Beating the heat: 10 energy saving tips for a texas summer -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Beating the heat: 10 energy saving tips for a texas summer

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Summer is finally hitting its stride in Texas, but that doesn't mean your wallet has to suffer because of it. Instead of having to choose between staying cool or staying within budget, here are a few energy saving tips from that will help make your energy bill a little bit lower during the dog days of summer.

* Fire up the grill. This may already be on your list of things to do this summer, but you may not realize that by doing so you're also helping to cut your energy costs. Instead of cooking sides on the stove, opt to use your microwave. When you use your grill or microwave to cook, you're actually using two-thirds less energy than you would if you cooked with your stove or oven. So skip the stove and enjoy dinner al fresco.

* Let the dishwasher do its job. With summer camps, varying schedules and summer vacations, your family may be eating at different times and not everyone may be around - but that doesn't mean you should opt to do the dishes by hand. Contrary to popular belief, running your dishwasher actually uses less water than washing your dishes by hand. And to save even more, turn off the heated dry option and let dishes air dry.

* Keep the fridge fully stocked. Every time someone in your family opens the refrigerator door, they're letting cool air escape, triggering the fridge to cool down more often than if it stayed closed. But if you keep your fridge stocked with food, the food will act as its own insulator, maintaining the temperature of the fridge and eliminating the refrigerator's need to recool.

* Cool off - your laundry, that is. Ninety percent of the cost of washing clothes comes from heating the water, so unless you have especially dirty clothes - opt to use warm or cool water, and always use cool water to rinse. If you're able to, skip the dryer completely and line-dry clothes, saving even more.

* Shower smarter. When it's this hot outside, the last thing you think of doing is taking a long, hot shower. Save yourself a little money all year long by installing high-performance showerheads. These showerheads use only 1.5 gallons of water per minute instead of the standard 2.5 gallons per minute. In the long run, a family of four could save between $80 and $140 per year in energy costs.

* Let electronics relax. Whether it's your phone charger or your coffeemaker, many electronic devices continue to draw energy even if you're not actively using them. Go ahead and unplug any devices as soon as you're done using them, and save a little more energy.

* Turn it up. Summer usually means summer vacation, so if your family is planning on heading out of town, turn up the thermostat when you leave. For every degree you set your thermostat above 72 degrees you can save between 1and 3 percent in energy. Don't worry, the furniture won't have hot flashes.

* Forego the fan. If you decide to turn up your thermostat a degree or two and use ceiling fans to make up the difference, remember that ceiling fans only circulate air to make you feel cooler. If you're not at home, the ceiling fan isn't really doing anything for anyone. Just turn it on when you get home and you'll feel the breeze when you need it.

* Fix a sneaky leak. If you have any electrical outlets on the exterior walls of your home, they could be letting the cool air in your home leak out. Seal the outlets in your home with foam insulating gaskets (less than $1 each and super easy to install) and stop paying to cool down Mother Nature.

* Rearrange your furniture. Go ahead and move drapes and furniture away from air vents. It will not only immediately cool down the room, but by improving the airflow, you could see a drastic improvement in your overall air conditioning system.

Along with these tips it's also important to explore your Texas energy options so that you're getting what's best for you and your home. Just because the thermostat outside keeps rising doesn't mean you'll have to burn a hole in your wallet with extra energy costs. Start implementing these tips in your home today and see the difference.