- Tips for summer energy savings
- How to prepare for Flex Alert days
Should I leave my AC at a set temperature while I'm out, so it doesn't have to work hard when I return?
No. If you will be out for more than 4 hours, turn off your AC unit to save money. If you have a smart thermostat, you can schedule your AC to come on 30 minutes before you return to pre-cool your home. Portable fans and swamp coolers are lower-cost options that can be used to cool your home.
Why does my bill remain high if my thermostat is set to the recommended 78 degrees?
Although 78 degrees is the recommended setting (health permitting) to manage energy use and maintain a comfortable home, outside temperatures can influence how much your AC unit will have to work. For example, if you live in an area where temperatures are over 100 degrees in the summer, your AC may need to work hard throughout the day to maintain the 78 degrees on the inside.
How can I reduce my energy use if I have a swimming pool?
We recommend you use our Rate Plan Comparison Tool to check if you are on the best rate plan for your energy use. If you are on a Time-of-Use rate plan, make sure your pool pump is programmed to run outside of peak hours when demand and costs may be lower. Also, check your pool pump and the chemicals and additives you use to see if there is a combination that can help reduce the time and frequency of your pool pump running. Explore the Energy Action Guide for the most energy-efficient pool pumps if you are looking to update or replace them.
How do I maximize the efficiency of my solar panels?
To get the most out of your panels, make sure you perform annual cleaning and maintenance. You can also use the Solar Summary tool to track your usage, gain insights into how weather impacts your system or plan for your next True-Up. Take the free Home Energy Checkup to see where you are using the most energy and get personalized recommendations that can help you manage your use.
Can I be notified of a potential high bill before it gets too high?
Yes! Bill Forecast Alert will notify you by email or text if your bill is projected to be higher than a specified amount set by you so that you can take energy-saving actions before your next statement arrives. Learn more about bill forecast alerts.
Pre-cool your home or workspace
Lower your thermostat in the morning. As the temperature rises outside, raise your thermostat and circulate the pre-cooled air with a fan.
Use major appliances, including:
- Washer and dryer
- Oven and stove for pre-cooking and preparing meals
Close your shades
Sunlight passing through windows heats your home and makes your air conditioner work harder. Block this heat by keeping blinds or drapes closed on the sunny side of your home.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting
Every degree you lower the thermostat means your air conditioner must work even harder to keep your home cool.
- When it's cooler outside, bring the cool air in
If the outside air is cool in the night or early morning, open windows and doors and use fans to cool your home.
- Avoid using major appliances
- Turn off all unnecessary lights
How to stay cool and save energy this summer
Energy efficiency DIY toolkit
This DIY toolkit will cost about $200 but can help you save $955 or more on your annual energy bill. Build your kit with these items, found in local stores:
Smart thermostat: Install to save an average of 8% on annual heating and cooling costs.
Vegetation pruners: Clear vegetation and debris from around your AC unit for proper air flow.
Air filter: Replace dirty air filters on your AC to improve air circulation.
Fan: Use fans to keep air circulating, allowing you to raise your thermostat set point.
Weatherstripping, window caulk and outlet gaskets: Apply weatherstripping to doors, caulk around windows and add gaskets to your outlets to minimize air leaks and lower heating and cooling costs.
Thermal detector: Use to check temperatures around doors, windows and vents to identify air leaks.
LED bulbs: Use LED bulbs—they emit less heat and use less energy.
Power strip: Plug electronics into a power strip to turn off multiple devices with a flip of a switch.
Duster: Remove dust from refrigerator condenser coils so your fridge runs more efficiently.
Low-flow showerhead: Reduce the time your hot-water heater works to supply hot water.
No-cost, low-cost and investment ideas
Discover ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home during warm weather.
Energy-saving ideas in your home when the weather is warm
Avoid using your oven on hot days
Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave oven or grill outside.
Clear the area around where your air conditioner vents to the outside to ensure the best possible ventilation
Make sure the outside part of your air conditioner can easily ventilate by clearing any debris or other items from the area.
Keep AC thermostats set at 78 F degrees or higher when home when you're home, health permitting
Every degree above 78 F represents an approximately 2% savings on cooling costs. Even with the thermostat set at 78 F degrees, the AC unit has the potential to run 50% of the time depending on how well your home is insulated and weatherized.
If possible, enjoy an afternoon at the pool, park or local library
You can also go to a community cooling center. Learn about cooling centers.
Wait until cooler times of the day to do tasks that make your house warmer, like laundry and cooking.
Turn on your ceiling fan when using your air conditioner
By doing so, you can raise your thermostat about four degrees F to save on cooling costs with no reduction in comfort.
Ensure that the fresh air vent on your air conditioner is closed to avoid spending extra money on cooling outside air.
Turn off bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans about 10 minutes after their job is done
This helps to keep them from pushing cooled air out of your house.
Hang laundry outside
Take advantage of late sunsets and warm evenings to bypass your dryer and let your clothes air-dry.
Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t in use
Consider a summer tradition of candlelit dinners or dimly lit game nights. During the day, rely on natural light alone.
Cost-efficient tips to help lower your energy use during warm weather
Open your windows
Let cooler air flow into your home in the morning and at night. Cover your windows during the day to block the hot sun.
Use room fans to keep your home cool
Turn off the fans before leaving home.
Check the filter on your air conditioning system, and clean or replace it if it's dirty
A dirty filter slows airflow and causes your system to use more energy.
Caulk gaps and cracks around doorframes and windows
Caulking helps to prevent warm air from entering your home on hot summer days. Caulk is inexpensive and can be bought at most hardware stores, where you can also learn how to apply it.
Get your air conditioner
Regular inspections help ensure that your system is leak-free and operates efficiently.
Investing in these longer-term solutions can help you save even more energy and money:
- Install a door sweep on your garage door to seal the gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold. The door sweep prevents warm air from coming in and cool air from escaping your home.
- Place your room air conditioner in a cooler area (shaded or north-facing) and away from heat-producing items, like televisions and lamps. Direct sunlight and heat make your air conditioner work harder.
- Be sure that your air conditioner is the right size for the room. Units that are too small for a room won’t do the job. Units that are too big reduce energy efficiency and increase electric bills.
- Use outdoor awnings to protect your home from the hot sun year-round. You can also paint your house a light color to reflect heat.
- Consider using a pool cover and replacing pool pumps and motors with energy-efficient equipment. If your pool has a filter and automatic cleaning sweep, shorten the operating time.
Free tools to help you save energy and money this summer
Rate plan comparison tool
Get a personalized rate plan recommendation based on how your household uses energy. This easy-to-use tool also provides estimated yearly costs.
Home Energy Checkup
Identify sources of wasted energy in your household and get a personalized savings plan to lower monthly bills in only 5 minutes.
Get rewarded for conserving energy
Lower energy use and get rewarded for helping California conserve energy when electricity demand is high.
More ways to lower your energy bill
Financial assistance programs
Find out whether your household qualifies for a monthly discount on your energy bill and enroll.
Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) program
Explore no-cost home energy improvements for income-qualified homes that are at least five years old.
Residential customers who rely on power for certain medical needs, additional energy at the lowest price on their current rate.