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energy-saving tips

Ways to conserve this summer

Before you lower the AC this summer, be sure to check out our energy-efficient alternatives. They're not only good for your wallet, but can also help conserve electricity during peak-demand daytime hours (2 to 9 p.m.)

 energy-saving tips
 energy-saving tips
 energy-saving tips

energy-saving tips

Ways to conserve this summer

Before you lower the AC this summer, be sure to check out our energy-efficient alternatives. They're not only good for your wallet, but can also help conserve electricity during peak-demand daytime hours (2 to 9 p.m.)

What are good energy-saving and conservation tips for the summer?
  • Raise your thermostat 2 to 3 degrees from 2 to 9 p.m. and use fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler.
  • Follow the 4-by-4 rule: If no one is going to be home for more than 4 hours, set the temperature 4 degrees higher while you’re gone.
  • Use a timer on your pool pump  to prevent it from continuously running.
  • Wait until after sundown to wash clothes and use your dishwasher.
  • Don’t use the dishwasher until you have a full load.
  • Opt for thermal drapes or blackout curtains to keep the heat outside your home and the cool air inside.
  • Install ceiling fans and set the blades to spin counter-clockwise to circulate cool air.
  • Look into different lighting options. LED lighting is much more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. You should also take advantage of natural daytime lighting when possible so you can keep lights turned off during the day.
Understanding summer electricity bills

Many factors contribute to higher-than-normal electricity bills — in particular, the outside temperature. The hotter it is, the harder your air conditioner works to keep you cool. That's why summer is often the time Texas electricity customers experience seasonal bill spikes.

You can learn about the top factors affecting your electricity usage and calculate the impact those have on your summer electricity bills here.

How can I make the most of the AC?
  • Set your thermostat to "auto" to prevent your unit from cooling 24/7.
  • Change your air filter regularly to ensure the AC is running at its best.
  • Schedule an annual HVAC tune-up to make sure your system is operating efficiently and that it can stand up to the Texas heat.
  • Set your AC to 78 degrees while you're at home and use fans to help keep you cool while saving energy. 
  • Prevent your AC from working harder to cool by sealing any drafty windows and exterior doors with caulk and weatherstripping.

Account tools and programs to help you save

More ways to save

Find out additional things you can do now to help use less energy. 

Learn more

Average Monthly Billing

Sign up for Average Monthly Billing to smooth out the highs and lows of your electricity bill. With Average Monthly Billing, your bill is determined based on the last 12 months of energy usage at your address.1

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

Reliant app

Access your plan details, track usage, pay your bill, and set up automated text and email alerts on the go.2

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.3

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%.4

Sign up for AccountAlerts

Payment assistance

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.5



Additional tips to lower your bill

Appliances  | Heating and coolingLighting | Outdoor  | Sealing and insulation | Seasonal Working from home


Summer bill tips FAQs

Show all answers

The alternative that will work for you depends on the equipment you already have in your home and what you are willing to purchase. Many people have ceiling fans in their homes, which help circulate air and keep a room cool at a low cost. If you don’t have ceiling fans, you could install one in each room or use portable fans. Ceiling fans and portable fans cost less to use than air conditioning, giving you a cooler feeling without having to cool your entire home. Be sure ceiling fans are set to rotate counter-clockwise. And close window shades and blinds wherever possible to limit the amount of hot sun that enters the home.

The amount your bill increases in the summer is tied to your particular household’s usage. Although the AC is a big factor in how high your bill is, other factors, such as the appliances you use, also contribute to your total usage and costs. Fortunately, you can sign up for Reliant AccountAlerts, a text message alert service that can notify you if your home has a 25% jump in electricity usage. You can also sign up for our Weekly Summary Email, which will detail your usage for the week and compare it to the previous week and month. These tools can alert you to high usage early in your billing cycle so you can reduce your usage for the rest of the month to keep your bill low.

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.

A window AC unit typically costs 14 cents an hour while central AC costs about 36 cents an hour. Ceiling fans are another great option and are very cost-effective as they only cost approximately 1 cent per three hours.

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.

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:

  • Direct sunlight
  • Outside doors and windows
  • Hallways or other areas with poor air circulation
  • Air vents
  • Areas near the kitchen2

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





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.

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

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 


5U.S. Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner

We recommend tuning up your heater and air conditioner twice per year—once before summer hits and again just before winter. 

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:

  • Consider our Average Monthly Billing option, which smooths out the highs and lows of your electricity bills based on an average of the last 12 months of usage at your address. Signing up for Average Monthly Billing means you will receive an energy bill each month that should be more consistent throughout the year.
  • Dial 211 on your phone for more information on assistance available in your community.

1 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 Average Monthly Billing amount and what you would owe if you were not signed up for Average Monthly 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 Monthly Billing customer, the deferred balance will begin in the second month. Deferred balance must be paid in full if you cancel Average Monthly Billing or change electricity providers.

Projected bill not available for pre-paid plan customers. Must be a Reliant residential customer with a Texas service address and a smart meter.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.