75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Bills Without Upgrading HVAC system

Improving Energy-Use Behaviors

Part 5 of 5

photo of new home

Image Source: ShutterStock

This is Part 5 Of Our 5-Part Article About 75+ Ways to Lower Cooling /Heating Costs Without Upgrading Your HVAC System.  

This Section Discusses Energy-UseBehaviors. 

This Article Doesn’t Suggest Lifestyle Sacrifices Like:

Home kept at uncomfortable temperatures.

Water Heater set so low that it runs out of hot water.

Living in a dark house.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Murphy, TX; and Wylie, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX with no additional travel charges.  Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

The Biggest Way To Lower Cooling & Heating Costs — Is With Improved Energy-Use Behaviors

 59% Of Home Energy Use Is Related to Energy-Use Behaviors **     41% Is Related Due To The Home itself.


In 10 Identical Homes — Energy-Use Behaviors Accounted For Up To +160% More Energy Use **   

  • The study evaluated energy use in 10 identical Habitat for Humanity, all-electric homes.
  • The highest home’s energy use was 2.6 times that of the lowest.
  • The findings demonstrate how much energy use behaviors affect energy consumption.

** Source:

Areas With The Largest Impact On Energy Bills

2015 Household Energy Consumption By Type: ***

  • 15%  Heating *4
  • 17%  Air Conditioning
  • 14%  Water Heating *4
  • 12% Cooking, washer, dishwasher, dehumidifier, pool pump, pool heater, hot tub
  • 10%  Lighting
  •   7% Refrigerator
  •   7% TV’s & Related Equipment
  •   5% Clothes Dryer  *4
  • 13% — All other uses

*** Source:

*4  This number is higher when powered by electricity.

Cooling & Heating — 1/3 Of Home Energy Use

And Even Higher If The Home Has Electric Heat. 

Since 2010 — Nearly 2/3 Of Texas Homes Have Electric Heat.  *

A Neglected HVAC System Increase Cooling Bills By Up To +65% (details below).

A Clogged Air Filter (Alone) Increases Cooling & Heating Costs By Up To +15%


  • The University of California at Berkeley, CA –Haas School of Business


  • Energy-Use Behavior: Check Furnace Air Filter Each Month — And Replace As Needed.   

TIP: To make checking the filter month easier to remember — Do it on the 1st day of each month.

dirty and clean furnace air filter

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

If An Air Filter Looks Dirty, It Is — And It Needs To Be Replaced

A Dirty Furnace Air Filter reduces air flow through the furnace:

  • You can lower cooling & heating costs by up to -15% with furnace filter maintenance.

A Dirty Air Filter Can Damage The Furnace

A dirty air filter restricts airflow.  Restricted airflow causes a furnace to run too hot — which shortens its life.

A Gas Furnaces Heat-Exchanger:

  • The heat-exchanger keeps two air flows separate.
  • Heat & carbon-monoxide from the burners flows inside the exchanger.
  • The home’s indoor-air passes along the outside of the exchanger.
  • Each time the furnace cycles, the heat-exchanger heats up & cools off.
  • Over time, the expansion & contraction often causes cracks to form in the exchanger.  It’s like bending a paper clip back and forth until it breaks from metal fatigue.
  • Once the heat-exchanger cracks — it’s possible for carbon-monoxide to enter the home’s indoor air.
  • When the heat-exchanger fails, the furnace is typically replaced — because the cost to replace the heat-exchanger can’t be justified if the furnace is more than a few years old.
  • A dirty air filter causes a gas furnace to run hotter than it’s designed to.
  • Running hotter causes the exchanger to expand & contract more than it’s designed to.
  • This adds additional stress to the exchanger.  Any additional stress causes the exchanger to fail sooner.

photo of heat exchanger in gas furnace

Image Source: Dreamstime

SHOWN: A New (gas) Furnace Heat Exchanger

Click Here To See A Failed (cracked) Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger: Cracked Furnace Heat Exchanger


central air conditioner outside unit

Image Source: DreamsTime

A Dirty Air Filter Can Damage The Central A/C Indoor & Outdoor Coils

In addition to increasing cooling & heating costs — a dirty air filter restricts airflow.  Restricted airflow can cause A/C to freeze — which can damage it.

