Energy Savings Tips
Before you crank up the AC this summer, be sure to check out our energy-efficient alternatives. They're not only good for your wallet, but can help conserve electricity during peak-demand daytime hours (2 to 7 p.m.).
Implementing these summer tips as well as our other suggestions can help you manage your usage all year-round:
Many factors contribute to higher-than-normal electricity bills — in particular, the hot weather. That's why summer is often the time Texas electricity customers see experience seasonal bill spikes.
Weather changes tend to correlate with spikes in electricity bills because the harder your heating and air conditioning system works to make your home comfortable, the more energy you use. If you live in an area with excessive humidity, then your heating and air conditioning system will work harder to remove moisture from the air. You can see this fluctuation by viewing the average electricity bill in Texas. A few signs of humidity in your home may include moist air, fogged-up windows or a musty smell. Humidity and heat can both contribute to a higher-than-normal electricity bill.
Explore renewable solar energy options. Despite their upfront costs, solar panels will help reduce your energy costs over time. If rooftop solar panels aren’t right for you, subscribing to a community solar program may be an option.
One of the summer bill tips that we suggest is setting the temperature on your air conditioning system to 78 while home and increasing it by four degrees when you'll be away for four hours or more. It's the "4-by-4" principle. If 78 degrees feels hot, a ceiling fan or portable fan can make you feel significantly cooler but will use far less energy than your HVAC system. Additionally, it is critical to keep up with regular maintenance and tune-ups to make sure your AC can handle the heat when it’s time for summer.2
When you run your AC, think about ways the cool air could be escaping from the intended area. Prevent cool air loss by weather-stripping doors.
More ways to save
Find out additional things you can do now to help use less energy. Learn more ›
Sign up for Average Billing to smooth out the highs and lows of your electricity bill. With Average Billing, your bill is determined based on the last 12 months of energy usage at your address.3 Get started ›
Degrees of Difference
Choose from two free programs that use your thermostat to help you save energy and reward you for doing so. Learn more ›
Access your plan details, track usage, pay your bill, and set up automated text and email alerts on the go.4 Find out more ›
Beat the Heat program
The summer months can put a strain on anyone's electricity budget. Reliant is proud to offer a Beat the Heat program providing relief from the heat in Corpus Christi, Houston and North Texas. Find locations and details ›
Weekly Summary Email
Get weekly usage comparisons, projected bill estimates and energy-saving tips delivered to your inbox.5 Sign up to receive emails ›
Be automatically alerted via text message when your costs exceed a set amount and/or your daily electricity usage jumps by 25%.6 Sign up for AccountAlerts ›
Keeping up with bills and due dates can be hard sometimes. We understand, and we want to lighten your load. See assistance options ›
Virtual In-Home Consultation
Let our home energy consultants remotely examine several areas of your home and assess its energy use. You'll benefit from some practical, real-time suggestions that can help boost your home's energy efficiency. Call 1-855-887-2190 to schedule your virtual consultation.8
2 U.S. Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/spring-and-summer-energy-saving-tips
3 If there is no previous usage in your name at the service address, or you do not have 11 months of usage at the service address, we will take the previous usage at that service address and apply your current price to calculate your average monthly amount and then subtract or add 1/12 of your deferred balance. The deferred balance amount is the cumulative difference between your monthly Average Billing amount and what you would owe if you were not signed up for Average Billing. The deferred balance amount can be found on your monthly bill. If the bill amount is positive, 1/12 will be added to your bill. If the bill amount is negative, 1/12 will be subtracted from your bill. If you’re a new Average Billing customer, the deferred balance will begin in the second month. Deferred balance must be paid in full if you cancel Average Billing or change electricity providers.
4 Projected bill not available for Pay as you Go customers. Must be a Reliant residential customer with a Texas service address and a smart meter.
5 The billing and usage information provided in the Reliant Weekly Summary Email (WSE) is an estimate and includes only your electricity charges and taxes. Your monthly bill provides your official usage as determined by your local electric utility, as well as the total bill amount due. If you are on an indexed plan, you will not see cost information in your WSE, as prices are determined on the last day of each bill cycle. If you change to an incompatible plan or terminate your service with Reliant, you will no longer receive your WSE. Reliant reserves the right to discontinue the WSE without notice. You may also request to cancel your WSE by calling 1-866-872-6644.
6 Customers must have already opted in to receive alerts via text from the Contact Preferences page on the Account Management dashboard. Available only to customers with a smart meter. Message and data rates may apply. For Terms and Conditions, go to reliant.com/etrm.
