Texas-sized power bills dwarf electricity use in other states
Texans use about 26 percent more electricity than the national average – and are paying for the pleasure, according to a report issued Monday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The average Texas household spends about $1,800 a year on electricity and uses more than 14,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity — both numbers among the highest in the nation but similar to other states with warm weather. Florida, for example, spends nearly $2,000 a year per household on electricity, while the national average hovers around $1,300 per household.
Air conditioners account for almost 20 percent of electricity use in Texas, far above the 6 percent national average. Several power companies have offered tips on how to ease the summer heat – and painful checkbook smack – by making small adjustments in the house.
But Texans use more power for the gadgets around the house, as well – the average Texan house uses more than 40 percent of its electricity on appliances, electronics and lighting, while the national average is 35 percent.
Space heaters, however, are much less prevalent in Texas than in the rest of the country, accounting for about 22 percent consumption. The average US home uses 41 percent of its electricity consumption on space heaters, which are more prevalent in older homes.
Also on FuelFix:
14 ways to slim your power bill this summer
apdk / Flickr
Angle blinds up: TXU Energy says that angling horizontal blinds so sunlight streams up can reduce the heat coming in and provide free natural light. When closed and lowered, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45 percent.
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Insulate lights: Canned or recessed lights can be a big source of air leaks. Selecting “IC” (insulation contact) models or installing approved covers over non-IC models can stop that.
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Use a fan: You can raise your thermostat setting by up to 4 degrees and not feel a difference if you also run a ceiling fan. Fans only make you feel cooler, though, so turn them off when you’re not in the room.
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Lower humidity: It takes longer to cool a humid home. The ideal humidity level is less than 60 percent in the summer.
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Moderate the thermostat: Lowering your thermostat setting does not cool your home more quickly. Many factors affect how quickly an indoor space cools. Thermostat set points are not among them.
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Check your water heater: Water heaters are factory set at 140 degrees. Lowering that to 120 degrees provides comfortably hot water and less energy consumption.
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Use a programmable thermostat: Most Americans with programmable thermostats don’t program them. New Energy Star® ratings for programmable thermostats may consider ease of use and online access.
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Seal your windows: If you want to save money this summer, you should start by looking for the places where you are losing money. Gaps between windows and doors are some of the most likely spots for energy loss.
Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle
Get the right A/C unit: Air conditioners are designed for specific sizes, and you can waste energy by having one too big or too small. You should make sure your unit is right for your home.
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Switch your light bulbs: You can save money by switching out old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs. The modern light bulbs, which do have a different glow, can save you money on your electric bill.
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Change your air filter: A dirty air filter can make your air conditioner be less efficient, and it can ultimately cost you money on your electric bill.
Fitz Villafuerte / Flickr
Turn off lights: Many people forget to turn off lights and fans after leaving a room. By turning them off, you can save yourself some money on that electric bill.
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Buy energy-efficient appliances: They may cost more at the store, but energy-efficient appliances can save you money on your electric bill.
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Unplug unused appliances: You can save money by unplugging phone chargers or other kitchen appliances when they aren't in use.