As summer temperatures rise, so too does the average consumer’s energy usage. The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is expecting above average energy usage this summer. NEC Co-op Energy has 5 tips to help you save energy, and save on your electric bills.

1. Set thermostat 2 to 3 degrees higher

A few degrees is all it takes to help save. Set thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher and set programable thermostats at even higher temperatures when no one is home.

2. Use ceiling fans to feel cooler

Minimize the use of your air conditioning unit and use your ceiling fans instead.  Adjust your fan in the spring and summer months so that the fan will turn counter-clockwise, pushing cool air downwards.

3. Unplug non-essential lights and appliances

You may not realize how much energy your non essential appliances are using – even when they are off! The first and most effective step to slay energy vampires is to cut off their power. Go room-by-room through your home and unplug any unnecessary electronics. Start with items you don’t use regularly and those that use a considerable amount of energy.

Consider unplugging:
*Mobile phone chargers
*Stereos and speakers
*Video games
*Hairdryer and styling tools
*Small kitchen appliances, including coffee makers

4. Take shorter showers

Needless to say, this can definitely help you save time and money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water is a huge energy user, and water heaters are responsible for about 17% of the home’s energy use. If you are really intent on saving, limit long, luxurious showers and make your shower a bit cooler. Bonus: a cool shower can help improve circulation and increase alertness.

5. Upgrade to energy efficient appliances 

Refrigerators have come a long way when it comes to energy efficiency. A model from 5 or 10 years ago might be costing you twice to run vs. a newer, more energy-efficient model. If you have a refrigerator that is well into its years, it might be high time to replace it or consider an upgrade.