Are you in the process of moving soon? Here are some helpful tips for saving money when getting ready to move in your next apartment or home:
Some helpful tips:
- Time your move right. You will be charged more.
- Leases go up to move in on weekend.
- Renting a pod/cube if you do not have that many items to move.
- Change your address with the post office and banking information.
- Setup movers or a U-haul at least 6 weeks in advance.
- Give away old junk or recycle things you do not need to move. Also consider donating items or having a garage sale.
- Setup utilities like water, gas, and electricity at least 2 weeks in advance.
For shopping for an electricity provider compare rates at ShopTexasElectricity.com
8. Keep a packing checklist
9. Pack an essential bag items for the necessary things like important documents and bathroom items.
10. Identify and color code stickers help boxes go in the appropriate room for movers to easily understand.
11. Ask furniture stores/appliance stores for empty boxes instead of buying empty boxes.
Moving can be stressful. Make sure to have a good game plan and don’t procrastinate. Happy Moving!
When shopping for an electricity company in Texas, it’s always good to know that you have options. From fixed rate plans, variable month-to-month rate plans, prepay plans, and renewable plans; we’re here to explain what plans mean on electricity companies websites.
Fixed Rate Plans:
If you see the term ‘fixed rate plan’ this means that during the length of the contract; the energy rate will remain the same. Your monthly usage will change, but the rate you pay for electricity will remain the same.
Variable Month-to-Month plans:
Unlike Fixed Rate plans, Variable rate plans change each month. The energy rate fluctuates each month depending on what the market rate currently is. Variable rates are also usually contract free plans.
Prepay plans or Pay as you go Electricity; are exactly what they sound like. Typically you load a certain dollar amount on your account, or some companies even have auto deduct options. Be sure to have a sufficient balance on your prepay account, or you could get disconnected.
If a plan says “Renewable” check the Electricity Facts Label on the plan to see the percentage of the plan that comes from an alternate energy source. Usually it will say 100% renewable, meaning that the electricity is generated from a solar or eco-friendly source. Renewable plans are typically a higher rate because of the clean source of energy they come from.
Have you ever wondered what switching your energy provider really means? Sure, you know it means that you’ll be paying your bill by sending money to a different company, but how does it really affect you? Well, for starters, it can affect you by keeping more money in the bank. Switching providers is more than just paying someone else; it means that you have an opportunity to get the same reliable electricity for a lower price for a longer period of time.
Most commonly, you’ll find that there are two types of energy plans: variable and fixed. Variable plans change every month based on market conditions. Fixed plans lock in your rate for an amount of time listed in the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) and your contract. If you are still with the same provider you had back in 2002 when Texas became deregulated, you could very well be overpaying for electricity. Even if you have switched before, now may be the time to look into switching to a different provider.
The thing about electricity service is it is the same no matter who you get it from. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas ensures that all electricity service plans are unbiased and there are no interruptions regardless of who you pay for it. The difference is how much you pay and how your REP treats you. Do you really want to pay a lot of money with a retail energy provider who doesn’t take care of you? Do you even want to pay a low rate with someone who doesn’t treat you fairly? When you shop around for electricity providers, you can find out a lot about them, including rates for plans and reviews for service. So what does switching electricity providers really mean? It means that you have the power to choose who you buy electricity from.
When you are looking for an energy provider, you might be confused. With over 30 Retail Electric Providers (REPs) in Texas, it is hard to decide which energy provider to go with. Searching can be made easy through using price comparison websites but if you have priorities other than cheapest price than here are some pointers you need to look at before finalizing your new electricity provider.
Fixed rate or variable rate: Check which rate you are going for! Even if it is the cheapest, you might be looking at the variable rate as a variable rate always starts out low, but increases in price will never go down. That is the reason why it is better to go with fixed rate as that will make your rate constant for a certain amount of time. Even if it is a bit higher, fixed rate is a more solid investment.