Top 4 Reasons Central A/C Freezes:

  • Insufficient airflow — the #1 cause is a dirty air filter.
  • Low refrigerant.
  • Outdoor temp below 62.
  • A mechanical failure — typically because the fan in the furnace or outside unit isn’t running.

Possible Damage To The A/C Indoor Cooling Coil Due To Dirty Air Filter:

  • As ice forms on the coil (shown below).  Ice expands as it forms.  This expansion can rupture a refrigerant-line in the indoor coil.  Then the coil must be replaced.

Possible Damage To The Outdoor A/C Unit Due To Dirty Air Filter:

  • The indoor coil expands the refrigerant — converting it into a gas.
  • If the indoor coil is frozen — it can’t convert all the refrigerant into a gas.
  • The outdoor unit condenses the refrigerant — converting it into a liquid.
  • If liquid refrigerant enters the outdoor unit (because the indoor coil is frozen) — the refrigerant mixes with the outdoor unit’s Oil. **
  • Then the outdoor unit “boils” the refrigerant.  As the refrigerant evaporates — it takes some oil with it.
  • Left long enough — the oil level drops and the outdoor unit can’t get enough lubrication.
  • Then, much like a car’s engine, if the outdoor unit runs too low on oil — its compressor will seize.  The compressor is destroyed and must be replaced.
  • In most cases, the outdoor unit will be replaced — because the cost to replace the compressor can’t be justified if the outdoor unit is more than a few years old.

** Source:

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video
SHOWN: Frozen Central A/C Cooling Coil

Click Here To See A Frozen Central A/C Outdoor Unit: Frozen Central A/C Outdoor Unit


What Happens If A Furnace Filter Clogs

dirty and clean furnace air filter



Air-Filter MERV Ratings — And Their Effect On Air-Flow Through The Furnace

  • MERV Is An Air Filter’s Efficiency-Rating.
  • MERV stands for: “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”.
  • MERV Ranges From 1 — 20.
  • Filters Rated AT MERV-9 & Higher Are Mostly Used In Commercial Settings (versus residential).

Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser For Details About Each MERV-Rating’s: 

A. Typical Uses


B. What’s Filtered Out


  • A MERV-1 air filter is made of spun fiberglass.   It protects the HVAC System — but does little to clean indoor air.

Shown: MERV-1 Spun-Fiberglass Air Filter

Image Source: Amazon Associates Embedded-Link

COMMON PARTICLES SIZES: Smoke (.01 — 1 microns) // Bacteria (.35 — 1) // Dust Mites & their waste (.5 — 50) // Pet Dender (2.5) // Mold Spores (20 — 200) // Pollen (30)

  • A MERV-8 air filter removes 70% of particles passing through it — down to 3 microns.
  • MERV-8 is recommended by the; U.S. Department Of Energy (DOE) & The Energy Star Indoor Air Package.
  • MERV-Rating can partially be determined by what’s in your home.
  • EXAMPLE: A home with smokers and/or pets may benefit from a MERV-Rated filter higher than 8.
  • As it gets dirty, a higher MERV-rated filter lowers the air-flow through the furnace — more than a lower MERV-rated filter.
  • Less air-flow causes the HVAC System to run longer & harder.
  • This increases cooling & heating costs.
  • It also wears the HVAC System out sooner.
  • When Air Filters are new — there’s a minimal reduction in air-flow from a higher MERV-rated filter.
  • The higher the MERV rating — the faster the filter clogs.
  • The air-flow reduction through all air filters more than triples when it’s nearly clogged.


  • If you use a MERV-9 (or higher) air filter — check it weekly.  It’s not likely it will last an entire month.
  • If you’re tempted to skip checking the air filter weekly — use a MERV-8 filter.  In most cases, a MERV-8 filter will last 1 month.



