3 Tips to Cut Your Energy Use Without Reducing Your Comfort

plastic window with mosquito net
Do you really have to take 5 minute showers? You don’t…if you follow these tips. Learn more from Payless Power.

You hear about these energy savings fanatics in the news all the time.

For example:

  • Use a portable heater to only heat the space near your body, and turn down the furnace
  • Someone wears a Snuggie all winter to stay warm
  • One guy creates an elaborate system for collecting rain water to drink

These stories are rare, but people actually do these things. You should do it too, these stories suggest.

But do you really want to do that?

You want to be comfortable. Sure, a little change here and there is fine.

But you don’t want to undergo drastic measures. It sucks so much joy out of your life. And instead of feeling happy and comfortable, you hate facing the day because it’s no fun to live.

So what changes can you make that help you save a noticeable amount of energy, but don’t sacrifice your comfort?

Try these:

  1. Get an Energy Audit

Believe it or not, the greatest energy savings aren’t necessarily lifestyle changes you can make. In many Texas homes, even “state-of-the-art” ones, insulation wasn’t installed properly by the contractor. Or, they didn’t ventilate your home properly.

In Texas, home energy audits are free (they cost $250 – $800 in many other states). Just Google “free energy audit Texas” to find resources.

  1. Find and Plug Air Leaks

If you do a home energy audit, they should find these issues for you. But maybe you’re a do-it-yourselfer.

If you are, look for leaks in your foundation, walls, ceilings, and roof. Combined, these leaks can let out as much air as an open window.

This tip (and the others) comes from Consumer Reports, who also says to watch out for window companies that hard sell you. Window companies sometimes say 40-50% savings, and the FTC has warned them to stop. Speaking of your windows, they say you should expect 7-15% energy savings in a single year.

By the way, if money is your concern, windows aren’t a good way to save it. A typical payback time is 20 years!

  1. Switch Up to a Hybrid Water Heater

In any household, water heaters are the biggest electricity thief. Consumer reports says you could save $350 per year with a hybrid water heater. They use electric and a heat pump that pulls heat from the air.

Tax credits are still available for installing this type of water heater. And they’re reasonably significant in value.

Wow! You Can Save Energy and Enjoy Life Too

Saving energy and living comfortable don’t have to be two different things. Insert these tips into your life, and you can save energy, money, and live comfortably too.

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Payless Power Reviews – Has Payless Power Changed Your Life? Share Your Story!

Congratulations on choosing an electricity provider wisely! Payless Power customers use 27% less electricity than the average Texas consumer. Chances are you’ve also been saving as much as $34/month ($415 annually), all with our convenient no-deposit, pay-as-you-go electric plan. In just four easy steps, you were able to land a great deal in the electricity market.

If you’re happy with the easy savings and friendly service that Payless Power has brought to your home, pay it forward. Now is your chance to let other budget-conscious customers like yourself know about how they can access our prepaid plans for same-day service without a credit card, ID, or credit check. Low-rate fixed plans are available for no money down.

Please take a minute to write a review of your experience with Payless Power and share your good fortune. We value your service and your satisfaction.

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3 Simple Things You Can Do To Keep Your A/C Running Efficiently


All right, Mr. Handyman (or Handywoman), here’s what you do to keep your A/C running at peak efficiency year-round. Learn more from Payless Power.

That A/C, no matter how new it is, gobbles its fair share of electricity. So you’ve got to keep it running in top condition.

Some of the work requires a pro. But here’s what you can do, and how to do it:

  1. Check and Replace the Air Filter Monthly

If you do just one thing for your A/C, this should be it. A clogged filter cuts efficiency by 5-15%. If you have central A/C, you usually find the filter somewhere along the return duct.

If your home uses a forced air furnace, you may have to open a door next to the furnace to reveal the location of your filter. It could also be on the A/C unit itself.

If you have an A/C unit in your attic, the filter will be in your ceiling. Most likely, you’ll find it in a central area of your home in a hallway.

During the summer, you may even need to replace your A/C filter more often than monthly. When your A/C gets louder, that’s a sign dirt’s clogging it and it needs replacing.

