HOUSTON – Summer electric bills in Texas are no joke. Our air conditioners are working overtime to cool our homes and that is just one reason our bills have doubled, even tripled, these last few months. But there are some “ways 2 save.”
We are looking into five simple changes you can make in your home that could shave nearly $70 off your bill every month. The changes could save you a total of $816 over a year. We used an energy use calculator from the Department of Energy to come up with these calculations. Our test is not an exact science, but we wanted to see how one family did implement some of these changes.
#1 Turn up your air conditioner
CAN SAVE: $36 A MONTH OR $432 A YEAR
With a family of four shelling out more for everything these days, Greg Geter said he already keeps the thermostat in his Kingwood home at 79 degrees when everyone is away.
“We try to be as efficient as we can,” said Geter.
The Department of Energy estimates running your A/C at 78 instead of 72 can save between 6 and 18%. On a $200 electric bill, that could be a decrease by as much as $36.
#2 Unplug “vampire” energy-sucking devices
CAN SAVE: $8.33 A MONTH OR $99.96 A YEAR
You know to turn the lights off when you leave a room but there are some real energy hogs in your home you may not have even realized are driving up the cost of your electric bill.
Unplugging devices when you’re not using them can save another $8.33 a month. Think computers, printers, and even all those smart speakers and devices that are constantly connecting to wifi.
“And even though they may be very convenient if you’ve got five or 10 of them in the house, that really adds up,” said Geter.
The Department of Energy has a helpful list of high-energy use devices.
#3 Change the way you wash dishes
COULD SAVE $6.73 A MONTH OR $80.75 A YEAR
Running your dishwasher daily costs about $161.50 a year. Split that cost in half by choosing the quick wash option and cutting out the drying cycle and saving $80.75.
Just open the dishwasher door after the wash to let your dishes air dry.
#4 Air dry your clothes (just half of the time)
CAN SAVE $9.53 A MONTH OR $114.36 A YEAR
And while we’re on the subject of air drying, get yourself a clothesline and try hanging your clothes and towels to dry instead of using the dryer. The Department of Energy said this will save you about $9.53 a month or $114.36 a year.
#5 Think about oven use
COULD SAVE: $7.43 A MONTH OR $89.16 A YEAR
The oven is something that not only uses a lot of electricity but also gets hot.
“Not only do they take a long time to preheat, and they use a lot of energy to do that, but they also tend to heat the room as they cool down,” said Geter.
In the kitchen, a countertop air fryer can save you a significant amount of money if you use this instead of your oven. Using the air fryer instead of your oven, according to the Department of Energy appliance energy calculator, would save you about could save $89.08 a year.
When you add up all the savings from these 5 ideas, you could be looking at a total savings of $816 dollars over a year.
“I think it’s definitely worth the effort to try them,” said Geter.
These numbers are not exact. They will vary depending on some of your appliances, devices, and how hot it is outside. We are going to follow up with Greg Geter in one month to see if his electric bill changed and by how much after he incorporated all of these “ways 2 save” into his family’s routine. We will let you know what we find.
You can do your own calculations on other devices in your home - with an appliance use calculator from the Department of Energy.
Other energy-saving tips include: turning down the heat on your water heater. Don’t put hot food in the fridge or freezer. Let food cool - otherwise extra energy for the fridge to cool down.