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Beating the Summer Heat

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Summertime in Texas can be a wonderful season filled with outdoor family activities, vacations, trips to Six Flags over Texas, and many other things.  However, if you are like me, you also understand that summertime in Texas means extremely hot conditions that can test both our patience for the seasonal weather, as well as our energy demands.

All around Texas, electric bills are already starting to rise as families attempt to manage the energy demands that come with our warm weather months.  As you prepare to meet your energy needs within your household budget, I would like to share with you some simple tips for energy conservation that can go a long way to helping out your pocket book as our outdoor temperatures meet and exceed 100 degrees.

1. Use energy efficient light bulbs.  Certain light bulb brands are up to four times as energy efficient as others, last up to eight times longer, and emit less heat.

2. Clean or replace your air filters monthly so that your air conditioner can run at its most efficient level.

3. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees and utilize fans inside your home, which can cool an environment by up to four degrees. 

4. Weatherproof your home by caulking air leaks, applying weather stripping to your doors and insulating your attic.  This one step alone can prove to be the most long term cost saving measure you can do for your home.

5. Keep your blinds and drapes closed on sunny days in order to keep the heat out of your home.

6. Only run your dishwasher and clothes washer when they are full and during night time hours in order to save on appliance related energy costs.

7. Keep your refrigerator as full as possible.  Refrigerators and freezers actually perform at their highest energy efficiency level when they are full.  

8. Do not leave simple items such as cell phone chargers and irons plugged in when you are done using them, as they continue to consume electricity even when standing idle.

Of course, beating the heat in Texas means more than just managing our energy needs to meet our household budgets; it also means keeping a watchful eye on our health and well being. 

Tragically, every year Texans suffer from heat strokes and other heat related illnesses, many of which can be prevented.  When working and playing outside, make sure that you and your family keep the following in mind:

1. No matter how painful your electric bill may seem, do not turn off your air conditioner.  Electric providers have available assistance programs that help low income Texans stay cool during the summer.

2. Drink an eight ounce glass of cold water for every twenty minutes of heat exposure, and try to limit strenuous outdoor physical activities to early in the morning or late in the evening.

3. Avoid hot foods and heavy meals, especially if you know you will be spending significant time outside.

4. When outside, wear loose and light colored clothes, hats that will help keep the sun off your face and always carry sunscreen.  

Following these easy tips, we can all enjoy these summer months without feeling a harsh pinch in our pocketbooks or putting our health at risk.  Almost all of us will be out on the lake, grilling in the back yard, cheering at little league games or engaged in other fun activities.  I hope that your summer is safe, enjoyable, and most of all, a refreshing break. 

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I welcome any questions or comments you may have on this or any other state issues.  Please feel free to call my capitol office at 512.463.0688 or call the district office at 972.724.8477.  You can also send me an email at tan.parker@house.state.tx.us.  Additionally, the first Saturday of every month I hold open office hours from 8 to 10am at my district office located at 800 Parker Square, Suite 245, Flower Mound, TX 75028.

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