Winter Savings for Your Home
No-Cost Energy Saving Tips
Without spending a penny, there's plenty you can do to put money in your pocket:
- When using your furnace, set your heating thermostat at 68 degrees or lower during the day, health permitting. Set your thermostat at 55 degrees for the night, or when you will be away for more than four hours.
- In winter, open drapes on sunny days to help warm the rooms.
- Do only full loads when using the clothes washer and dryer.
- Clean the dryer lint trap after each use, and check the dryer vent for clogging. When possible, dry your clothes on a line.
- Close the damper when not using the fireplace and turn your heater(s) down when using your fireplace.
- Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees or "low" (140 degrees or "medium" if you have a dishwasher without its own heating element).
- Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.
- Use the energy saver, air-dry cycle, or, if allowed, open the door and let dishes dry naturally.
- Use the self-cleaning oven feature only when necessary. Start the self-cleaning cycle immediately after the oven is used to take advantage of pre-existing heat.
Low-Cost Home Improvement Tips
A few dollars spent wisely will pay big dividends:
- Inspect, clean or change the system's air filters once a month to keep costs down.
- Install energy-saving showerheads and faucet aerators in your home.
- Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat to prevent unnecessary heating or cooling. Consult the manufacturer's manual for proper operating instructions.
- Add weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts. Use caulking to seal around ducts, bypasses in plumbing openings, and any other openings in walls, floors and ceilings to reduce air leaks.
Cash In on Energy-Saving Investments and Rebates
Get the most out of your money by investing wisely in energy-efficient products and services:
Buy ENERGY STAR® labeled home appliances. ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-50% less energy and water than standard models. Visit www.energystar.gov for recommended model names.
- Clothes Washer: Purchase a new ENERGY STAR® qualified energy-efficient clothes washer if your model was manufactured before 1994. It will use about 40% of the energy of your older clothes washer. Save up to $75 with a PG&E rebate when you buy and install a qualifying high efficiency clothes washer.
- Furnace: Replace your old central natural gas furnace with a 90-94 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rated unit. A new high efficiency natural gas furnace can run up to 20% more efficiently than a furnace that is over 15 years old.
- Water Heater: Replace water heaters if they were manufactured before 1994. Buy a gas water heater with Energy Factor (EF) of .62 or higher. Buy an electric water heater with Energy Factor of .93 or higher. New energy-efficient water heaters take less energy and time to heat water. Save up to $30 with a PG&E rebate when you buy any qualifying energy-efficient storage water heater.
- Have your heating/cooling duct system checked for leaks. Your contractor can:
- Identify any leaks with diagnostic equipment
- Seal your ducts with mastic, metal-backed tape or aerosol sealant
- Test airflow after ducts are sealed, repaired or replaced
- Conduct a combustion appliance safety test after ducts are sealed to be sure that all gas appliances are working properly
- Insulation: This is one of the best ways to control your heating and cooling costs. Appropriate insulation can reduce your heating costs up to 30%. Talk to a contractor about insulating your attic, exterior walls, floors and crawl spaces. Attics should be insulated to R-30; walls and floors to R13 standards; duct work and connectors should be insulated to R-6. Rebates available on attic and wall insulation.
- Windows: Replacing existing single-pane windows with new energy-efficient high performance windows increases comfort while reducing heating and cooling costs.
- Cool Roofs: If you need to replace your roof, consider a "Cool Roof." Cool roofs keep your home's roof 50 to 60 degrees cooler during the summer months, significantly reducing your air conditioning bill. See cool roof rebates.