Over the decades, we have continued to become more dependent and demanding on electricity. But, as we Texans have learned recently from The Great Texas Snowmageddon of 2021, the Texas power grid can be very fragile when we face very low or very high temperatures. This week The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has issued a conservation alert due to high electricity demand. They are making a few recommendations on how you can help lower the demand as the temperatures rise.
We want to provide you with some short-term and long-term options you can start doing to not only help lower the demand from the power grid and save you money in the long run.
Short Term Power Conservation Options:
- Raise your thermostat | One of the easiest ways to conserve power is by raising your thermostat in your home during peak hours (10 am-7 pm). It is recommended to keep the temperature in your home at or above 78 degrees while also running ceiling fans during peak hours.
- Save the dishes till tonight | Once the sun goes down, the demand for power goes down. So waiting till the sun goes down to do the dishes or to wash clothes will significantly decrease the need for rolling blackouts. Also, turning off the heated dry option on your dishwasher helps too.
- Set the pool to cycle at night | There are multiple benefits to running your pool pump at night during the summer. Letting it run at night helps ERCOT by reducing power demand during peak times, but it will benefit you by extending the life of your pool equipment and help with keeping the water cooler. Pool pumps generate heat. Running them during the day when the sun is hitting the pump only makes them hotter, which in some cases causes the capacitors to break. Not circulating the water during the day keeps most of the water heated from the sun at the top of the pool, making it easier for the heat to dissipate once the sun goes down.
- Close the blinds | Blocking the sun from entering your house through the windows has a dramatic effect on keeping temperatures within the house lower
- Replace your air conditioner filter | With our air conditioners running more, the filters should be replaced more often. When they get dirty, they restrict airflow causing your air conditioner to work harder than necessary.
Long Term Power Conservation Options:
- Make your home smart | Investing in a smart thermostat has proven to save energy. They can automatically change your home’s temperature when you are not home to keep from wasting energy, and you can even adjust the temperature from anywhere using your phone.
- Ditch incandescent bulbs | LED light bulbs have been around for some time now but only recently have we seen the price drop substantially ($1.50 per bulb in some cases). LED bulbs generate less heat and can last 5 years or more. There are bulbs on amazon that use only 6 watts with the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
- Go solar | This is most likely the biggest investment with the longest wait on the return of investment. Still, with the proper battery backup to store the energy from the solar panels, you could be completely independent of the power grid and, in most cases, sell the extra power generated back to the grid.
- Foam insulate your home | Foam insulation has a major impact on keeping your home cool, even on the hottest days.
- Plant some trees | This is most definitely a long-term option, but having trees shade your home from the sun will block out a majority of the thermal radiation from the sun. Also, if you are looking to purchase a home, this could be a big factor in how comfortable that new house will feel inside during these summer months.
We hope this helps you conserve some energy, helping the Texas power grid, and in return helping your power bill! Even when there are not high demands, this advice can be beneficial.
Founder | Self-taught in all forms of creativity with a passion for photography of landscapes and architecture. Devoted to helping the Mineral Wells community.