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    Residential Energy Savings Center

    The typical Texas family spends $1900 per year on home energy costs, and that figure is rising. Texas electricity suppliers have been increasing their prices. You need to do what you can to lower their energy costs more than ever.  You need to  put a complete energy savings plan in place for your home and reduce your electricity consumption.

    The typical Texas family spends $1900 per year on home energy costs, and that figure is rising. Texas electricity suppliers have been increasing their prices. You need to do what you can to lower their energy costs more than ever. You need to put a complete energy savings plan in place for your home and reduce your electricity consumption.

    By making energy efficient enhancements to your home, switching to a low cost provider, and lowering your electricity consumption you can lower your energy costs by up to 50%.  Here are some helpful energy savings tips you can do to make your home more energy efficient.

    Heating & Cooling –  Up to 50% of your home’s energy costs come from operating your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Setting a home’s thermostat to below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter and at 25 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer will save money on energy bills and conserve energy at the same time.  Also, by creating shade at windows at the east and west ends of a home, indoor temperature can be kept several degrees cooler as the morning and afternoon sun passes. Preparing meals before the air heats up or after it cools will also keep heat from becoming trapped inside of the home and reduce reliance on air conditioning. Ceiling fans also help circulate air and delay it from becoming too hot.

    Insulation – About one third of air leaks from the home occur from the ceilings, walls and floors.

    Lighting – Nearly 10% of your home’s energy costs come from lighting.

    Appliances – Appliances can account for up to 20% of your home’s energy consumption.  You’ve probably seen the now familiar blue and white logo with the word “Energy” followed by the outline of a star to indicate the joint governmental effort known as ENERGY STAR at least a few times over the past decade or so, but still may not be sure exactly what the program is all about.

    Created by the U.S Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992, ENERGY STAR aims to save consumers money while protecting the precious environment at the same time through the use of products and practices that are energy efficient.

    Retail Electric Providers – Choose a new electricity provider for your home.  Retail Electric Providers compete for your business by offering lower electric rates, added customer service benefits, or renewable energy options.

    Just before Summer – Perform a Weekend Energy Audit

    Keeping your home cool costs energy as well as money, and here are a few things you can do in the span of a weekend to help keep your home cooler during the dog days of summer. Follow these 3 tips and you are guaranteed to save big bucks on your summer cooling bill.

    1. Buy sun blocking blinds.
    The rays of the sun travel through the glass in your window, and they will heat your home no matter what time of the year it is. These rays will also pass through cloth curtain and Venetian blinds. In the winter, the sun shining through a window will cut down on your heating costs, but in the summer it can make your home miserably hot. Sun blocking blinds are inexpensive and easy to install, and they do a marvelous job of blocking out the suns rays. If you have curtains, the sun blocking blinds can be installed to hang underneath them. When you close these blinds during the times when the angle of the sun is at it?s highest, you will be amazed at how much cooler your home will be and how much less energy you will need to use.

    2. Caulk your Windows
    The cool air you pump into your home, be it from central air or window air conditioners, will find air passageways in your home and escape. The biggest places it escapes from are doors and windows. By caulking your windows you are closing off an avenue of escape. Caulk is very inexpensive to buy, and if you aren?t using it you are just throwing money away.

    3. Add insulation to your basement.
    Cool air is heavier than warm air. Think about a hot air balloon for a moment. The air inside the balloon is heated, therefore it rises above the cold air around it. The cooler air that is coming from your cooling system will fall through any cracks that exist in your floor, no matter how small they are. As the cool air escapes to your basement or underneath your house, slightly warmer air rushes in to take it?s place, and thus you will use more energy to cool your air. When you have insulation in your basement, the cool air can?t escape through the floor boards because it has no place to go. You will use less energy to cool your home if you do this because the laws of science say that you must!

    In each one of these cases, the amount of money you spend versus the amount of money you save in energy costs will put you at a plus every single time. Installing blinds, caulking your windows, and adding insulation to your basement are all things that can be done in a single weekend, and in some cases a single day. There is no reason not to do them, and there are some very good reasons for doing them.

    In the Winter:  Top Ten Things You Can Do To Winterize Your Home

    Before it gets too chilly, set aside some time to winterize your home properly.  Doing so will help you control your energy and heating costs and avoid costly repairs that could arise from frozen pipes or other disasters.  In addition, these things will help make your home much more comfortable even when it’s freezing outside!

    1.      Check the insulation level in your ceiling and attic.  Be sure you have adequate insulation in your home so cold air isn’t escaping through your roof and increasing your energy bills.  The U.S. Department of Energy offers guidelines for the R-value you should have in your home based on where you are located in the country and the expected low temperatures there in the winter season.  Simply type in “R value insulation” in any search engine and you’ll be able to find this chart or a similar chart on an insulation manufacturer’s website. 

    2.      Caulk around cracks, gaps, or other spaces that allow heat to escape from your home.  This could be in your foundation, around windows or doors, or in a porch area.  Seal things up tight so the heat you pay for stays inside the house.  You can also seal windows with plastic to prevent air from leaking out around them and cold drafts from coming in during the winter.

    3.      Add weather stripping around doors and windows to seal gaps where you cannot caulk.

    4.      Turn off any outside water faucets and drain them to prevent outside faucets and pipes from freezing and cracking or bursting.

    5.      If you have a trailer home or crawl space beneath your home, check to be sure that all pipes under your house are well insulated so they will not freeze during sub-zero temperatures.

    6.      Install ceiling fans in your home and plan to run them on the low setting during the winter months.  Ceiling fans can help re-circulate warm air down from the ceilings to where it will be better appreciated in the room.

    7.      Get your furnace serviced to ensure it is working properly and will not leak carbon monoxide into your home.  Change the filter, too-and plan to change it no less than every three months, more frequently if you have pets or if it is dirty when you check it periodically.

    8.      Remove any air conditioning units from windows in your home and store them properly for the winter.  Ensure windows are closed up properly and sealed to ensure you do not have warm air leaks during the winter.  If you have a central air conditioning unit, cover it to keep the moisture out of it during the off-season.

    9.      If you still have the old-fashioned windows, remove screens and replace them with storm windows and doors for the winter season.

    10.  Trim back plants after the first frost and prune any trees, as necessary.  Dig bulbs if applicable.  Cover delicate plants and shrubs with an old blanket or sheet and then a plastic container such as an upside down garbage can.

    It takes a little time, but properly preparing your home for the winter months will pay off nicely in energy savings and a higher comfort level.

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