We live in Texas, where summer weather is legendary…and not always in a good way. There’s a reason “hot Texas town” has become a cliche. Real Texans in the “good old days” took pride in their “grin and bear it” philosophy. They shrugged off the heat.
Today’s Texans still pride ourselves on being tough but our ancestors would say we’ve gotten soft. We depend on air conditioning. We’re more comfortable, most of the time. We think we are more efficient. But we do pay a fortune in electric bills.
To get some relief from the hot summers, here are a few tips our ancestors knew about. They’re still good for today.
Surround your home with tall trees. – Trees provide natural shade. The temperature under a tree can be several degrees lower than an unshaded sot in your yard. Of course trees take many years to grow tall enough to shade your house, but you can start today. In the short term, you can find medium sized trees to shade the south-facing and west-facing windows. You can also cast shadows on your air conditioning unit.
Hang Out in Cool Places – Find placrs that are naturally cool, such as woods and swimming pools. Look for parks that have natural shade.
Can’t find a cool place? Borrow air conditioning from public places. Plan your shopping trips around afternoons, when the temperature climbs and it costs more to heat your home.
Stage more barbecues and cookouts – That’s how our ancestors cooked all the time. No wonder they survived the heat waves! And it’s no accident that Texas has become famous for our barbecues and our cookouts. They’re naturally energy-efficient. When you bake a pie, your oven brings heat into your home so your air conditioner works twice as hard. If you want to cook, schedule your cooking for dawn or late night hours, when your home is naturally cool.
But we 21st century Texans have yet another advantage in coping with the heat. If you’re living in Texas or moving to Texas, you can take advantage of a recent Texas government policy: deregulation of electricity suppliers. That means you get to choose your own electric company. Is that a big deal? Absolutely. Companies vary a great deal in terms of contracts as well as rates.