7 Current Reliant electricity customers receive 10% off HVAC services offered by Reliant. Discount cannot be combined with promotional repair/replacement offers, applies only to customers in Texas and can be applied to all forms of payment. Reliant may modify or discontinue this program at any time without notice.
HVAC services provided by Reliant Energy Retail Services LLC dba Reliant, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. TACLB23923E. Regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, TX 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599.
8 All features of the Home Energy Checkup may not be available to all customers. Some restrictions apply. Limit one consultation per customer each year. Scheduling is based on availability.
Check how much energy you used in past months by comparing the kWh on your bills, rather than the costs. Perhaps your bill hasn’t actually increased, but you feel like your overall usage is high. If that’s the case, you can check out our home energy savings tips for more information on how to cut back on energy consumption throughout the year.
Make sure the meter is correct by checking to see if your meter matches your bill. If everything matches and you weren’t overcharged, you may have a high energy bill because you live in a multi-family dwelling or a duplex where someone else's electricity is wired into your meter. Or your meter may be broken and running even when appliances are not being used. You should to call your utility provider (TDSP as listed on your electricity bill) to have them check the meter.
Will upgrading my thermostat to a smart thermostat help me save on my electricity bill?
A smart thermostat (like a Nest Learning ThermostatTM) can potentially help you save on your electricity bill, but whether or not you save largely depends on how you program and use the thermostat. Most smart thermostats on the market can be programed according to a schedule you initially set. Some include motion sensors that detect when you are actually home, and many will save your programmed preferences and then make slight tweaks as they learn your habits. Smart thermostats often make almost imperceptible changes to the temperatures you've set to help you ultimately use less electricity. These features could all result in you using less electricity and thereby saving on your electricity bill, but many factors contribute to how much you pay for electricity each month.
If you were already diligent about turning up your thermostat while away and conserving your AC use with a traditional thermostat, you might not see much difference when you switch to a smart thermostat. Also, if you override the smart thermostat settings regularly, you may not get the energy and cost savings you hope to see. Some thermostats work better than others depending on location within your home or personal preference, so you have to make sure you buy the right one for your home and mount it properly. The weather, the condition of your HVAC unit, your home's insulation, and how well your home is sealed can affect how much energy is required to cool and heat your home as well.
In other words, a smart thermostat can be an excellent tool to save energy and money, but many other factors could influence your energy costs.
*Reliant is not affiliated with Nest or the products and services it markets. Nest®, Nest Learning Thermostat™, Nest Leaf™, Airwave™, Auto-Away™ and the Nest logo are trademarks or servicemarks of Nest Labs, Inc.
On which wall should I place my thermostat?
Ideally, a thermostat should be mounted on an interior wall, away from temperature extremes.1 Try to choose a central room you use frequently so the thermostat will work according to the needs of that room and not some unused area of the house.
When installing your thermostat, avoid:
If you have a smart thermostat, you'll need to make sure you're within range of your Wi-Fi router and that no doors, corners, shelves or other items are obstructing the view of its motion or image sensor.3
Will cooking outdoors keep my electricity costs lower?
You can save electricity by cooking food outside instead of on the stove or in the oven. Using an oven doesn't cost much and can actually be cheaper than using a grill, but the heat in the kitchen can cause the air conditioner to work harder. You can save the cost of running the AC if you grill outside instead.
If I keep my air conditioning at the same level, will I save money on my electricity bill?
Probably not. Some people believe that setting the AC or even just the fan to run constantly will help them save on electricity. This is not true. If you can run your AC less often, you are more likely to save money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can potentially save 10% on your electricity bill if you diligently set your thermostat 7-10 degrees away from your ideal temperature for 8 hours a day.4 That means, if it's summertime and you prefer your home at 72°F, you should turn the thermostat up to 80°F while you're away at work.
4U.S. Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats
How frequently should I change out my HVAC air filters?
When you purchase your air filters, check the packaging for a manufacturer-recommended replacement schedule. Most filters should be replaced every one or two months, but this can vary depending on how much the HVAC system is being used, how much dust enters the system and how many furry pets you have.5 Get air filters delivered to your home periodically, with Reliant Filters Made Easy®.
5U.S. Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner
How frequently should I schedule regular maintenance for my HVAC system?
We recommend tuning up your heater and air conditioner twice per year—once before summer hits and other time just before winter. Our licensed AC Tune-Up technicians will check refrigerant levels and all major working components of your system, recommending any repairs if needed.
For assistance regarding your current bill, you can call 1-866-RELIANT to get information about payment plans and other options available for you. We can help you.
For help with bills in the future, you may want to try one of these options: