Electricity in Texas can be expensive, and during the hot and sticky summer months, it can be hard to know where to cut costs without compromising on the cool comforts we've come to count on (hello, air-conditioning, our old friend).
Even if you're on a fixed-rate energy plan, you're still subject to bill fluctuations based on increased consumption, so finding ways to reduce your electricity use is key to keeping your bills down while making the most of the Texas summertime sun.
Luckily, we have a few ideas to help you save energy (and money) this summer. Keep reading for five tips to help lower your electricity bill in Texas.
According to the National Weather Service, in July 2022, the average temperature in Dallas, Texas, was 91.8° F — hot, hot, hot. And the reality is, turning off our air-conditioning systems isn't a choice many of us want to make. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways you can adjust your heating and cooling habits to help lower your monthly electricity bill.
First, try setting your thermostat to a temperature that more closely matches the temperature outdoors. For every degree your home's indoor temperature is closer to the temperature outside, the less energy it will take to heat or cool your space. In fact, the Public Utility Commission of Texas recommends keeping your home around 78° F or higher during the summer months to maximize comfort and efficiency. Each additional degree of cooling can increase your energy consumption by 6 to 8 percent — ouch!
You can apply the same logic to the winter months, too, setting your home at around 68° F or lower to avoid additional energy wasted on heating.
Furthermore, consider investing in a smart thermostat to help keep tabs on your home even when you're on the go. You can create automatic schedules to increase or decrease your home's temperature based on your daily routines, allowing you to turn your AC down when you're away for a weekend or at work during the day.
And your thermostat isn't the only way you can keep your house cool! Closing your blinds or curtains during the day can also help block out some of that summer sun. It's a simple way to help your home stay nice and cool while preventing your HVAC system from working overtime to keep temperatures low.
Related blog: 10 Top-rated Amazon products to keep cool without AC
Our next tip is a simple one with big efficiency advantages — switch the light bulbs in your home to LEDs!
A single LED light bulb can last 25,000 hours, staying lit for over three years if you never turned it off. That's a lifespan 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb, and they use about 75% less energy in the process!
A longer lifespan? Fewer bulb replacements. Less energy use? Lower electricity bills. No matter how you look at it, investing in the switch to LED bulbs is a *bright* idea if you ask us.
Did you know that, on average, the heated drying cycle on your dishwasher uses 15% more energy than air drying? That means opting for your machine's air-dry setting and a little extra time can go a long way to save on your energy bill.
The air-dry setting works by using fans inside the dishwasher to circulate room-temperature air and help dry your dishes efficiently without additional heat. Don't stress if your dishwasher doesn't have this feature, though! If that's the case, simply wash your dishes on a setting that doesn't include a heated dry cycle, and when it's finished, crack the door open to let excess moisture escape as your dishes air dry.
And the air-dry energy savings don't stop at dirty dishes! Clothes dryers are also major energy hogs. In fact, they can account for nearly 6% of a home's TOTAL energy consumption — yikes!
Opting to hang your clothes out on the line during the summer months or inside on a drying rack when the weather is poor can significantly impact your energy usage. Plus, the UV rays from the sun can help lighten clothes so your whites (like sheets, towels or light clothing) stay nice and bright. Just make sure to flip coloured clothes inside out (or keep them in the shade) to avoid fading!
While small changes to daily habits offer easy and cost-effective ways to lower your electricity bill, home upgrades that prioritize energy efficiency can help take your savings the extra mile.
Luckily, new tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act make investing in an energy-efficient future more accessible than ever, with thousands of dollars available to help subsidize your investments, from ENERGYSTAR-certified appliances to electric vehicle home charging stations.
If you're stuck on where to start, a home energy audit is a great place to begin! These audits involve a licensed professional visiting your home to conduct a walk-through, assessing your current energy habits, and highlighting opportunities for efficiency upgrades. Plus as of 2023, you can claim 30 percent of the cost of your home energy audit on your taxes, up to a value of $150 — bonus!
And finally, if you want to lower your electricity bill in Texas, consider taking advantage of demand response with an energy plan through OhmConnect Energy!
Demand response is a term used to describe the grid's intuitive response to energy peaks. Generally, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is good at predicting how much electricity an area will need on any given day. However, when consumption spikes beyond the expected amount, ERCOT must pay to turn on additional power plants to meet demand. These additional plants, called peaker plants, are typically more expensive to run and worse for the planet than traditional power plants — and that's where OhmConnect Energy comes in.
Instead of the state of Texas paying to turn on these extra power plants, they work with OhmConnect Energy towards reducing energy consumption during peak times, putting that money back in your pocket.
Here's how it works. With an OhmConnect Energy plan, you'll automatically be enrolled in OhmConnect's free energy-savings program. As a member, when these peak times hit, you'll receive a text or email letting you know it's time to power down and save (if you choose to!).
Simply by participating in these events (called OhmHours or AutoOhms), you'll earn points (named Watts) that can be traded in for credit on your electricity bill, prizes, and cash right back in your wallet — it's easy!
Ready to learn more about OhmConnect Energy's available offerings? Click here to start exploring energy plans in Texas.