Reliant is offering tips to help homeowners prepare for the heat and manage their energy usage this summer.

First, raise your thermostat setting.

During the summer months, follow the 4x4 principle by setting your thermostat four degrees higher when you’re away from home for more than four hours. When your temperature is set below 78 degrees, each degree cooler may increase your costs by up to 5 percent.

Other tips include:

  • Wash large loads — both for dishes and laundry — to cut down on electricity usage.
  • Use microwave and toaster ovens or grill outside. Using the oven in the heat of summer forces your air conditioning to work harder and increases your electricity bill.
  • Rotate your ceiling fan counter-clockwise to create a wind chill effect for a more comfortable living environment. Also turn off fans when you leave the room.
  • Replace the air filters on your air-conditioning system regularly to prevent them from becoming dirty and clogged, which causes the system to work harder and use more energy.
  • Use blinds or thermal curtains that can reduce solar heat gain by up to 50 percent. Sunlight can increase the demand on your air conditioner by as much as 30 percent.
  • Seal your windows with caulk or weather stripping to reduce air leaks and help maintain the desired temperature in your home year-round.
  • Install insulation throughout the attic to prevent heat from entering into your house and add roof vents to allow hot air to escape.

Home energy experts at Reliant are offering free virtual in-home energy consultations to customers across the state.

These consultations can help Texans lower their monthly energy bills by identifying areas of their homes that are contributing to high electricity use, like their air conditioners, windows, and more, a news release said.

For more information, visit https://www.reliant.com.