What I’ve Learned From Reliant Energy

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Disclosure: I’m participating in the Reliant Challenge to save on my energy bill. Reliant Energy provided me with a Nest Learning Thermostat and tips to cut energy costs. All opinions are my own.

Recently, a Reliant Energy specialist came out to my house and conducted a home energy audit to give me personalized tips on how we could save money on our energy bill. I was asked to appear on Good Morning Texas to talk about my experience and share some of the tips, and I wanted to share some behind-the-scenes photos from that day!

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 Dress: Impeccable Pig; Tights: Nordstrom; Shoes: Michael Kors; Necklace: Dogeared; Earrings: Impeccable Pig

Thanks to my Instagram followers for helping me pick my outfit! I think it turned out great!

You can watch my full segment on Good Morning Texas here:

The segment went really well — I felt comfortable and confident and don’t think I messed up anything major. We mostly chatted about the Nest Learning Thermostat and how cool it is. I love that you can update it right from your phone!

Then we got to discuss the Home Energy Check Up, which was one of the coolest things that I’ve gotten to do as part of the Reliant Challenge. A specialist spent about 2 hours with me at my home, pointing out things that we could do to make our home more energy efficient. We even climbed up into the attic to take a peek at our duct system with an infrared camera to see if there were any leaks. Luckily, there weren’t! Whew!

A couple of things I learned that surprised me:

  1. It’s important to periodically clean your outside A/C unit. This can be as simple as hosing it off every now and again when watering the grass. That helps keep dust out of it to make it run more efficiently!
  2. Don’t close all the doors in your house! We only have one return vent in our home, so keeping the doors to all the bedrooms closed actually makes our A/C work harder because it’s having to pull air from those rooms from under the doors. Yikes!
  3. Replace your weather stripping! Our dogs have a bad habit of scratching at the door, which damages the sealing around the door. You don’t want cool (or warm) air leaking out! This is a fast, easy fix that anyone can do!

The Home Energy Check Up is a free service that Reliant Energy offers to its customers. I received a detailed list of recommendations from our auditor just a few hours after he left. It’s such a great resource, and I definitely recommend it!

With the cold winter months ahead, it’s also important to winterize your home so that you aren’t wasting energy. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Find any leaks by doors and windows, or in your ductwork, and make sure to fix them!
  2. Check your furnace.
  3. Close the flue on the chimney.
  4. Drain any hoses and A/C pipes.
  5. Make sure your hot water heater is set at 120 degrees (or lower).
  6. Remove your window screens and install storm windows.
  7. Leave blinds open during the day to heat your home and close them at night.

One of the things that has really hit home for me during the Reliant Challenge is the impact that small changes can make in the cost of your energy bill. We’ve been more diligent about turning off lights not in use and making sure the thermostat is set at an ideal temperature, whether we’re home or away, and it’s really made an impact on our energy bill.

In November 2012, our energy bill cost $83. Last month, our bill was $55 — almost $30 in savings!

This is my last month to participate in the challenge. We’ll definitely continue to make an effort to keep our energy costs low moving forward by continuing to implement the good habits we’ve learned throughout this experience. The Nerd is already impressed by how much we’ve saved, and I know we can do even more!

Click here to read more of my Reliant Challenge posts about saving energy.

What are some steps you take to winterize your home?

 

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