  1. Clean Condenser Coils

They get dirtier if you let a dirty filter run for a while. So just by changing your filter, you’re helping your condenser coils stay clean.

However, your condenser coils can still get dirty even if you have a clean filter. Cleaning your condenser coils actually isn’t that hard.

HandymanHowTo.com has a brief guide that goes like this:

  • Buy coil cleaner at your local hardware store or retailer
  • Find your hose and bring it on over
  • Mix the coil cleaner in your pump sprayer as directed
  • Spray on the coil cleaner
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes
  • Wash your coils clean with your hose


  1. Do You Have Room Air Conditioners?

Ideally, you’ll get rid of these and have central AC. But sometimes, you just don’t have the budget for that.

If you do have window units, make sure you have a tight seal between the A/C and window frame. These A/Cs are inefficient in the first place. So don’t make it any easier for them to leak more air!

You Can Do It

…But you don’t have to. If you aren’t handy or don’t have the time, you can always contact a professional to help you.

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7 Energy Saving Myths

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb

Energy saving only works when you work from the facts. Learn some the truths and untruths in this post from Payless Power.

Anyone who wants to be an energy savings “expert” online can. That means you can receive plenty of advice that doesn’t work at all.

Check out these energy savings falsehoods, and learn what you can do instead:

  1. Fill Your Partially Empty Fridge or Freezer with Plastic Bottles of Water

There’s some truth to this – you do save energy. But the energy you save is so minuscule it doesn’t make enough of a difference to even do. And you might actually cost yourself net energy by using the water filled into those bottles.

  1. Halogen Lighting is Incredibly Efficient

Again, there’s a little truth to this one. Halogen lighting is way more efficient than incandescent bulbs. But CFLs are even more efficient than halogen. And LEDs lights are more efficient than both CFLs and halogen lighting.

  1. Insulating Your Ceiling Causes More Heat Loss in Other Areas

This one is simply untrue. However, if you do have other uninsulated areas of your home, they will lose more heat simply because they are not insulated.

  1. Electric Heat is More Efficient than Any Fuel

Again, you have to examine this one carefully. Almost all the electricity that enters your electric heater turns into useful heat. However, actually making the heat causes as much as a 2/3 loss in energy.

So if you heat your home with electricity, think of the coal or natural gas plant miles away that produces that energy – and loses nearly 2/3 of it.

  1. Foam Gaskets in Your Electrical Outlets Reduce Air Leakage

They do save energy, but the true savings are around 1%. If you’re trying to save energy, other things (like reducing your water heater’s temperature) are more worth your time.

If you’re an obsessive energy saver, though, go for it with the foam gaskets.

  1. You Use Less Energy To Boil Hot Water from the Tap

It takes the same energy to boil both hot and cold water from the tap. Technically, you pay for warming the water in the tap and then boiling it. So you hurt yourself twice there.

  1. Setting Your A/C Cooler Cools Your Room Faster

Truthfully, this just uses more energy. If you want to cool quickly, turn on a personal fan or ceiling fan. That actually takes much less energy.

When you hear those tips online, or from a well-intentioned friend or family member, don’t follow them. Take the wise action instead.

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The 2015 Earth Day Energy Savings Guide


Thank goodness for Earth Day! Energy savings was an afterthought before its invention. Learn more about Earth Day and how you can save energy.

Did you know Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970? How fitting that it came at the peak of the hippie and flower-child culture.

The timing was perfect. Americans at that time guzzled gas in sedans with massive V8 engines. Industry recklessly polluted the environment without any fear of legal consequences or public humiliation. And air pollution? No one even thought about it.

Times have changed, haven’t they?

45 years later, you have technology that allows you to be more efficient than any human in history.

To help Earth out, here’s some small and simple ways you can save energy this Earth Day:

  1. Empty Your Car

Bet you never thought of this one. But think of how often you carry around summer necessities in your vehicle. You drag kid’s sports equipment, chairs and blankets, and camping gear.

Hauling that extra 100 pounds costs you 1% off your fuel economy.

