With hot summers and spells of cold winter weather, North Central Texas homeowners have to be mindful of energy conservation pretty much year-round. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex offers a number of energy providers to help consumers find the best energy plans, and incorporating some energy-saving tips will help homeowners save money and the environment.
Picking Your Plan
With a wide variety of energy providers, competition for business among consumers is fierce — which can save you a bundle. The oldest provider in the area is TXU Energy. Other energy providers include Reliant Energy, Green Mountain Energy, 4Change Energy, and Bounce Energy. However, if you live in a rural area, you may have fewer choices.
With these options, you can find a plan that best suits your home, lifestyle, and energy-saving goals. Plans can range widely in price, and consumers need to read the fine print to see how long they are locked into rates. Plans also include month-to-month versions that allow homeowners to take advantage of lower rates in the spring and fall, which will help them save more money in off-peak heating and cooling months.
If you prefer wind-only plans that encourage power companies to use cleaner energy, you can select plans based solely on wind power. Other plans give homeowners free nights or weekends, which provides cost savings because most homeowners use more energy at those times.
Seal Up the House
After consumers choose a plan, there are a few things they can do around the house to increase energy conservation besides turning off lights. For example, TXU notes that homeowners can cut down on their energy usage simply by sealing the places where air escapes.
At a minimum, make sure that doors and windows are sealed. In addition, seal outlets, ducts, chimneys, and AC covers. “Leaky” openings can lead to nearly 30 percent loss of heating and cooling energy in a home, and sealing these openings is something most homeowners can do themselves with a number of different materials or methods.
Heating and Cooling
Most homeowners can save energy by paying particular attention to their heating and cooling systems. Air conditioning is by far the biggest drain on a DFW homeowner’s energy bill, but electric heating costs also can skyrocket if it is an unusually cold winter
Keep the HVAC system maintained and in good working order. In North Central Texas, it is recommended that homeowners have their system inspected at least once a year. Homeowners should consider Energy Star-rated systems when it is time for a replacement. These heating and cooling units are designed to conserve energy while still allowing homeowners to keep their living space comfortable.
According to TXU, homeowners can save another 10 percent in energy costs by installing a programmable thermostat. These models allow heating and cooling to decrease during the time families are at work or school. For two-story homes or large homes with more than one HVAC unit, programmable thermostats can heat or cool only the areas where families will be at certain times of the day.
Today’s programmable thermostats even have apps that allow smartphone users to remotely control the thermostat. If you are coming home earlier than expected on a hot day, open the door to refreshing air conditioning rather than wait for the house to cool off.
Picking the right energy plan and keeping an eye on your household systems can make a huge impact on your energy bill, as well as help the environment. Now’s the perfect time to put these tips into practice.
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