No-cost tips to save energy and money on your next electric bill:
- Turn off everything you are not using: lights, TVs, computers, etc.
- When using your air conditioner set your thermostat to the lowest
possible comfortable setting. We recommend keeping it at 78 degrees.
- During hot months, keep window coverings closed on the south, east and west windows.
- Only heat or cool the rooms you need. Close vents and doors of unused rooms.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. It should be set at "warm", so that a thermometer held under running water reads no more than 120 degrees.
- Open your refrigerator door as seldom as possible. Keep frequently used items in the front of the refrigerator so you can find them easily. Also, keep your refrigerator as clean as possible, inside and out. A layer of dust forces the motor to work harder, thus using more energy.
- When washing and drying clothes, make sure to adjust your washing cycle to match the size of the load and use cold water whenever possible. Use the low heat setting on the dryer when you can.
- When washing dishes, always wait until the dishwasher is completely full before running it. Air dry dishes rather than using the heated dryer.
- When cooking, use a microwave when possible. They use less energy and keep the kitchen cooler.
Other Energy Efficiency Tips and Energy Usage Facts:
- Air conditioning can account for over half of your summer electric
bills, and can cost an average of 45 cents per hour.
- A typical fan uses an average of only 3 cents of electricity per hour.
- It costs about the same to run a ceiling fan as it does a 100-Watt
bulb, just pennies a day.
- Your refrigerator uses as much as 22% of the total electricity consumed in your home.
- Approximately 14% of your utility bill is directly related to heating
water for your household.
- You can conserve up to 75% of the energy required to run your clothes washer by using cold water.
- Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill.
- Incandescent light bulbs waste about 90% of the energy they consume. The remaining 10% is used to create light while the rest turns into heat.
Quick Home Energy Audit for Increased Savings:
First, replace the light bulbs in your most used fixtures with compact fluorescent light(CFL) bulbs. They use 50%-75% less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. Also, they last 8 to 10 times longer, saving you around $25 per fixture over the life of the bulb. Click here for more information on CFL bulbs.
Second, make a list of obvious air leaks or drafts in your home. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5%- 30% per year. Common air leaks can be found around window frames, baseboards, weather stripping around doors, fireplace dampers, and wall or window mounted air conditioners. Seal leaks around doors or window frames by caulking or weather stripping them.
Third, check the level of the insulation in your home. If you have less than 6 or 7 inches, you can probably benefit by adding more. Most homes should have between R-38 and R-49 attic insulation.
When purchasing new appliances and electronics, always remember to look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR is the government's rating program that shows you which items are more efficient, and these items will save you money over the product's useful life.
The cost of electricity is rising, due in part to several factors, including an increase in the cost of natural gas and coal (the fuel used to generate electricity), a lack of supply (no new generating capacity has been built in Texas for a long, long time), and a rise in demand for energy due to economic growth in the U.S. and overseas. Central Texas is also booming and the local demand is up as well. Bluebonnet is doing their part to try to keep electric utility costs as low as possible by investing in new technology, which improves efficiency and reliability, as well as entering into a new contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority to ensure competitive wholesale rates, the use of renewable energy and more flexibility to try to reduce prices even further.
You can do your part in reducing energy usage by making a few energy-efficient changes to your home. Energy-efficient improvements make your home more comfortable and can yield long-term financial rewards for you and your family.
The chart below gives a breakdown of home energy costs based on national averages.