  1. Your Car’s Oil

Changing your oil and filter per your manufacturer’s recommendations maximizes your fuel economy. Ask your servicer if they recycle oil. If they don’t, find one that does. Ask them if they have recycled oil your car can use.

  1. Optimize Your TV’s Energy Savings

Today’s TVs eat up so much less energy, but they’re still not perfect. You can do two simple things to take their energy savings even further:

  • Change the “vivid” or “retail” screen brightness to “home” or “standard” and save 20% more
  • Disable “quick start” because that consumes power even when you don’t watch your TV
  1. Enjoy Earth And Take a Hike!

Aren’t your children deficient in vitamin D from staying inside all the time anyways? Why not haul everyone in your home outside for a hike on a sunny day?

Not only that, but you save energy versus other types of vacations/get-togethers.

  1. Download the Earth Day Energy Saving Web App

You can learn more about the app here. This app makes it simple for you to track, manage, and reduce your personal energy use. You just have to answer a few questions to start – and then you’re off to the energy savings races.

Hopefully you get a sunny Earth Day this year – and enjoy your energy savings!

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11 Energy Savings Jokes to Brighten Your Day


Energy savings doesn’t all need to be sacrifice and hard work. Check out some funny jokes (safe for work) to lighten your load.

Scrimp, save, analyze, and change your habits. Saving energy is hard work when you really think about it!

You have to constantly sacrifice to get to a better place. And sometimes you need to take a break from that to keep your sanity.

Isn’t it exhausting timing your showers and getting out before you actually want to?

So, check out these safe-for-work energy savings jokes and enjoy your day:

  1. Q: How many consultants do you need to change a light bulb?

A: You’ll get an estimate a week from Monday.

  1. Q: How many students does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. They use CFLs!


  1. Q: Did you hear what the foolish gardener did?

A: The guy planted a light bulb and though he’d get a power plant.


  1. Q: How many museum curators does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 6. 1 changes it and the other 5 preserve, display, and celebrate the old model.


  1. Q: How many software engineers do you need to change a light bulb?

A: None – it’s a hardware problem.


  1. Q: How many LEED accredited professionals does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 4:


  1. 1 tells you how to earn LEED points when you change it
  2. 1 changes the bulb
  3. 1 documents the change
  4. The last one delivers the check to the US Green Building Council to certify the change


  1. Q: How many tenants does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. Instead, they curse the light bulb, electrician, landlord, and architect.


  1. Q: How much energy performance data does it take to change a light bulb?

A: We’re not sure – we’re still waiting for more information from the engineer.


  1. Q: How many life-cycle assessment experts do you need to change a light bulb?

A: 2. One changes it. The other changes it back once more data’s been analyzed.


  1. Q: How many State of California regulations do you need to change a light bulb?

A: 3. One requires you to change your light bulb. One warns you it causes cancer. The last bans disposal of your light bulb.


  1. Q: How many LEED AP exam takers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Well, let’s see…EA Credit 3, EA Credit 7, MR Credit 2 if you want to recycle it, and maybe SS credit 9, depending on your location. Sorry…what was the question?

Special thanks to BuildingGreen and Solartwin for the jokes.

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12 Quick & Cheap Spring Energy Savings Tips


Anyone can use these tips to save more energy this Spring. Learn what you can do in this post from Payless Power.

These tips are for the not-so-handy husband – the one who’d rather spend time with family or hobbies.

Nothing wrong with that!

The experienced handyman could use them too.

Let’s stop wasting your time, and get right to them:

1. Close Your Blinds on the Sunny Side 

The sun warms up your home – keep it out by simply closing your blinds.

2. Run Your Ceiling Fan the Right Way

Your ceiling fan should be spinning in reverse during summer. This improves airflow by pulling the cooler air upward.

3. Install Weatherstripping

If you don’t have it already, add it for your exterior doors. It takes just a few minutes to clean your doorframe and attach the weatherstripping. And it doesn’t cost much to buy weatherstripping either.

4. Dress So Your Body Releases Heat

You don’t have to be too obsessive about this one. But every little bit helps. Find cool, comfortable clothing to wear so your body doesn’t hold in too much heat.