  • Energy-Use Behavior: Have The Central A/C’s Indoor Cooling-Coil Checked — And Cleaned As Needed. 

Checking This Coil Is Typically Part Of A Spring A/C Tune-Up — (cleaning may be an extra charge).

Note: The indoor cooling-coil (evaporator coil) is inside the furnace or ductwork — and can’t be seen without removing a panel.  All air passes through this coil year-round.

When the A/C runs — this coil removes heat & humidity from the air.  Because the coil is wet whenever the A/C is running — the coil catches dust quickly and easily.  Even the best furnace air filters allow some dust through.  If they were 100% efficient — the HVAC System couldn’t function due to lack of air-flow.

TIPIf You Bought A Used Home:

  • Have the Central A/C & Furnace Tuned Up at the beginning of the 1st cooling & heating season.
  • Have the ductwork cleaned & sealed.  Many Ductwork Companies can do both at one time.
  • Then you’ll know the HVAC System’s maintenance is up to date.
  • Many photos in this article show what badly neglected HVAC Systems or Ductwork look like.

Shown In this Photo — The A/C Cooling Coil (evaporator coil) Is On The Right Side Of This Furnace’s Opening.  

Image Source: ShutterStock

Click Here To See A NEW Central A/C Cooling Coil: NEW Central A/C Indoor Cooling Coil

Click Here To See A CLOGGED Central A/C Cooling Coil: CLOGGED A/C Indoor Cooling Coil

Click Here To See A Central A/C Cooling Coil Covered In BLACK MOLD Cooling Coil: MOLDED A/C Indoor Cooling Coil


A Dirty Air Filter May Cause Damage To The Central A/C Cooling Coil

Click Here To See An:  Indoor Cooling Coil That Is Completely Frozen — Due To Lack Of Air Flow Through It



  • Energy-Use Behavior: Check A Central A/C Outdoor Unit (condenser coil) — Clean As Needed.

central air conditioner outside unit

Shown: Outdoor A/C Unit

Image Source: DreamsTime


Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser To See Before/After Photos Of Cleaning A Very Dirty Outdoor A/C Unit (scroll down a little):


A Clean Outdoor A/C Unit Reduces Cooling Costs By Up To 35%.

Example: A typical 5-ton air conditioning system — runs 1,500 hrs during a cooling season.

  • It costs $825 to operate this system with a clean outdoor unit.
  • With a dirty outdoor unit — operating cost increases by up to +35% / $1,115. **

NOTE: Savings from a clean HVAC System is more than reduced cooling costs.  It also makes the HVAC System last longer.    Dirty HVAC System components cause the System to run longer and harder.

  • If a dirty outside unit decreases cooling ability by 37% —  the system must run +37% longer to deliver the same amount of cooling.
  • It stands to reason the system will wear out 37% sooner.

** Source:

Let’s Do The Math.  If A Central A/C System Has:

  • +15%:  Clogged air filter
  • +16%:  Dirty indoor coiling coil
  • +35%: Dirty outside unit coil
  • These 3 components increase cooling costs up to +65%.
  • This also means the A/C System must run +65% longer — and it’s wearing out 65% faster.


  • Energy-Use Behavior: Ensure That Your HVAC System Is Properly Maintained.    

This Includes An Annual:

  • Spring Central A/C Tune-Up
  • Fall Furnace Tune-Up
  • This maximizes performance & efficiency
  • Tune-Ups often identify components about to fail.  They can be replaced during the check-up — and avoid a breakdown — when you need the A/C or Furnace the most.

Water Heating Represents Up To 14% Of Household Energy Use (more if electric)

residential gas water heater

Image Source: ShutterStock

How To Reduce Water Heating Costs

Residential Water Heating Is 14% Of Total Household Energy Costs.

Electric Water Heating Cost Is About 65% Higher Than Gas.


  • Energy-Use Behavior: Reduce Water Heater Thermostat to 120 ºF.

