Learn how to create a more energy-efficient home

Get no-cost, low-cost and investment ideas for reducing your home energy use and lowering your monthly PG&E statements.

Find ways to save year-round

Warm weather tips

Warm weather tips

Warm weather can trigger increased energy use. This page also offers tips on how to help make your home more energy efficient and comfortable when the weather is warm.

Every Day Tips

Everyday tips

This page describes many ways to help you save energy and money, regardless of the weather.

Cold Weather Tips

Cold weather tips

When cold weather hits, energy use often increases. This page provides ideas to help you make your home more energy efficient when the weather is chilly.

Following are no-cost, low-cost and investment ideas for increasing the energy efficiency of your home during warm weather.

 

Get no-cost tips

Use these 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.
  • Save on cooling costs by setting your thermostat between 75 F and 78 F when you're home, health permitting. Set it to 85 F when you're away for more than a few hours.
  • If possible, enjoy an afternoon at the pool, park or local library. You can also go to a community cooling center. Learn about these centers. Visit 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 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.

 

Get low-cost tips

Use these 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 air flow and causes your system to use more energy.
  • Caulk gaps and cracks around doorframes and windows 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 inspected to ensure that your system is leak-free and operates efficiently.

 

Get investment ideas

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.

How To Keep Your House Cool in the Summer

Save money on cooling your home during the summer months.


Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 15 KB)

How To Keep Your House Cool in the Summer

1OF1

Save money on cooling your home during the summer months.


Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 15 KB)

Following are no-cost, low-cost and investment ideas to increase the energy efficiency of your home, any time of the year.

 

Get no-cost tips

Use these no-cost, energy-saving ideas in your home:

  • Learn personalized ways to save, based on how you use energy. Just answer a few simple questions about your home and energy use to get recommendations. Get a customized list of changes you can make to boost home energy efficiency today. Visit Take the FREE Home Energy Checkup.
  • Visit pge.com/myrateanalysis today to see all of your rate options and learn more about the rate plan that’s recommended for you based on your energy use in the last 12 months.
  • Sign up for Energy Alerts to help you stay on top of energy bills by allowing you to set a monthly bill alert amount of your choice and notifying you when your bill is projected to exceed your set alert amount.
  • Take shorter showers to reduce water-heating costs. Turn on a 5-minute playlist each time you shower, and then challenge yourself to finish before the music does. Encourage others in your home to take this approach.
  • Don't waste money on electronics or appliances that aren’t in use. Turn off and unplug unused televisions and DVD players, computers, phone chargers, coffee makers and other devices.
  • Give your refrigerator “breathing room.” Clean the coils and don’t set the temperature too low. Keep the refrigerator between 38 F and 42 F and the freezer between zero and five degrees F.
  • Defrost a manual-defrost refrigerator or freezer when ice builds up to more than one-quarter of an inch. Built-up ice decreases the energy efficiency of the unit.
  • Wash full loads of laundry using cold water. Modern detergents work great in cold water, and about 90 percent of the energy used by clothes washers goes to water heating.
  • Use your clothes dryer for consecutive loads. The built-up heat means less energy spent.
  • Make sure the lint trap in the clothes dryer is clean before you press start. Add a tennis ball or a clean, dry towel to improve air circulation and reduce drying time.
  • Run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Hot water requires energy to warm. Cold water solidifies grease, moving it more easily through the disposal and pipes.
  • Turn off hot water when not needed while brushing teeth, shaving or doing dishes.
  • Use the self-cleaning oven feature only when necessary. Start the self-cleaning cycle immediately after you use the oven in order to take advantage of pre-existing heat.
  • Open the oven door infrequently. Every time you open it, the temperature drops about 25 F to 30 F, and more energy is used to generate the desired level of heat.
  • Use glass baking dishes in the oven when possible. Glass retains heat better than other materials, so it helps food cook faster. With glass baking dishes, you usually can reduce your oven temperature by about 25 F.
  • Operate your dishwasher with full loads, and air-dry dishes on the energy saver setting. If the manufacturer's instructions permit, open the dishwasher door at the end of the last rinse cycle, rather than using the drying cycle.
  • Challenge everyone in the household to gather around one television a few days each week, and turn off the others.

 

Get low-cost tips

Use these cost-efficient tips to help lower your energy use:

  • Install energy-saving showerheads, faucets or flow restrictors.
  • Use dimmer switches or timers on your lights.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps that give the same amount and quality of light as incandescent bulbs, yet use one-quarter the amount of energy and last 10 times longer.
  • Wrap your water heater with an insulating jacket or blanket to prevent loss of heat. Ensure that the air intake vent remains uncovered.

 

Get investment ideas

Save even more energy and money with these longer-term investments:

  • Select an energy-efficient model ENERGY STAR®-labeled refrigerator, washer, air conditioner or other appliance.
  • When shopping for a printer, scanner or other computer peripherals, spend a few extra dollars to buy one that automatically goes into sleep mode or turns off when not in use.

Vacation Proofing Your Home

Prep your home for energy efficiency when you’re away on vacation.


Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 15 KB)

Vacation Proofing Your Home

1OF1

Prep your home for energy efficiency when you’re away on vacation.


Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 15 KB)

Following are no-cost, low-cost and investment ideas for increasing the energy efficiency of your home during cold weather.

 

Get no-cost tips

When the weather is cold, use these energy-saving ideas in your home:

  • When using your fireplace, turn down your heater. When you're not using it, close the damper to block incoming cold air.
  • Close curtains, shades and blinds at night and during unoccupied periods of the day to help prevent warm air from escaping.
  • Set your furnace thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (68 F) or lower, health permitting. Three to five percent more energy is used for each degree you set your furnace above 68 F.
  • When you leave the house, set your thermostat to 56 F. By turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours, you can save five to 15 percent a year on your heating bill.

 

Get low-cost tips

Take advantage of these cost-efficient tips:

  • Caulk gaps and cracks around drafty doorframes and windows to prevent cold air from entering your home. Caulk is inexpensive and can be purchased at most hardware stores, where you can also learn how to apply it.
  • Wrap older water heaters with an insulating jacket or blanket to minimize excess heat loss. Remember to leave the air intake vent uncovered.
  • Air seal and properly insulate attics, walls, floors over crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joists. Doing so may result in a savings of up to 10 percent of your total energy costs.

 

Get investment ideas

These longer-term investments can help you save even more energy and money:

  • Have a contractor check your central heating and cooling duct system for leaks. Sealing and insulating air ducts can improve the efficiency of your system substantially.
  • Replace your old windows with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® windows. Doing so could reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent.
  • 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 cold air from coming in and warm air from escaping your home.
  • Insulate the spaces between your walls with foam. Homes often leak warm air in the winter because of spaces between walls. Fill these gaps by spraying foam insulation into holes drilled in the wall.

How To Keep Your House Warm in the Winter

Prevent home heat loss during the winter months.


Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 15 KB)

How To Keep Your House Warm in the Winter

1OF1

Prevent home heat loss during the winter months.


Audio description and transcript also available for this video.


Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 15 KB)