5. Use Your Kitchen Exhaust to Remove Warm Air after Cooking 

Yes, it still costs money to run this fan. But, it costs less than running your A/C.

6. If You’re Buying New Appliances…

Get ones with the ENERGY STAR label. You can easily save 20-50% more energy than standard appliances without this label.

7. Drink Plenty of Cold Water

Not only is this good for your health, but it’s good for keeping your energy costs down too. Cool water keeps your body cool.

8. Do Heat-Producing Tasks When It’s Cooler Out

Have to wash dishes, bake, or do laundry? Do them in the early evening or morning.

9. Open Your Windows

Use nature to cool your home instead of your air conditioner when it’s reasonably cool out.

10. Keep Your A/C Free of Obstructions

Weeds can grow up at any time. When you do cut them down, use a mechanical shears or pull them out by the roots. If you use a gas or electric weed-whip, that shoots debris into your A/C, which causes damage.

11. Dust Off Electronics, Bulbs, & Vents

Dust doesn’t allow all these things to run at max capacity. Clean it off this Spring.

12. Vacuum Refrigerator Coils

Not only do you save energy when you do this, but you also prolong the life of your refrigerator.

Those 12 tips are nice and easy for anyone to do. Enjoy – and enlist your teenagers to give you a hand!

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Warning: Gas Additives Don’t Work


You hear about gas additives that you simply pour in your gas tank, and then you instantly have better gas mileage. Learn the truth about them.

Gas prices are historically low – did yours drop below $2 per gallon? When was the last time you can remember seeing that?

Fuel efficiency may not be your biggest concern right now, but eventually you will see those gas prices back up to normal. In the meantime, as an efficiency expert, you might be thinking of gas additives.

Why are Gas Additives Mostly Ineffective? 

The truth is modern automakers have already optimized your car’s computer and its ability to make your fuel usage efficient. By changing the chemistry of your gasoline with a fuel additive, you can actually decrease your miles per gallon. And if these additives actually worked, wouldn’t you expect big brand names in the gasoline industry to sell them?

Why Do Some People Claim Gas Additives Work?

It’s most likely a combination of them observing their miles per gallon for the first time, and driving more carefully so they can justify the expense. You will see glowing testimonials from people who claim gas additives work, and those two things are most likely what they experience. And you should also avoid any of the DIY fuel additives that use acetone, as they can damage your vehicle’s seals and gaskets.

There is One Fuel Additive That Sometimes Works…

And no, this isn’t an advertisement. Cleaning your fuel injection cleaners can sometimes improve your mpg. But, that’s an “if,” and not a guarantee.

How Do You Reduce Gasoline Costs? 

The best way is to do things the old-fashioned way:

  • Use the right octane for your vehicle (only use premium if your manufacturer recommends it)
  • Use a phone app or website to find the lowest gas prices
  • Use a rewards credit card that gives you 3% back on your gas purchases
  • Drive defensively and around the speed limit – gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60
  • Keep as much weight as possible out of vehicle
  • Only turn on the A/C and heat when you actually need them
  • Pack items on top of your car only when you’re going on vacation – their wind resistance reduces fuel efficiency
  • Properly inflate your tires

If you do those things, you keep your fuel efficiency high. And they work regardless of what kind of vehicle you have.

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Have You Ever Had a Professional Home Energy Audit?


You can catch the easy energy savings mistakes on your own. But there’s some big ones only pros can find. Learn more in this post from Payless Power.

What do you get when you talk to most HVAC contractors?

They want to sell you a new AC system, a furnace, or a maintenance plan for the ones you already have.

There’s nothing wrong with doing that.

But they might be missing out on some other important areas of efficiency in your home that need to be checked.

That’s where a professional home energy audit comes in.

You see, you can be doing everything else right – turning down the AC when you’re not home, using a programmable thermostat, having energy-efficient appliances – but still be quite inefficient.

What a Good Home Energy Audit Checks

Not every home energy audit is the same.

