Dallas gets hot in the summer. There is no nice way to say it. And because it gets so hot, homeowners spend a small fortune to keep their homes cool. We start running our air-conditioning units early in the spring and typically keep them going well into the fall. That represents a lot of money spent on cooling.
Summer in Dallas is different in many ways. But one way in which it is similar to every other part of the country is this: homeowners can take steps to beat the summer heat and simultaneously reduce energy costs. No one has to be a slave to sunshine and high temperatures.
For the record, the average Texas household consumes 26% more energy than the national average. That amounts to just over $1,800 in electricity costs per year. A good portion of that is related to summer cooling. Run your AC unit less frequently and you will cut your electricity costs.
A good place to start is sealing up your home to keep cool air in and heat out. Sealing gaps around the windows with caulk is a smart idea. So is repairing or adjusting thresholds to eliminate gaps between doors and door sweeps.
If your home has an non-insulated attic, one of the best ways to save energy is to install insulation. It is easy enough to do on your own if you are so inclined. And of course, there are plenty of professionals more than happy to do the job for you.
Programmable thermostats were invented to give homeowners more control over their heating and cooling systems. If you program yours to raise the temperature while you are not home, you might save quite a bit. Remember that there is no point in cooling a home that sits empty while you are off at work.
You can also opt for a smart thermostat that actually ‘learns’ your lifestyle and adjusts on the fly. A smart thermostat is essentially a programmable thermostat on steroids. Program it once and let it do the rest. And if you ever need to override programming, you can do so with your smartphone. Smart thermostats come highly recommended by well-known companies like Vivint Smart Home.
Did you know the blinds on your windows can be an effective tool for reducing energy costs? During the summer, draw the blinds down during the midday hours. Doing so keeps the sun out and the temperature down. Your AC unit will not have to work as hard to cool air warmed by the sun.
You can automate window blinds as well. Just like there are smart thermostats, there are smart devices capable of automatically regulating blinds based on your programming or the seasons. How cool is that?
Your AC unit has to work harder whenever you cook indoors. Why? Because the stove and oven generate heat. You can beat the heat this summer by avoiding cooking indoors whenever possible. Use your grill outdoors to cook everything from meat to veggies. And as long as you are cooking, cook enough to cover several meals. Put what you don’t use in the freezer. You will have ready-made meals that you can pull out and reheat in the microwave.
Dallas is going to get hot this summer. It is already hot in the southern portions of the state. But you do not have to allow summer heat to drive up your electric bill. Be smart. Control your electricity costs by beating the Dallas heat.