The words "Texas Heat Wave and the Power Grid" in front of a road.

Entering an air-conditioned building on a hot summer day is an experience many relish. However, we don’t often think of what happens behind the scenes to enable our air conditioners to cool us. The summer of 2023 saw Texas face extreme heat that significantly strained the state’s power grid, putting Texans’ access to electricity at risk. Here, Cote’s Mechanical will look at the effects of the heatwave on the power grid and the importance of professional air conditioner maintenance. 

Texas’ Power Grid

Texas is unique because it is the only state in the continental United States with its own power grid. The Texas power grid is known as the Texas Interconnect and is managed by ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), providing 90% of the state’s power. The grid also covers roughly 75% of Texas, and the main power grid consists of over 52,700 transmission lines. 

The grid is powered by multiple energy sources, including:

  • Natural gas
  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Nuclear
  • Hydropower

What Is ERCOT?

ERCOT is a nonprofit public corporation tasked with managing Texas’ power grid and is overseen by the Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission of Texas. ERCOT’s operational headquarters is located in the city of Taylor, Texas, and it serves over 26 million customers.

ERCOT offers a notification system informing residents about power grid conditions.

The Texas Blackouts of February 2021

A transmission tower in front of the sun.

The Texas heat wave of 2023 was not the first time the Texas power grid had problems. Another time was in the winter of 2021. A winter vortex resulted in Texans dealing with sleet, freezing rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. The Texas Tribune noted that “…all sources of electricity struggled during the frigid temperatures. The inability of power plants to perform in the extreme cold was the No. 1 cause of the outages…” 

The effect on Texans was devastating. The University of Texas at Austin states that as a result of the power grid failure, over 4.5 million homes lost power, at least 57 people died, and more than $195 billion worth of property damage occurred.

The Texas Heat Wave of 2023

Texans are no strangers to hot weather, but 2023 proved exceptionally hot, even by Texas standards. According to an article from the Texas Tribune, “79 of the state’s 254 counties had their hottest summer on record…” Sadly, the article also mentions that multiple deaths occurred due to the extreme heat. 

The 2023 Texas Heat Wave’s Effects on the Power Grid

The 2023 Texas summer heat wave meant Texans used more power for their air conditioners, placing a greater-than-normal strain on the power grid, prompting fears of blackouts. Blackouts are always a problem, but these issues become even more significant when temperatures soar. Without the power, air conditioners aren’t able to run, putting people at risk. Several times, ERCOT asked Texans to reduce their power usage.

The Importance of Air Conditioner Maintenance

A Technician tests a floor vent in a home

Having a properly maintained air conditioner is important for several reasons. In the following sections, Cote’s Mechanical will discuss some benefits. 

Air Conditioner Maintenance Helps Prevent Unexpected Problems

You don’t want to deal with a malfunctioning air conditioning unit when temperatures rise. That is why regular air conditioner maintenance and cleaning is vital to helping prevent AC breakdowns in extreme heat. Along with regular maintenance, it’s also essential to proactively address air conditioner problems before they escalate. 

Regular air conditioning maintenance in Texas has benefits beyond optimizing your unit’s reliability. A well-maintained air conditioner works more efficiently, saving you money and benefitting the environment.

Please note that air conditioning maintenance must be done by a qualified professional.

How Air Conditioning Maintenance in Texas Can Save Energy

Without proper maintenance, an air conditioner may perform less efficiently. For example, it takes more energy to pull air through a dirty air conditioner filter than a clean one. You can help save energy by ensuring your air conditioner is maintained correctly.  

While one household may not have much impact, many people joining together to save energy through proper air conditioning maintenance can make a significant environmental impact. 

It is important that a reputable professional perform your air conditioner maintenance. 

HVAC Services in Sanger, Texas

Vans parked at Cote's Mechanical office in Sanger, Tx.

When temperatures soar, you need air conditioning that works. Cote’s Mechanical proudly serves Denton County, Texas, and the surrounding area. Whether it’s maintenance, cleaning, or repairs, our skilled technicians can help keep your air conditioner working correctly. We even offer 24-hour emergency repairs. Our customers have given us many 5-star reviews, which serve as a testament to the quality of our work.

Contact us now for a free estimate.

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