filters every three months to cut back on your system’s energy usage.
Wash Clothes in Cold WaterNearly 90% of the energy it takes to run a washing machine goes toward heating the water. Cut that usage in half by switching the temperature from hot to warm, and reduce it even further by using cold water.
Turn Down the Water Heater ThermostatWater heaters are usually preset at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but for maximum energy efficiency, the Energy Department recommends dialing that down to 120 degrees. This small change could result in an energy savings of up to 22%.
Switch to ENERGY STAR® ProductsThe next time you need to replace a major appliance, choose an ENERGY STAR® appliance. These certified machines can reduce your energy use, dropping costs by up to 30%.
Install Door SweepsIf you notice air leaking in or out of your home, add a door sweep to doors that lead to the garage or outside. A properly installed sweep will seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold, limiting air leaks.
Use a Smart ThermostatA smart thermostat can help you cut the energy spent on both heating and cooling. These thermostats can sense when you’re away and automatically adjust to a more energy-efficient temperature.
Check for Structural Holes and GapsReduce drafts in winter by filling gaps around pipes, wiring, vents, recessed lights, windows, and any other fixtures that connect to your home’s exterior, basement, or attic. Spray foam or caulk are both great options to quickly seal the holes.
Use Your DishwasherSave water and the energy needed to heat it by using a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. You can further save up to 15% of the dishwasher’s total energy use by switching from the heat dry to air dry setting.
Compare Your OptionsLiving in a deregulated utility state like Texas means you have more energy choices. If you’ve made fixes and still feel you could make a bigger difference in energy conservation, compare your current provider’s renewable offerings with the competition. The next time you’re reviewing your power bill or shopping for appliances, use this energy efficiency checklist to improve your energy decisions. Remember—the more you check off, the more efficient your home will be!