Water heaters are set to 120ºF  at the factory when new.  For each additional +10ºF (over 120ºF) — water heating costs increase by 3% (gas) or 5% (electric).

  • Add a Water Heater Blanket to reduce water heating costs by 7%–16%.   NOTE: Higher savings will occur if the water heater is located in the garage or attic.
  • NOTE: For electric water heaters — don’t cover locations where you set the thermostats (or mark where they are located).
  • NOTE: For natural gas units — don’t cover the water heater’s top, or the vents at the bottom (they provide air for the burner) — see photo above.




  • Energy-Use Behavior: Flush Water Heater Annually.

Municipal Water-Quality Tests allow a certain amount of Lime (and possibly other contaminants) to exist in drinking water.

A Popping Sound When A Water Heater Is Heating — indicates of lime build-up on the bottom of the tank.

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

SHOWN: Click On White Arrow At Center Of Image To Hear A Water Heater Popping


A GAS water heater has a burner under the water tank.  As sediment builds up — the water heater must run longer to provide the same amount of hot water.   Over time, lime sediment will harden to the point that it can’t be all removed.   This shortens the water heater’s lifespan because it must heat longer than its water tank is designed for.

TIP:  If your gas water heater is more than 5 years old — it’s best not to start flushing it.  It’s possible that sediment build-up may be keeping the tank from leaking.

Click Here To See A Gas Water Heater’s Tank 1/3 Full Of Sediment: Extreme Sediment Build Up In A Gas Water Heater


An ELECTRIC water heater has 2 electric heating elements inside the tank (1 high & 1 low).  As sediment builds up — the lower element can become covered, and will likely burn out.   Over time, lime sediment will harden to the point that it can’t be all removed with a flush.

TIP: If your electric water heater has started running out of hot water — it may have a burned-out heating element (typically the low one).   It could also mean there’s lime build-up on the heating elements.  In either case, the heating elements must be replaced.

Click Below To See An Electric Water Heater’s Tank With Sediment Build Up & Touching The Lower Heating Element:

Extreme Sediment Build Up In Electric Water Heater


  • Energy-Use Behavior: Use Cold Water For Laundry When Possible

  • Use cold water for laundry when possible.  Set rinse temperature to cold —  most newer washers only allow cold rinse.
  • Fix dripping faucets.  A leak of 1 drip per second increases gas water heating costs by $1 per month — per faucet.


  • Going on vacation?  Give your water heater a vacation too.
  • Set a gas water heater to: “Pilot”.
  • Turn an electric water heater off at the circuit-breaker panel.



Lighting RepresentS Up To 10% Of Total Energy Use

photo of led light bulb

Image Source:

  • Energy-Use Behavior: Switch To LED Bulbs.

  • A 100 watt incandescent light bulb generates 341 BTU’s of heat per hour.   90% of the electricity an incandescent bulb uses generates heat.
  • Eight 100-watt incandescent light bulbs generate as much heat as an electric heater set to low.
  • During summer your costs are doubled — because your A/C must remove the heat light incandescent light bulbs add.
  • A 100 watt-equivalent Compact Fluorescent Bulb (CFL) creates 102 BTU per hour.  35% of its electricity use generates heat.
  • A 100 watt-equivalent LED Bulp creates 3.4 BTU per hour.  10% of its electricity it use generates heat.
  • Replacing incandescent or halogen bulbs with LED bulbs — reduces lighting energy use by up to 90%.
  • This reduces total electricity use for lighting — from 10% to as low as 1%.
  • You’ll also lower cooling costs.


  • An LED bulb described as: “soft white” produces a slightly yellow light.   These bulbs with be marked with: “2,700 to 3,000K”
  • An LED bulb described as: “natural white” produces a light that’s neither blue nor yellow.   These bulbs will be marked with: “4,000.
  • An LED bulb described as: “cool or daylight white” produces a slightly blue light.   Bulbs will be marked with: “5,000 K”.


