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15 tips to save money on your power bill while helping conserve energy

Everyone can do their part to relieve stress on the grid -- and on your budget -- with these energy-saving tips from Reliant.

HOUSTON — After record heat on Sunday and triple digits again today, Texans are being urged to conserve power during peak demand times. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state's electric grid, is asking residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve power through at least 8 p.m. tonight. 

Editor's note: The video above originally aired on July 8.

Extreme high temperatures are expected to create record demand for electricity across Texas, according to Reliant Energy.

Everyone can do their part to relieve stress on the grid -- and lower your power bills -- with these energy-saving tips from Reliant.

RELATED: City of Houston preparing for grid concerns after ERCOT asks residents and businesses to conserve power

Tips to save money on your power bill

  • Set thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher from 2 to 7 p.m. and use ceiling fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler.
  • Set the ceiling fan blades to spin counter-clockwise to circulate cool air.
  • 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.
  • Wait until after sundown to wash clothes and use your dishwasher.
  • Opt for cold water when washing clothes as most of the electricity used comes from heating the water.
  • Don’t use the dishwasher until you have a full load.
  • Avoid using the heat-dry option of your dishwasher, which increases the electricity usage.
  • Opt for thermal drapes or blackout curtains to keep the heat outside your home and the cool air inside.
  • If you have blinds, close them in the up position.
  • Change your air filter regularly to ensure the AC is running at its best.
  • Make sure that you have had your air conditioning unit professionally inspected by an HVAC company. This not only keeps the unit running efficiently, but it also may save you from a broken unit in the middle of a hot Texas summer.
  • If you have a low return air vent, make sure nothing is blocking it. It needs about 2 to 3 feet of space to flow properly.
  • Check for gaps around windows and caulk them or for bigger gaps, use spray foam. Close a dollar bill or piece of paper in your outside doors. If you can easily pull it out, you might need to add some weather stripping around the doors.
  • 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.
  • Set pool pumps to run early in the morning or overnight; shut off from 4 to 6 p.m.

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