Conserving Electricity : Timely After School Tips

I think all Texans would agree on one thing. It’s been an incredibly hot summer.
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One that has left us with high electricity bills and sweaty kids.  With everyone running their AC units, the energy grid has been maxed out.  Over the weekend, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) called for a power conservation from 3-7 PM.  All of us working together to conserve electricity will make a big difference.  I know I would rather do my part to conserve rather than experience power outages.

TXU has come out with a helpful list of ways to conserve electricity during the busiest time of the day…when the kids get home from school.  I think you will find the tips both helpful and doable.  You can also watch a news interview from NBC 5 Nonstop Video where Amanda Ray from TXU talks about all the ways we can conserve.

AFTER SCHOOL ENERGY CONSERVATION

While we are all keeping a close eye on our thermostats to help conserve electricity and our monthly household expenses, now is a good time to foster good after school habits in the summer time and any time of year.

A  few good ideas right now include:

·         After school snacks may be popular when it’s hot, but remember not to waste time staring into the refrigerator with the door open…

·         Set the DVR before your kiddos get home from school to record their favorite shows –  so they can watch them after 7 p.m.

·         Ask them to focus on homework instead of tackling the X-Box or gaming stations until after 7 p.m.

·         If homework or other household activities require PCs and the Internet, use the battery power of your laptop versus having it plugged into the wall until 7 p.m.

·         If your kids come home sweaty after playtime, athletics, or other outdoor activities, hold off on showering or bathing until 7 if you can… because your AC has to push the steam from the shower out of your home…

·         The same goes with the heat and humidity of stovetop cooking… In terms of dinner, think about something cold like sandwiches – or use your microwave or grill out to avoid heating up the kitchen and adding humidity that will make your A/C continue cycling to cool back down…

Other things around the house that might help you conserve between 3 and 7 p.m. include:

·         While you’re at home, set your thermostat to 75 or 78 if you can stand it, and to 85 or higher when you’re away.

·         Turn off lights and ceiling fans in rooms you’re not using.

·         Be sure your fireplace damper is shut and sealed – you don’t want your cold air flying up the chimney.

·         Unplug your phone chargers and digital picture frames.

·         Use a smart strip like this for your home entertainment systems and PC setups so that the only things that truly stay “plugged in” when they’re not in use are the always-on items needed like your DVR or your modem or fax machine.

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·         When you replace light bulbs, replace them with CFLs. They use a lot less energy.

·         Use a programmable thermostat to set your temperatures lower when you’re away and while you’re sleeping – and see a forecast of your cooling costs BEFORE you get your bill (This is available via the Brighten iThermostat).

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·         If you’re a TXU Energy customer, check out your personalized TXU Energy MyEnergy Dashboard. It forecasts your whole home energy use and provides day-to-day updates on how much energy you’ve used so far in your billing cycle AND a forecast of what your bill will be by the end of the month. This gives you time to dial back your usage to save money before you get your bill.

TXU also provides a free at home energy audit for kids.  It was developed by the National Energy Education Development Project, and it offers good lessons for kids about how your home consumes energy.  It’s available for free at www.txu.com/kidspower.  You can also read ERCOT’s most recent press release here.  I look forward to doing my part in all this!

For more posts written by me, visit my personal blog, I Believe In Love.

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