Click Here To See A Comparison Photo Of LED Lighting Colors: Lighting Color-Range For LED Bulbs


Refrigeration Uses Up To 7% Of Total Household Energy Use

photo of refrigerator

Image Source:

photo of refrigerator

Image Source:

SHOWN: To Clean The Coil — Remove The Grill Located Just Under The Doors

  • Energy-Use Behavior:  Keep The Refrigerator’s Coil Clean.

Refrigerators have a coil to get rid of the heat it creates.  Typically, this coil is under the refrigerator and there’s a fan that pulls in air to help cool the coil.  The coil’s location (at the floor) allows it to get dirty quickly & easily.  This is especially true if you have shedding pets — as many love to sit where the refrigerator’s warm air comes out.   Over time, dust (and pet hair) build up on the coil (see an example just below).

  • A clean coil lowers refrigeration costs by up to -30%.
  • Do this annually — if you don’t have shedding pets.   
  • With shedding pets — do this every six months.

Click Here To See: A Very Dirty Refrigerator Coil — Before & After Cleaning. 

TIP: These refrigerators have a removable plastic grill under the refrigerator door(s).  The coil is behind the grill and is accessible from the front — no need to pull the refrigerator out.

  • A vacuum cleaner crevice tool removes most dust.

Click To See A Refrigerator Coil Being Cleaned With A Vacuum Cleaner Crevice Tool: Cleaning Coil With Crevice Tool

  • If you can’t get to the entire coil with a crevice tool — purchase a brush for cleaning refrigerator coils.

Click Here To See A Refrigerator Coil Being Cleaned With A Coil-Brush:  Refrigerator Coil Cleaning Brush



  • Energy-Use Behavior: A Full Refrigerator Runs Less. 

  • It’s easier for a refrigerator to keep liquids & solids cool than just air.  If the refrigerator isn’t full — it takes 10 seconds to empty all the cool air whenever the door is open.   
  • Add full water bottles or jugs to fill empty spaces.


  • Energy-Use Behavior: Refrigerators Are An Expensive Source Of Light.

  • Are you one of the folks who open the refrigerator take something out, use it and return it without ever closing the refrigerator door?  It takes 10 seconds to empty all the cool air whenever the door is open.


  • Energy-Use Behavior:   Hot & Cold Don’t Mix.

  • When saving left-overs — leave them out until they are near room-temperature.  Putting hot food the refrigerator makes it run more.

TIP: Need Extra Refrigerator Or Freezer Space?   Buy a compact freezer or refrigerator for under $200.  If there’s room, keep it inside the home (versus a hot garage).   If it must be in the garage — it will use a fraction of the energy of a 15+ years old refrigerator or freezer.

Note: Most new compact freezers have their coil inside the side-wall.  There’s no cleaning required.

Shown: 4.4 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer

These can be Purchased From

 Shown: 3.2 Cubic Foot Refrigerator

These Can Be Purchased From

  • Energy-Use Behavior: Replace A Refrigerator That’s 15+ Years Old.

  • Refrigerators 15+ years old use up to twice as much energy as a new refrigerator.
  • Get A Free Refrigerator.  Over the life of the new refrigerator — it will likely pay for itself in energy savings.
  • The more electricity a refrigerator uses — the more heat it produces.
  • Then you pay for the A/C to remove that heat.


NOTE:  Keeping & running the old refrigerator in a hot garage increases its energy use dramatically during summer.


Entertainment Equipment Represents Up To 7% Of Total Household Energy Use

Up to 90% of the electricity used by home electronics is consumed by entertainment systems & home office.  Many electronics operate in up to 4 modes. **

Entertainment Equipment Has Up To 4 Modes:

  • Off: Item off:  No function performed — no power used.
  • Passive-Standby (1–10 watts): Can be turned on with a remote control — and drawing some power.   Example: TV, DVD player, anything with a clock.
  • Active-Standby (1–50 watts): Ready for use.  Not performing its primary function — and drawing a notable amount of power.  Example: Cable TV Box, Computer.
  • On/In Use (60% of total power use): Performing its primary function — and drawing full power.

