Archive for August, 2012

Home energy use audit – some questions to ask

Did you know that of all homes constructed prior to 1980, just 20% are well insulated? To bring down your energy costs, it becomes crucial to seal doors and windows, add insulation, and take other necessary steps. With the energy scenario in Texas becoming a talking point among administrators and homemakers alike, and the imminent possibilities of power outage and grid failure due to excessive power consumption, it becomes more important that Texas residents do their bit to conserve electricity.

 

Home energy usage audit

Since it may seem like a daunting task to pin-point areas where your power consumption is more, or locate instances where you can cut down on your consumption, doing a home energy use audit can come to your rescue.

 

General Home Information

You can begin by asking yourself some general questions, which may include:

  • When was your home constructed?
  • Your home belongs to which category – Apartment/Condo, or Single Family?
  • On each side of your home, how many windows are there?
  • Do your home has broken or cracked windows/doors?
  • How many outside doors does your home have?
  • Are your doors insulated?
  • Do your doors and windows leak air, or do they seal tightly?
  • Do you have ceiling and wall insulation in your home?

Answering these questions will help you target the problem areas, which if repaired, can help you reduce your electricity bills.

 

Heating/Cooling Systems

Almost 43% of your utility bills are attributed to running heating and cooling systems. With simple steps like setting your thermostat at 78° F or higher in the summer and 68° F or lower in the winter can help you save precious dollars on your utility bills. Here are some questions to ask during your home energy audit to find out how much of energy your heating/cooling systems are consuming:

  • What type of heating and cooling system do you use?
  • What fuel does your heating/cooling system use? (you can pick your answer from oil, electricity, natural gas, and propane)
  • What’s the age of your heating system?
  • Do you use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature?
  • During the heating or cooling season, what are your thermostat settings?
  • During summer, do you use fans in place of air conditioning?

 

Water Heating

In your home, the third largest energy expense is attributed to water heating. You can cut down water heating bills with some simple steps like insulating your water heater, using less hot water, keeping the water heater’s thermostat down, or by purchasing a more efficient model.

Some questions related to water heating systems, which you should answer during your home energy use audit include:

  • What type of fuel is used to heat water in your home?
  • What’s the age of your water heater?
  • What’s the temperature at which your water heater is set?
  • Are the pipes and your water heater insulated?

Clothes washers, refrigerators, and clothes dryers are some other appliances that consume a lot of energy. So, you should try to buy appliances with ENERGY STAR labels as they are more efficient than other products.

So, use the above questionnaire to perform an effective home energy use audit, which would help you get started on steps for cutting down your electricity bills.

 

 

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas.

Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

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Electricity Usage Report – how can it help?

Excessive power consumption in domestic and commercial settings, and their implications are the reasons of much hue and cry in Texas these days. Putting a restriction on unnecessary electricity usage and enhancing power conservation is the need of the hour. Owing to the rapidly depleting resources and consequently rising costs of power usage, it might be a good idea to have an electricity usage report at your disposal. Not only does the report give a detailed picture of your power utilization, but also highlights times when your consumption increases and denotes areas where the consumption has spiked.

 

What is an Electricity Usage Report?

It is just a detailed sheet of facts and figures, depicted with easy-to-read graphical presentations and charts, which give a clear idea of your power usage. It takes into account all the appliances and electrical connections that are in use to provide you with useful insight into your electricity usage, and control your energy consumption. The report can be availed on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.

 

Benefits of keeping an Electricity Usage Report

Owing to the shortage of conventional sources of energy, and a limited number of power generation plants, the surging costs of electricity is a known and acknowledged fact today. This is where an electricity usage report can come handy, as by showing how your consumption increases during a particular weather/time of the day, it can help you curb usage and facilitate electricity conservation. Since you need to steer clear of indiscriminate use of power to avoid blackouts and grid failure, the electricity usage report can serve as an effective tool.

 

Power Usage: Life in Texas

According to certain statistics collected in the year 2005, Texas stood second in terms of population and was ranked first as per the criteria of residential energy consumption. The state’s per capita carbon score rating was pegged at 10, and each resident of Texas was known to produce an average of about 32 tonnes of carbon each year. As years passed by, Texas has emerged as a state with a whooping population cover, and an economically and industrially intensive region, which naturally calls for a high power demand (accounting for one tenth of the total US energy consumption).

 

Looking at this Texas picture, an electricity usage report will surely help by letting Texas electricity consumers know about how much electricity they use and the way of such usage. Armed with such knowledge, these people will have more control on their electricity usage, and save on their monthly bills, not to mention helping the environment as well. So, you too can sign up for a weekly or monthly report to save on your electric bills.

 

If you look beyond the immediate benefits, such a step would help you to build a better future through intensive power conservation, thus bringing down your carbon footprints and making the state a greener and pollution-free place for future generations.

 

So, sign up for your free electricity usage report today to make a difference.

About Shop Texas Electricity – Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas. Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

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Why Texas PUC urges consumers to conserve energy

Having touched record power consumption in June, Texas PUC has urged the public to conserve energy, which in turn would help avoid outages. When record heat and drought last year tested the limits of Texas’s primary power grid, it was the public’s response to energy conservation appeals that helped avoid outages. Authorities believe that this year too, a similar appeal is called for, especially when temperatures throughout the state are soaring.

 

This year, the electricity conservation campaign will target community organizations, business groups and middle schools, to create a rise in awareness and popularize small steps for energy conservation that can help people save money. In fact, the campaign titled ‘Power to Save Texas’ is part of an effort by the PUC and ERCOT to meet a goal of decreasing demand for electricity during the peak hours.

 

Since the peak demand for electricity in Texas is between 3 and 7 p.m, the campaign asks Texans to reduce their energy use during this period to avoid outages and save money. Starting from turning up your air conditioner 1-2° warmer, to closing blinds, doing laundry or running dishwashers after 7 p.m, several small steps were highlighted in the campaign to limit the power usage during rush hours and ensure reliability of the grid.

 

What you can do

To respond to the campaign, you can take the following steps:

  • From 3 to 7 p.m, turn down your electric water heater by 10 degrees.
  • Put on the fans and try not to turn down the AC until after 7 p.m.
  • Don’t run your dryer, washer, and dishwasher during the peak demand hours.
  • Use a timer on key appliances and lights to decrease usage during peak times.
  • Run your pool pump overnight or early in the morning.
  • Instead of a standard oven, use a slow cooker or an outdoor grill to bring down electric usage during peak times. Remember that ovens heat up your house, which in turn makes your AC work harder in summer, thus consuming more electricity and driving your power bills up.
  • When not in use, turn off the appliances, lights, and cable boxes during 3 to 7 p.m.
  • To save money, use a solar dryer or a clothesline instead of an electric dryer. You can run your dryer’s fluff cycle, if required, during the off-peak period, to decrease laundry stiffness.
  • Use smart meters to monitor your usage and manage your costs.

 

Campaign blueprint

‘Power to Save Texas’ will include radio news features, media tours, television ads, and video news releases. Apart from a dedicated website at http://www.powertosavetexas.org/, this campaign will also run online ads on Facebook and Google.

 

Planned to run for the next 16 months, this campaign will cost $700,000, which includes the cost of purchasing commercials and ad space.

 

Conclusion

With Texas’s decreasing reserve margin, and limited amount of surplus generation, it has become important for the Texans to respond to the call for energy conservation. So, play a significant role by using the power conservation tips mentioned above.

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