To help ease the burden of your electric bill and to help save energy, Reliant is offering some simple and affordable do-it-yourself tips.
The first tip is window coverings. That's an easy, no cost way to keep the sun from heating up your house. But, if you see sunlight streaming through your blinds, they might not be closed properly. Closing your blinds up instead of down deflects heat and sunlight, and keeps your home cool and comfortable.
A dirty air filter can also cause an air conditioning system to work harder and less efficiently. Changing the filter on an air conditioning system regularly is an inexpensive and easy way to make sure it's performing at peak efficiency. Check your air filter at least once a month - use a monthly bill or magazine as a reminder - and if it's dirty, replace it. Also for every degree you set your thermostat below 78, you could be adding up to 5% to your summer cooling costs.
Another tip involves your ceiling fan. Experts say you should turn the rotation a different direction depending on the season. During the summer the rotation from your fan should provide a breeze, creating a wind chill effect. If not, your fan may still be operating in the winter mode. A switch on the top or side of the fan changes its direction and puts it in summer mode. Visit (reliant.com/newsroom) to see which way a ceiling fan should turn in the summer.
Experts say leaving doors and vents closed in unoccupied rooms does not save energy. Air conditioners require free flowing air through all the rooms in order to work at peak efficiency. For this reason, it's best to leave doors and vents open in all rooms.
As for extra help during this summer with your bill, Mike Gutierrez, spokesman for TXU, said the Public Utilities Corporation of Texas has established a mandate that at all providers offer payment plans to low-income or critical need/care customers who qualify. In order to qualify, customers must call their providers. The low-income discount program called is called LITE-UP Texas. Low-income Texans served by investor-owned utilities, electric coops, and city-owned utilities should ask their electric provider if they have low-income assistance programs.