But whoever you do use should check for things like:

  • The quality of the insulation (if any) in your attic
  • The number of air returns throughout your home
  • Whether the AC/furnace you have is the right size for your home
  • How well your attic/home’s air envelope is sealed

So rather than just sell you a new AC unit, which may improve your efficiency a little, they check for all of these other factors that could affect your home’s energy efficiency. And they make a huge difference in your energy – sometimes 20%, 30%, or even much more than that!

And you should have this done even if you own a brand new home. In many cases, contractors cut corners on how they build new homes to increase their profit margins. Even homes that are supposed to be the “model of efficiency” can in reality be highly inefficient!

For whatever reason, home energy audits don’t get marketed heavily and aren’t as well known in the general public.

But as you can see, they can make quite a difference for many homes. They also often pay back for themselves within the year (but no guarantees here).

In some cases, they’re totally free too, so you’ve got nothing to lose by having one performed.

We don’t have professional relationships with other organizations that offer these, so we can’t advise who you should use to do this task.

However, you can visit the Texas Home Energy Rating Organization website (or call them at 512.445.5538) to find contractors local to your area who perform these audits.

For more ways to save money and energy, sign up for Payless Power at http://paylesspower.com.

Contact Us and Start Saving!

We would love to hear from you! Contact our customer care center at (866) 963-9353 or fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
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Test Your Knowledge with this Energy Savings Quiz

535316933 Do you know the best ways to save energy? Find out in this post from Payless Power.

All right, smarty pants.

Here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is.

Let’s get right to the energy savings quiz:

1. How much energy that you use in your home gets used by heating and cooling?

  1. 1/3
  2. ½
  3. 2/3
  4. All

2. Which of these uses about half of our nation’s energy? 

  1. Cars and trucks
  2. Commercial buildings
  3. Personal electronic devices
  4. Smartphones

3. How has energy consumption changed in America since the 1970s? 

  1. 50% increase
  2. 25% increase
  3. It’s about the same
  4. 25% less
  5. 50% less

4. If you turn down the thermostat by 5-10 degrees at night when you’re not home, how much can you cut your energy costs?

  1. Less than 10%
  2. 10-20%
  3. 21-30%
  4. More than 30%

5. How much electricity do wind farms provide to the US? 

  1. .5%
  2. 1%
  3. 5%
  4. 10%

6. Which region requires the best fuel efficiency for vehicles? 

  1. European Union
  2. United States
  3. Canada
  4. China

7. True or false: wind turbines kill more birds than domestic cats.

  1. True
  2. False

8. How much money can you save per year by switching out 5 incandescent bulbs for 5 CFLs? 

  1. $10
  2. $25
  3. $45
  4. $75

9. What’s the earliest year a building must be built to be certified Energy-Star energy-efficient? 

  1. 1999
  2. 2005
  3. 2010
  4. It doesn’t matter

10. What should you do to drive so that you conserve fuel the best? 

  1. Properly inflate your car’s tires
  2. Never let your car idle for too long
  3. Always drive around the speed limit
  4. Use fuel additives and gas-saving devices to reduce fuel use

The Answers

  1. B – about ½
  2. B – Commercial and industrial buildings
  3. C – It’s roughly the same
  4. B – 10-20%
  5. B – 1%, but it’s expected to grow in the future
  6. A – European Union, which requires fuel economy of 40 mpg. China requires 35 mpg, while the US is at 26 mpg.
  7. B – It’s false. In Britain, domestic cats kill 55 million birds per year. In Denmark, the country generates 9% of its electricity from wind turbines and estimates 30,000 bird deaths annually.
  8. C – $45 – CFLs cost less and last longer.
  9. D – It doesn’t matter. The Cambridge Savings Bank in Cambridge, Massachusetts is Energy Star certified and was built in 1820.
  10. C – Always drive the speed limit. Police let you get away with 10 mph over the limit, but that uses the most gas.

How’d you Do? Score Yourself

Let’s take a look at how you did. Score yourself one point for each answer you get right:

  • 9-10 right – Wow, maybe you should have written this quiz
  • 7-8 right – You’ll be doing a nice job at saving energy this year
  • 5-6 right – Study up on energy savings a little, you could make some significant savings with just a few changes
  • 0-4 right – Well, the only way to go from here is up!
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