They say everything is bigger in Texas, and unfortunately, that includes Texas utility costs—on average, Texans pay $1,801 a year for electricity, one of the highest rates in the nation.
So why does Texas have sky-high electricity bills? And if you’re feeling the burden of costly utility bills, what can you do to reduce them?
In this blog, we’ll cover:
- Why Texas energy bills are higher than those in other states
- DIY ways to reduce your energy costs
- Professional maintenance that can lower your energy bills
Keeping your AC in tip-top shape is one of the best things you can do to prevent your energy bill from skyrocketing. Schedule an AC “Super” Tune-Up today and start saving money tomorrow. Call, text, or schedule service online to get started!
Why Texas Energy Bills are Higher than Other States’
While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact reason your energy bill may be higher than average, in general, high Texas energy bills are the result of several factors unique to Texas. Some reasons include:
- Texas has a deregulated energy grid. Although many people didn’t realize Texas’ energy grid was unique until the severe weather in February 2021, Texas deregulated its energy grid in 2002. This makes Texas different from other states because, unlike most Americans, whose local service providers supply energy, Texans choose their energy service provider in an open market. Although this system intended to decrease energy bills, studies have shown that Texans pay more for energy than consumers that don’t use this system.
- Electricity is more expensive in warmer climates. Electricity prices vary with supply and demand, just like prices for most products. When the weather is warm, the demand for electricity to power AC units increases, increasing prices. Air conditioning makes up 18% of the average Texan’s energy cost. Because Texas has a naturally warmer climate, Texans generally have a greater demand for electricity to power AC units.
- Texans consume more energy on average. Texas is the highest energy-consuming state in the nation, with Texas consumers using 26% more electricity than the average American. The more energy you use, the more it costs.
DIY Ways to Reduce your Energy Costs
While the average cost for energy may be greater in your Texas household, there are many simple things you can do to conserve energy and save money.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are thermostats that connect to the internet, making them convenient, easy to use, and, well, smart. Best of all, they save you money—installing a smart thermostat can save you up to 10–12% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs.
Smart thermostats allow you to remotely adjust the temperature of your home when you’re away at work or on vacation. They collect data on your energy usage and provide recommendations for ways to save energy and keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
Some people think turning your AC off when you’re not at home will save you money. However, this practice makes your electricity bills higher because your AC unit has to work harder to get your home to a comfortable temperature when you return home. By using a smart thermostat, you can review the data and determine the optimal temperature to set your AC at when you’re not at home (hint: it’s probably 7–10 degrees higher than you have it set right now!).
Use Fans to Stay Comfortable
Fans can help you bridge the gap between an increased home temperature and comfort. While fans don’t technically cool the air, they redistribute it, helping make your home more comfortable with less energy usage. Additionally, when cold air is distributed evenly throughout your home, your AC unit won’t run as long trying to cool your home.
Do you leave your blinds open all day? If so, you could be contributing to your expensive energy bill. That’s because 76% of the sunlight that strikes an average double-pane window turns into heat in the home.
Closing your blinds is an easy fix, but install insulated window shades, curtains, or window films if you want to take this tip to the next level. Because these devices prevent more sunlight from entering your home than blinds alone, they help to keep your home naturally cooler, reducing the need to run your AC.
Change your air filter
When your AC’s air filter becomes clogged with dust and debris, it’s harder for your AC to pump out cool air into your home. When your AC has to work harder to do its job, you pay the price—literally!
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends changing your air filter every 3 months, at a minimum. In essence, if your air filter looks dirty, change it. Not only will your home remain free of dust and pollutants, but you’ll conserve energy (and money!).
Professional Maintenance that can Lower your Energy Bill
If you’ve performed the steps above and still feel that your energy bill is higher than it should be, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC professional take a look. A professional can diagnose any hidden problems and give you advice on maintaining your HVAC system.
Jon Wayne’s NATE-certified technicians can help you:
Seal Duct Leaks
Did you ever hear your dad say, “Close the door—I’m not paying to cool the outdoors!” When air ducts leak, you’re essentially paying to heat or cool areas that you didn’t intend to heat or cool, such as basements, attics, or the outdoors.
Green Building Advisor says that leaking air ducts are one of the top three greatest energy wasters in the average home. When your air ducts leak, you end up paying more for your energy bills because your AC has to work harder to get your home to the desired temperature.
Luckily, there is a solution for leaking air ducts—duct sealing. Sealing your ducts will close up any leaks, saving you money and helping to keep your home at a more comfortable temperature.
Maintain your AC Unit
The best thing you can do for your AC unit is to have it regularly maintained by a professional. Regular HVAC maintenance saves you money—it prevents the need for costly repairs by identifying problems before they require fixing, and it keeps your HVAC system running efficiently, saving you money on energy bills. In fact, studies show that regular maintenance of your HVAC system can reduce your HVAC energy costs by 5–40%.
If annual maintenance is too much to remember to schedule, let us do the heavy lifting for you—enroll in our 5-Star Service Club to receive regular tune-ups, 24/7 monitoring, discounts on repairs, and much more!
Texans, take control of your high energy bills.
With regular maintenance and a few simple energy-saving changes, your energy bills should decrease in no time. Let us know how we can help!