** Source:


Vampire Energy Use Defined: Anything Using Electricity When Not In Use.

TIP:  If It Feels Warm When It’s Turned Off — It’s Using (and wasting) Electricity.

photo of television

Image Source: ShutterStock

  • Energy-Use Behavior: When Not Using Electronics — Turn Them Off.

  • Cable-TV Boxes:
  • These boxes function much like a computer that communicates with remote content sources.  So they are ready to perform when turned off.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says: “Some cable boxes use as much electricity as a newer refrigerator.”
  • Using that much electricity also generates heat the A/C must remove.      
  • If you’re not using it,  lower electricity and cooling costs by disconnecting cable boxes from power when not in use.

TIP: Typical Smart Plugs operate by voice-command or cell phone.  If you have several home electronics in one location — connect all to a power-strip and then to a smart-plug.  When turned off, the electronics can’t waste electricity.


  • Researchers determined that, while on standby — televisions use 2.25% — 5% of power use when on.  **   A 50” LED TV uses 72 watts.  Standby uses 5% = 3.5 watts.
  • Amazon Alexa Dot uses 3 watts.   Smart-plugs use 1-3 watts.  One Alexa device can operate all smart-plugs in the house.

** Source:

Energy Hogs:

  • Older Cable TV boxes.
  • Older Large-Screen TV’s
  • Plasma TVs size use 3.5 times more power than an LCD version.
  • ENERGY STAR’s list of LED TVs includes models with screen sizes from 16-65 inches and using 18-198 watts.

5% Of Total Household Energy Used Drying Clothes — and electric dryer operating costs are higher than gas.

clothes washer and dryer

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

TIP: A clothes dryer creates heat and exhausts enormous amounts of air from inside the house.  You’ve paid to cool/heat the air the dryer’s exhausting.

  • Electric clothes dryers consume 4,000 — 6,000 watts.
  • Energy-Use Behavior: Clean the dryer lint-trap before you use the dryer. 

A dirty lint screen reduces airflow and increases drying time.  Plus, built-up lint is a fire hazard.

  • Energy-Use Behavior: Don’t dry… dry clothes.

Set the dryer so it does not continue running once clothes are dry.

  • Energy-Use Behavior: Open the window nearest the dryer.

That way, the dryer draws outdoor air — instead of (cooled or heated) indoor air.

  • Clothes dryers exhaust 100 — 225 Cubic Feet Per Minute.
  • A 2,000 square foot home with 8-foot ceilings — contains 16,000 cubic feet of air.
  • A clothes dryer takes as little as 71 minutes to exhaust all the air.   Replacement air comes into the home through every air leak.
  • Then the HVAC System must cool or heat an additional 16,000 cubic feet of air.
  • In an airtight home, a dryer may cause a “backdraft” at a gas water heater.
  • If a gas water heater is running — a dryer’s backdraft may pull carbon monoxide into the home (if the water heater is located in the living space).

Pool Pump & Pool Heater

swimming pool

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay 

  • Energy Use Behavior: Run Pool Pump 8 hours each day. *5

  • If running 24/7 — a pool pump uses 2,500 kWh.
  • At 12-cents per kWh = $300.00 per year.
  • In DFW, the cost to run a Pool Pump 24/7 = $300.00 per year.
  • Lower your cost to $100.00 per year (2/3 less) — by running the pump 8 hours per day.
  • Energy Use Behavior:  If Pool’s Seldom Used — heat it only when you plan to use it.

