The summer of 2011 is one that many Fort Worth residents will be telling their kids and grandkids about in years to come. While the weather still hasn’t beaten the records set in 1980, most will agree that it has been an intense one. The City of Fort Worth enacted stage one watering restrictions beginning August 29th and ERCOT is encouraging everyone to limit their electricity usage between 3 and 7 p.m. to avoid rolling blackouts. So what is a family to do? Reenacting scenes from Little House on the Prairie is a little extreme, but there are several smaller ways to limit usage of both water and electricity that will make a big difference.
In addition to keeping your thermostat set at 85 or higher when nobody is home and 78 when people are, TXU has compiled the following recommendations.
- After school snacks may be popular when it’s hot, but remember not to waste time staring into the refrigerator with the door open.
- Set the DVR before your kiddos get home from school to record their favorite shows – so they can watch them after 7 p.m.
- Ask them to focus on homework instead of tackling the X-Box or gaming stations until after 7 p.m.
- If homework or other household activities require PCs and the Internet, use the battery power of your laptop versus having it plugged into the wall until 7 p.m.
- If your kids come home sweaty after playtime, athletics, or other outdoor activities, hold off on showering or bathing until 7 if you can because your AC has to push the steam from the shower out of your home.
- The same goes with the heat and humidity of stovetop cooking. In terms of dinner, think about something cold like sandwiches – or use your microwave or grill out to avoid heating up the kitchen and adding humidity that will make your A/C continue cycling to cool back down.
- Turn off lights and ceiling fans in rooms you’re not using.
- Unplug your phone chargers and digital picture frames.
Many of these tips will also help you save on your electric bill year-round. For more energy-saving tips, visit Energy Thieves or take the Home Energy Audit.
The City of Fort Worth and a few surrounding suburbs have enacted watering restrictions. For Fort Worth residents, this means watering only on select days, depending on your home address. This element may be straightforward, but there are other ways to conserve water as well that will make the most of the two days you can water.
- Even if your sprinklers are on a timer, take a stroll outside while they are going to be sure they are watering the right areas and there are no leaks.
- Move container plants to shady areas to reduce the moisture lost through evaporation.
- Avoid refilling swimming pools.
- Reuse indoor water, such as for cooking, to water outdoor plants.
- Use indoor water conservation techniques including taking shorter showers, turning off water while brushing teeth, and running washing machines and dishwashers only when full.
With rain predicted for the near future, it is likely these restrictions will not last long. Fall is only 25 days away, so cool weather is on the horizon. Not only will the electricity and water conservation techniques save these utilities from being depleated, they will also save on your bills.