Summer's here in Central Texas, and the temperature is rising every day, which means that energy costs are rising too as you crank down that A/C. Check out Zillow.com's suggestions for reducing your energy usage, so you can spend your money on enjoying the summer rather than your electric bill.
One of the cheapest, easiest things you can do is to replace or clean the filter on your air conditioner. Dirty air conditioner filters keep your air conditioner from working to its full potential by blocking air flow and reducing efficiency. By cleaning or replacing your filter, you can reduce your energy consumption by as much as fifteen percent. During the summer, you should replace or clean your a/c filter monthly, but you may need to do it even more frequently if you have a usually dusty conditions or pets. If you aren't sure what type of filter to use, check with your landlord.
Using window coverings can also reduce your energy bill. By closing your blinds, you can reduce heat gain by as much as 45 percent. Keeping drapes and curtains closed also reduces heat gain, especially if they are made of certain types of fabric. Using medium-colored curtains with white plastic backings can push down heat gain by up to 33 percent.
Another huge energy waster is plugged-in devices that aren't currently being used, to the tune of $100 per year according to the EPA. One of the biggest energy wasters is computers. By unplugging your computer when you aren't using it or by using a power strip that turns off power when it senses inactivity, you can save 2 to 3 percent.