Hidden fee, late fee or any fee: Have you heard about Early Termination Fee when you are trying to renew your contract more than 45 days before the contract expires? Some companies have such fees and have you checked the amount of percentage your late fee will cost you as if you forget to pay the bill one month you might be looking at a huge late payment. OUCH I wouldn’t want to pay a super high late fee, would you?
Planting trees on your property can add a lot of beauty and value to your home, but did you know that it can also lower your energy bill? That’s right, a well landscaped yard can actually make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Just how efficient can they be? According to the US Forest Service, planting two 25 foot tall trees can lower your climate control costs by 23 percent!
Trees provide shade, and when they provide shade for your house itself, it reduces solar heat gain. This means that you don’t need to run your AC nearly as much in the summer time. Planting them along the south and western sides of your home will give you plenty of shade to keep your home comfortable. Come winter time, when the trees lose their leaves, you’ll be able to get more sunlight on the house, allowing solar heat gain to heat your home, reducing the need to run the heat.
Trees become especially important the closer you live to a city. On average, cities tend to be 5°F warmer than the surrounding rural areas. Trees reduce this effect by shading the area around themselves and reducing the ambient air temperature. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just buying and planting a bunch of trees. They can take years to grow large enough to provide ample shade and certain types of trees work better in certain areas of your yard. The Arbor Day Foundation’s website has some tips available on choosing trees for your yard needs.
It’s almost summertime and that means it’s time to get those ceiling fans spinning. If you’re looking to replace or install a new ceiling fan, there are some things you need to consider, such as proper sizing, style, and accessories. It might blow you away how many options are out there!
We’ll start with the most important aspect: proper sizing. The size of the room getting the fan affects how large the fan should be. Rooms that are up to 75 square feet require a 26-29 inch blade length, while 225-400 square foot rooms need 50-54 inch blades. If you have high ceilings, you’ll also need an appropriately sized down rod, which is what the fan is suspended by. Ideally, you want the fan to be 8 feet from the floor, so you’ll need a downrod to accommodate this in rooms with high ceilings.
Once you know the blade length, you can choose the style of blades you want. Generally speaking, fan blades, outside of their size and angle, are primarily aesthetic. Find yourself a style you like and go for it! As long as it isn’t made of chicken wire and moves air effectively, you can really choose any style you want.
Some fans are mounted in a wood enclosure surrounded by lights. This style can have fabric or glass shades around them for a wonderful aesthetic. You can also look into getting different finishes for the frame.
Now all that’s left is accessorizing. There are angle adapters to mount fans on angled ceilings, extended downrods for adjusting the height of the fan, lighting kits, remote controls, and pull chain decorations. Make your ceiling fan say something about you. Something like “I’ll keep you cool while looking amazing!”
It’s tax season, which means millions of people are filing their taxes in hopes they’ll get money back instead of having to owe it. If you made any energy efficiency improvements to your home, there’s a good chance you’ll be getting some cash back, or at the very least owing less. Many home improvement projects result in tax credits, which can be used to pay taxes come April 15.
Tax credits are issued for fulfilling certain conditions or purchasing or upgrading certain equipment. Some of the conditions include purchasing a biomass stove, upgrading HVAC systems, installing insulation, installing a new metal and asphalt roof, or upgrading water heaters, windows, or doors. You can also receive tax credits on future filings for things like geothermal pumps, small wind turbines, solar energy systems, and fuel cell technology.
Alternatively, some items may not be covered by tax credits, but can instead net you a rebate. There are no federal rebates, but some cities, states, or utilities offer rebates for upgrading energy efficiency. Other incentives include free home energy audits that show where improvements need to be made in your home. The best course of action is to look online for rebates, incentives, and tax credits available for items you’ve purchased or improved last year or plan to make this year.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many different electricity providers to choose from in Texas? Maybe you’ve had the same provider for years and never gave it a second thought. Texas has a deregulated energy market. This means that the market is open for competition between different retail energy providers (REPs). This competition means lower prices for you, because REPs want to offer the lowest rates to get customers.
