It’s morning on one of the first weekdays of the new school year. Do you know how much electricity you’re using?
If you’re an average Texas home with school-aged children, you might be using more electricity on warm school mornings than you did during the summer.
In North Texas alone, TXU Energy saw an 11 percent increase in the amount of electricity used in single-family homes between about 4 and 8 a.m. in the last week of August last year compared with the first week of that August when school wasn’t in session.
That increase represents more than 148 MWh a day, enough electricity to power more than 300 Energy Star®-rated refrigerators for a year.1
Across the state, ERCOT data show a similar bump in consumption for all residential and commercial consumers.
Increased consumption equals higher charges for energy, delivery and taxes. It all adds up to higher spending.
Families can avoid the increased consumption and higher bills, though. Here are some tips to get a great – and less expensive – start back to school:
Before you go to bed
- Put electronics that you don’t use in the morning on timers so they aren’t consuming unnecessary electricity and generating heat when you get up.
- Make sure to wash and dry needed clothing in full loads at night so you don’t have to run smaller loads in the morning.
- Charge portable electronics at night and unplug the chargers when you start the school day. Many chargers consume electricity even when they aren’t charging a device.
When you get up
- Open window treatments and angle blinds up to capture free daylight.
- Wake yourself with a quick, cool shower rather than a long, steamy one. Steam increases indoor humidity, which makes your air conditioner work harder.
- Raise your thermostat setting by up to 4 degrees and use fans in occupied rooms.
- Limit the number of times you and your family open the refrigerator and freezer.
- Enjoy a cold breakfast or use a toaster oven, slow cooker or microwave. Stovetop and oven cooking add heat and humidity to your home.
- Avoid excess heat if you need to use a stovetop by making sure the burner’s diameter is no bigger than the bottom of the pan or pot.
- Limit the number of times you open doors to the outside.
Before you leave for the day
- Draw blinds to reduce heat entering your home.
- Turn off and unplug unnecessary electronics.
- Set your thermostat to more than 78 degrees.
- Turn off lights and fans.
“Showing school-aged children how to conserve and save are great lessons to start the new school year with, and families can add some fun to the morning by challenging themselves to use the least amount of electricity possible,” said Jennifer Pulliam, director of products and innovation for TXU Energy. “Families can then easily track their electricity consumption through free services, such as the TXU Energy MyEnergy DashboardSM and energy management alerts. Those and other tools really bring home the learning and highlight the value of monitoring and managing consumption.”
1With at least a volume of 8.2 cubic feet and consuming an average of 465 kWh/year.