While the rest of the country is gearing up for September sweater weather, Central Texas is still sweating through temperatures in the 100s. As we round out the hottest part of the year, follow these tips to keep your summer bills cool.
How to start saving immediately
Take control with DIY home projects
If your bill is high month after month, look for opportunities to save close to home. Take advantage of the DIY energy-saving tips.
Don’t wash money down the drain
It might surprise you to learn how much money your water heater adds to your monthly bill: about $50 per month for a family of four, according to PEC Energy Service Advisor Chris Denison. That’s because standard water heaters run 24/7 to keep their tanks warm. Install a timer on your water heater so that it only runs when you need it — it could save you $10 to $20 per month on your electric bill. Learn more about saving with smart water heater management.
Turn up the thermostat to turn up your savings
Give your wallet some relief by setting your thermostat to 78 degrees. Every degree lower than that can increase your energy use by 6 to 8 percent. You can further reduce your cooling costs by turning on your ceiling fan, which uses relatively little power and can make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler, and closing your blinds to keep out the sunlight.
Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen!
During the hottest part of the day, avoid cooking, baking and running the dryer or the heat dry feature on your dishwasher — all of these appliances will add heat to your home and make your air conditioner work overtime.
How to save next summer
Grow your own savings with smart landscaping
According to energy.gov, well-placed landscaping can reduce air-conditioning costs for an unshaded home by 15–50 percent. Try planting a trellis with climbing vines to shade the south side of your home or adding trees to your property: Summer daytime air temperature can be 6 degrees cooler in neighborhoods with trees than in treeless ones, and air directly under trees can be up to 25 degrees cooler than the air above nearby asphalt.
Power Rush Hour: Shift today, save tomorrow
PEC’s transmission costs, which you can see on your bill, are based on the cooperative’s energy use during four peak energy use events, cooperative-wide, each summer. Once each month in June, July, August and September when the statewide energy demand is highest, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) measures what percentage of that demand is being used by which utility and assigns transmission costs for the next year accordingly. If PEC uses a lot of energy during one of these peak events, PEC’s transmission costs go up — and that affects our entire membership.
We don’t know when peak events will occur, but we do know that each event is a 15-minute period between 2 and 6 p.m., usually on the hottest day of the month. Make a habit of running high-energy appliances like your dishwasher, dryer and HVAC outside of the 2-6 window: If we all shift our use away from peak times, then we have the potential to lower our transmission costs for the next year. Learn more about Power Rush Hour.