Bluebonnet season in Texas is one of my favorite times of the year. Many Texans monitor the "Bluebonnet Watch" to catch the best displays across the state. In Texas, Bluebonnet Season is a
Dallas Summer Energy Saving Tips and Tricks
Summer is thoroughly upon us here in Dallas. Our homes are a refuge from the heat that bears down during the day. The sweet air conditioning we rely on to stay comfortable year round in our homes in Dallas is both a blessing and a curse. Those both new to and familiar with the duties and expectations associated with home ownership are undoubtedly aware of one simple, impossible to escape fact: it takes a lot of electricity to stay cool in the summer.
Houses draw energy in a lot of different ways as you’re likely well aware. From the gas to cook to the water to clean, and especially the electricity to keep cool, it’s no easy thing to cheaply keep a house running in working order. But, there are things you can do to mitigate this. Even during the summer, especially during the summer, it’s important to be mindful of how you as a homeowner in Dallas are engaging in energy preserving habits. So read on to find a few useful tips in regard to keeping your Dallas house cool during the summer without running up the energy bill.
Curtains, drapes, shades, blinds, it doesn’t matter what covers the windows in your home right now, using them as much as possible during the brightest times of the day will make a difference in the long run when it comes to how long your air conditioner has to run. And that means less energy usage. So use those curtains.
It’s simple, really. Curtains, blinds and shades keep the sun’s hot rays out of your house. Keep them closed on sunny days during the summer season. Now, that’s not to say all window coverings are created equal however. On the contraire, though all window coverings will make a difference in heat gain during the daytime when in use, there are significant differences between the types.
For example, window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house.
Because of the numerous openings between the slats, it's difficult to control heat loss through interior window blinds, but the slats offer flexibility in the summer. Unlike shades, you can adjust the slats to control light and ventilation. For example, when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%.
A drapery's ability to reduce heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type (closed or open weave) and color. With such a wide variety of draperies available, it's difficult to generalize about their energy performance. During summer days, you should close draperies on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. Studies demonstrate that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.
Unplug and Brighten Up
It’s often given but rarely followed advice, but unplugging your electric appliances when they’re not in use can really make a difference when you get into the habit of it.
So try unplugging appliances and electronics when they’re not in use. Power strips can make this a lot simpler too. Plug home electronics, such as TVs, DVD players and computers into power strips and turn off the power strips when the equipment is not in use.
The same principle applies with lights as you may already know. So turn off unnecessary lights. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat.
And choice of light can make as big of a difference. Since energy use for lighting accounts for some 10 percent of your electric bill, you can save by lightening up on your wattage. If you're using 100-watt bulbs where 60-watt bulbs would do, consider replacing them.
Or, switch to fluorescent bulbs. These give off a warmer light that's closer to the light of incandescent bulbs.
Lighten up on your interior decorating, too: Pale colors for walls, draperies, rugs, and upholstery reflect light and can reduce the number of lamps needed to adequately light a room.
Outdoors, replace incandescent lighting with high-pressure sodium or outdoor fluorescent bulbs for additional savings. Or, try solar-powered pathway lamps (with batteries that store photovoltaic energy for nighttime us) or use high-efficiency sodium lamps for security lighting.
Ceiling Fans Done Right
Ceiling fans are a classic and dead simple way to stay comfortable indoors without having to keep the thermostat as low as you would without the fans. That’s because of physics. You see, staying comfortable when it's hot outside is more about how the air feels on your skin than the actual temperature. A ceiling fan can help a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler and uses just 10 percent of the energy of an air conditioner, so you save money when you don't have to set your thermostat as low to keep your cool. Make sure your fan is set in the forward (counterclockwise) direction so that it will pull up the cooler air from the ground and circulate it around the room.
There is one important caveat this advice though. Just remember to turn the fan off when you leave the room as a fan doesn't do any good if there's nobody in the room to enjoy the breeze. The physics of how fans work makes this perfectly clear. Because it’s the action of the air moving across your skin that makes you feel cooler and not that the fans are actually cooling down the air, having fans on in rooms no one is occupying not only doesn’t do you any good, it actually is a complete waste of energy.
Frugal Energy Use in the Kitchen
The kitchen is a particularly big energy drain when you’re looking at all the things that normally go own in the different rooms of your home. That’s because so much of the activities that go on in the kitchen involve heating things up and cooling them down, which takes a significant amount of energy use. Plus, when you do heat up food, you’re heating the room as well, meaning the air conditioner will have to fight harder to counterbalance that. Luckily, there are little habits you can take up to reduce this effect.
First of all, keep the refrigerator doors closed whenever possible. Also, avoid placing hot items in the fridge; let them cool to room temperature first. And if you’re not cooking a fine dinner, consider using your microwave rather than the oven to heat up your food. A microwave is much more efficient (and quicker!) at heating things up than an oven.
If you do use the oven, open it sparingly; each time you open it, heat escapes and the oven will use even more energy to maintain the temperature. Use a pressure cooker and the microwave oven whenever possible; both save energy. When you're boiling water, keep a lid on the pot; water boils faster when you use a top to hold in the heat.
Cleanliness actually works in your favor in the kitchen too. If you keep range-top burners and reflectors clean, they'll reflect the heat better and require less energy for cooking. If you cook with electricity, turn off the burners several minutes before the end of the allotted cooking time. The burners will stay hot long enough to finish the job without using any more electricity.
Smart Chore Choices
As much as a home should be a place for relaxation and entertainment, many of the things we do in our homes are things that fall under the broad description of “chores.” But just because we have to do this things doesn’t mean we have to waste too much energy doing them.
For, example, think about when you do your chores and how this affects the temperature of the house as a whole. Do heat-and moisture producing jobs such as cooking, cleaning, ironing and laundry during the cooler early morning and evening hours. Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s heat drying cycle. Avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house, especially on very hot days. Heat and humidity come in each time you open the door.
When it comes to laundry, wash clothes in cold water and clean the lint filter in the dryer after every use. That’s not where the energy savings have to stop though. Solar power your laundry. Skip the dryer and go for an old-fashioned clothes line. You can’t beat free energy from the sun; just make sure there is no rain in the forecast!
Summer Home Energy Conservation in Dallas and Dallas Realtors
There’s nothing like coming home from a long day in the summer sun to a cool air conditioned home in Dallas. Homeowners rely on air conditioning in this part of the world to stay comfortable year round. But there is a responsibility that goes along with that and if you’re not careful, you can feel the burn in wallet.
Also, if you’re looking for homes for sale in Dallas, or are trying to sell your home, make sure you pick the right Dallas real estate agent. A good realtor in Dallas can make all the difference in the world when it comes to how easy and fruitful your journey is. So don’t hesitate, contact us at Live and Love Your Home today!
Although not originally from Texas, it has become my home after 30+ years of living primarily in the DFW area. After working several years in retail, I fell into the real estate industry while I was g....