What this all means is that you have a choice regarding who provides you with electricity. All electricity is the same, whether it comes from nuclear power, coal, gas, wind, or solar energy. The difference is in the plans and cost. Different plans allow you to pick one that suits you needs. If you need a temporary, month-to-month plan or a long term fixed rate plan, you are able to find one. Fixed rate plan contract lengths can vary between 3 months and 3 years. Prices can also vary among available plans.
By comparing REPs, you can see what each plan offers (detailed in the Electricity Facts Label, or EFL) and how much it costs per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the electricity. Once you find a plan you like, you simply sign up with that provider. Easy! Even easier, we can help you sort providers by your service area, price, contract length, or other means. So get yourself ready to exercise your electric choice to save some money on electricity!
There are simple ways to save energy in your home that can also save you money all year long. We have a list of 8 things you can do to start racking up the savings and make your home more energy efficient!
Thermostat — Properly programming a programmable thermostat can save 10% on your heating and cooling. Considering climate control accounts for half your house’s energy use that shaves 5% off your total electricity bill! Set it to remain off while you are at work and while you are asleep to maximize the savings.
Sunlight — In the summer months, sunlight can really heat up your home, which drives up your energy bill. There are window treatments that allow you to get all the natural sunlight without the added heat. This allows you to use natural sunlight instead of artificial light to brighten your home without the need to run the AC nonstop.
Energy Star — Energy Star certified appliances are about 20-30% more efficient than uncertified models of the same appliance. By using all Energy Star qualified appliances in your home, you could save about $750 worth of electricity over the life of the appliances.
Lighting — Just replacing 5 of the most used incandescent bulbs in your home can save you $75/year in lighting costs. Switch to LED lights that offer unbeatable brightness combined with unprecedented longevity. LED bulbs can last upwards of 20 years!
Power Strips — Consolidating electronics into power strips helps keep things organized, but it can also save money. If your entertainment center is all plugged into a power strip, simply turn off the strip when the center is not in use, and you will stop all the electricity flowing to the electronics, including the sneaky vampire effect of powered down appliances drawing power!
Water — Lowering the temperature setting on your water heater from 140°F to 120° and installing low-flow shower heads can really reduce energy consumption through water use. Insulating your hot water pipes will also reduce heating needs.
HVAC Maintenance — Keep your heating and cooling system in prime working order by having a professional tune it up. It’s best to tune the system up every 6 months, just before winter and just before summer. The longer you wait, the more costly the tune up can be.
Energy Audit — Have a professional energy audit conducted on your home to see where you can continue reaping the savings. Energy audits find the spots in your home where energy is being wasted, often from air leaks. Once the audit is complete, you’ll know what to tackle next to get your home in prime energy efficiency condition!
There are quite a few ways you can save energy in your home. Lighting, climate control, water, and electronic use all play a part in your home’s energy usage. Changing these sectors of energy even slightly can have an impact on your monthly energy bill. Even changing the way you drive your car affects your monthly energy expenses. We’ll explore several of these energy sectors and show you how to get the most out of your energy.
- Turning off lights any time you leave a room is a good practice, especially when you have incandescent, halogen, or LED bulbs. These lights are instant on and off, so as soon as you flip the switch they come on. CFLs need a warmup time to reach full brightness, and if you will be turning the light back on within 15 minutes, leave it on. Constant cycling of these bulbs also reduces their longevity.
- Incandescent bulbs are very inefficient. Halogens are a little better, but CFLs and LEDs are the most efficient, about 80% better than incandescents.
- With computers, turn off the monitor if you will be away from the computer for more than 20 minutes. Turn off the whole computer if you will be away from it for more than 2 hours.
- Screensavers don’t reduce energy usage, they only prevent burn-in on your screen (leaving an image on the screen, even when you change the image). Turning your monitor off or putting it in a sleep mode is the only way to save energy.
- Unplug electronic devices and plugs like DVD players, game systems, laptop chargers, phone chargers, and tablet chargers. These constantly drain power even if the device is off or disconnected from its charger.