  • 8.35 BTUs raises 1 gallon of water +1°F.
  • For a 10,000 gallon pool — 83,500 BTU’s are needed to raise the pools’ temp +1 degree.*4
  • NOTE: Heat Pumps extract heat from the outdoor air.   The amount of heat a Heat Pump can generate varies by the outdoor temp.
  • During DFW’s summer heat — a Heat Pump will typically operate at 100% of its heating ability.
  • A 100,000 BTU Heat Pump pool heater uses 5,000 watts (5 kWh) of electricity each hour.   Hourly cost = $.12 cents X 5 kWh = $.60 cents for 100,000 BTUs
  • In DFW, a Heat Pump Pool Heater’s Cost — to raise a 10,000 gallon pool +1 degree (83,500 BTU’s) = $.50 cents  ($.60 X 83.5)
  • 1 Therm of natural gas generates = 100,000 BTU’s.
  • When this was written — Natural Gas Cost = $1.38 per therm (nationally).
  • Pool heaters operate at 80-95 percent efficiency 5-20% of the heat is vented out with the exhaust.
  • Natural gas pool heater — average efficiency = 87%  (80+95) / 2
  • 1 therm of natural gas will produce 87,000 BTU’s — adjusted for 87% pool pump efficiency.
  • In DFW, a Natural Gas Pool Heater’s Cost — to raise a 10,000 gallon pool +1 degree (83,500 BTU’s) = $1.30  ($1.38 / therm — adjusted for gas pool pump efficiency)

** Source:

Should You Install  A Pool Cover In DFW?

  • If it will help keep the pool clean: Yes
  • If you want to see the pool open each day:  Only with an automatic pool cover.
  • Otherwise, you have to roll the cover up each morning & recover the pool each evening.
  • Will a solar pool cover reduce algae?  No.  That must be done with pool chemicals.
  • A solar cover provides a warmer pool.  More warmth can increase algae growth w/o the correct pool chemicals to stop algae..
  • If you use the pool year-round: Yes – during winter.
  • If you use the pool only during summer: Little to no benefit.
  • Installing a cover over the pool reduces heat loss – especially at night.
  • Average DFW July low = 77 degrees.
  • Average pool temp = 87 degrees.
  • Average DFW July high = 97 degrees
  • Solar pool covers can help heat the pool during the day.  +4-8 degrees. *3
  • A 6-year warranty solar pool cover costs up to $250. *3
  • A 6-year warranty solar-cover lasts 1 season.
  • An 8-year lasts two seasons.
  • A 10-year cover lasts 3 seasons. *3
  • Pool cover reels are available in both manual or automatic.
  • Prices for manual reels are $200-500 *3.
  • Prices start at around $1,200.00 for automatic.  They last 4-8 years. *3

** Source:

*3 Source:

*4 Source:

*5 Source:



  • Energy-Use Behavior: Clean or replace the shiny liners under your burners.

  • Clean liners ones reflect more heat toward the cookware.
  • Energy-Use Behavior: Reduce baking during summer, especially during the heat of the day.

  • In addition to the electricity the oven uses, you must also pay for your a/c to remove the oven’s heat.  If a counter-top / toaster-oven will work, use it instead.
  • NOTE: Electric ovens generate less heat inside the home.  This is because a gas oven requires combustion-air.  It must exhaust some heated air in order to draw in fresh air.   Typically the air-vents are inside or visible at the bottom of the range’s backsplash.
  • Energy-Use Behavior: Run your dishwasher only when it’s full.

  • If there are 1 or 2 items you need, wash them by hand versus running the dishwasher.
  • Energy-Use Behavior: Turn your dishwasher’s heated-dry setting to off. 

  • Open the door when the the dishwater reaches the dry-cycle.
  • The dishes will be very hot and will quickly dry on their own.
  • During hot-heating cycles, your dishwasher can produce as much heat as an electric heater.


Your Energy-Use Behaviors May Make The Difference Between An Inconvenience

And Another Catastrophic Texas Power Outage. 

Click Here To Read Our Detailed Article About Texas’ 2021 Power Crisis: Texas’ Electricity Crisis 2015



This was Part 5 Of 5-Part Article Offering 75+ Ways to Lower Cooling (& Heating) Costs Without Upgrading Your HVAC System.  This section is about Energy-Use Behavior.   Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Murphy, TX; and Wylie, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.