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Seasonal Savings Tips

Texas summers mean warm weather, but you can act now to make your home more energy efficient when the temperature begins to rise.

  • Visually inspect the outdoor condensing unit of your air conditioner to make sure no dust or debris covers the refrigerant coils. Clean coils can dramatically improve its efficiency.
  • Prevent damaging algae buildup in your unit by pouring one or two cupfuls of bleach in the condensation drain two to three times during the cooling season. Algae can cause your drain pan to fill with water and overflow.
  • When planting trees or shrubs to shade the compressor, place plants at least two feet away from the unit to allow easy access and free airflow.
  • Service your air conditioner at least every two to three years. Having your system serviced in the spring could help you save time and take advantage of spring rate specials.
  • Air filters should be changed or cleaned every month.
  • A quality air filter will keep dust particles from collecting on the evaporator coils and causing algae buildup.
  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit to help lower your electric consumption.
  • Caulking can prevent conditioned air from leaking out of your house by filling gaps and cracks. Caulk these areas outside your home: doors, window frames, corners of the house, around the framing and foundation, and between the siding and sheathing.
  • Caulk these areas inside your home: between the outlets and walls; between cabinets and floors/walls; the dry wall joints; duct joints; between light fixtures and ceilings; around shower enclosures, window casings, and fireplaces; where plumbing, ducting, or wiring enters the house.

Winter Savings Tips

Heating a home takes two to three times more energy than cooling a home, so the work you do could add up to savings during the winter months.

  • Install plug outlet covers on any unused outlet. About 20 percent of the air that escapes your home escapes through outlet openings.
  • If you have a fireplace, install a glass fire screen to keep heated air from escaping through your chimney.
  • Insulate indoor water pipes in unheated spaces.
  • Inspect insulation to make sure it’s not blocking ducts or vents. Blown-in insulation can settle over time and may need to be fluffed up or increased.
  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees. For every degree you raise the temperature, you add 3 to 5 percent to your electric bill.
  • If your home uses a heat pump, raise the thermostat setting two degrees at a time when adjusting the temperature. This will avoid running the compressor and supplemental heat at the same time.
  • Air can enter and escape your home through cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and other areas.
  • Effective caulking can help prevent this.
  • Caulk when the temperature is over 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the weather is too cold, the caulk may not adhere.
  • Caulking should be used only on joints that don’t open or close, such as the seam between a window frame and a wall.
  • Although most caulk lasts at least 25 years, settling makes it necessary to check your home for cracks in the caulk every few years.