Everybody knows that the summers in Texas are scorching, and the winters tend to get pretty chilly as well. During these seasons when the weather is at its harshest, it can be really easy to let your household energy costs get out of hand. The more heavily you and your family rely on your air conditioner or heating system, the higher the electricity usage will be, and the more you’ll be paying when the monthly bills come around. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your home comfortable year-round without needing to sacrifice your comfort.
Setting Your Thermostat During Summer
For obvious reasons, you’re going to need some help from your air conditioner to stay cool and comfortable during the Texas summer. However, if you consistently keep the thermostat below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s going to require a lot of energy and put heavy pressure on your cooling system. If possible, the best thing you can do is find a happy medium. Whenever you or anyone in your family is hanging out at home, consider setting the thermostat as high as you can while still being comfortable. Every person is different, and you don’t want to be sitting around sweaty and miserable in your home. That said, Energy Star recommends keeping your thermostat set to 78 degrees when your home during the day. Doing so will allow you to maintain affordable energy bills throughout the summer.
You’ll have even better opportunities to save energy when you’re sleeping or spending time out of the house. If you’re able to raise your thermostat’s setting by five to seven degrees each night when you go to bed, it will add up to significant savings over the course of an entire summer. When you’re away at work or out running errands, though, the most cost-effective choice is to turn your thermostat off entirely. Running your air conditioner isn’t cheap, and if no one’s home to enjoy the cool air, it doesn’t make much sense to use the electricity.
Try Using Ceiling Fans
Ultimately, the comfort of you and your family is what’s most important, and for many people, it can be difficult to deal with a higher thermostat setting during the summer. That’s when having a few ceiling fans can really come in handy. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that if you have fans running, you can actually raise your thermostat by up to four degrees during summer without feeling any difference. Since ceiling fans require significantly less energy to operate than air conditioners, this can be an effective way to keep your home nice and comfortable while also being frugal
Setting Your Thermostat During Winter
The winter is another time of year when household energy usage can get out of control if you aren’t careful. However, if you approach the cold season similarly to how you approach the sweltering summer months, there’s no reason you can’t adjust your thermostat settings to save some more money. The only real difference is that instead of marginally raising the temperature, you’ll be lowering it. Once again, you’ll want to adjust the thermostat as much as you can tolerate without turning your home into a freezing, unpleasant place to spend time. Generally, a good temperature to go with while you or your family are at home is 68 degrees. You may need to throw on a long-sleeve shirt, but that should be tolerable, and it will prevent your heating system from using up too much costly energy.
When you get in bed during winter, you should be able to conserve even more energy than you can at night during summer. Since you can always pile on more blankets, it’s typically easier to get comfortable sleep in a cool house than it is in a warm one. If possible, try lowering the thermostat by seven to 10 degrees each night when you go to bed. And during the hours when no one’s occupying the house, your best option is to turn the thermostat off entirely, just like during summer. If you’re away at work for eight hours, five days a week, that will add up to massive energy savings throughout the winter months.
Utilize Your Home’s Curtains and Blinds
When the winter weather arrives, one easy way to save some energy is by closing the curtains and blinds around your house at night. Curtains are effective at trapping warm air inside, meaning you should be able to lower your thermostat by several degrees without noticing much difference in the way the home feels. Doing this may also allow you periodically turn off your heater for an hour or two at a time while remaining warm and cozy, which can result in serious energy savings and a healthier HVAC system.
Stay Consistent and Proactive
Whether you’re dealing with the scorching heat of the Texas summer or the nippy temperatures of winter, the best way to save energy is by creating smart habits and sticking with them. As long as you remember to adjust the thermostat when you leave the house and avoid getting carried away cranking up the AC or heater, you’ll have a great chance of maintaining reasonable energy costs. And if you and your family can tolerate being a little warmer during summer and a little cooler during winter, those extra savings will be the cherry on top.