PG&E Money Saving Tips
Low-cost home improvements:
- Install energy-saving shower heads and faucet aerators in your home.
It will reduce hot water use and water heating costs by 10 to 16 percent without affecting comfort.
- Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets.
Water faucet drips cause water loss of up to 212 gallons a month. Hot water drips waste energy as well.
No-cost energy saving suggestions:
- Save 5 to 10 percent of heating costs by setting your thermostat in winter at 68 degrees or lower during the day, health permitting, and at 55 degrees for the night or when you will be away for more than four hours.
- Open drapes on sunny days to help warm the rooms.
- Do only full loads in the clothes washer, clothes dryer and dishwasher.
- Clean the dryer lint trap after each use, and check the dryer vent for clogging. When possible, dry clothes on a line.
- Close the damper when not using the fireplace and turn heaters down when using the fireplace.
- Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees (140 degrees if you have a dishwasher without its own heating element).
- Use the energy saver, air-dry cycle of the dishwasher, or, if allowed, open the door and let the 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 heat already there.
Protect Your House from Drafts and Leaks
One little draft can make a giant hole in your heating budget, and a there are dozens of ways cold air can find its way into a house. As soon as you feel a draft in the house, you should track it down and fix it.
You’ll save more than enough in one year to pay for the cost of replacing weather-stripping around windows and doors. Check your doors and windows every year. After a few cold winters, weather-stripping peels away from the windows and door jambs.”
Insulate all exterior electrical outlets.
Access doors to the attic should have gaskets to prevent heat from escaping into the attic and outside.
Filters for central heating systems should be changed. lf you notice some vents aren’t producing heat, call a professional to check out the venting system.
Cover the water heater with a blanket (unless it is one of the new, already insulated heters) during winter months and add a timer so the heater will only work during the times people normally expect to use it.
Make sure the roofs, gutters and downspouts are clean and free of standing water and debris. Otherwise, they can cause serious problems, including rot along the roof lines and corners of homes, leading to leaks and drafts. Many people don’t realize how much damage a dirty roof can cause. When the roof is full of debris, it has a tendency to hold water and moisture, and that can cause a leak.
Shut off the water to swamp coolers, drain them and cover them tightly.
Make sure door thresholds are in good repair and properly caulked. If not, rainwater can get into the house and seriously damage flooring and carpeting.
Winterizing Your Home
Winterizing your house can protect it from damage and save dollars in heating costs.
lf you have moved recently, experts recommend that you ask your neighbors how they go about preparing for winter. They are the most knowledgeable experts you can find about how severe the winters are in your new neighborhood.
Here are some tips The American Association of Realtors recommends for most areas:
- Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows.
- Replace worn door stops at the bottom of doors.
- lf you have them, install storm doors and windows. Don’t forget to winterize basement windows.
- Replace old windows with energy efficient windows.
- Use caulking and weather-stripping around entry points for all pipes and ducts that travel through exterior walls.
- Install insulating kits behind electrical plugs on walls with exterior sides.
- Ask the staff at a local home improvement center how much insulation is recommended in your area, then check your attic insulation to make sure it’s adequate.
- Some homes benefit from additional wall insulation. Home improvement center employees can explain types of insulation that can be added to existing walls.
- Have a professional do a routine check of your furnace before cold weather arrives.
- Vacuum vents and other heating components.
- If it has one, replace the furnace filter. Make future replacements as needed or directed by your furnace manufacturer.
- Consider installing a setback thermostat. It regulates the temperature, allowing the home to be cooler when you are away or asleep.
- Fill oil or propane tanks.
- Have the chimney inspected and cleaned.
- Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
- Study literature by the people who sell and repair wood-burning firepIaces and gas-log fireplaces.
- Replace loose shingles.
- Make sure the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes is watertight.
- Check bricks and mortar to see if repairs are needed.
- Install a screen at the top of the chimney to keep leaves and other items out.
- Trim tree limbs that are hanging over or touching the roof.
- Take care of known issues with pipes that freeze. Heat tape can be used to keep them warm during extremely cold weather.
- Learn how to turn off water at its source so you can stop leaks as soon as you find them.
- Drain water from outdoor faucets when you think a hard freeze is coming.
- Give decks an additional coat of sealer.
- Check the foundation and siding for cracks or gaps and repair as necessary.
- Drain garden hoses, roll them up, and store them inside.
- Close and cover the swimming pool.
- Prune shrubbery and add mulch to perennial flower beds.
- Cover outdoor furniture or store it inside.
Collect emergency supplies
- Store candles, matches, a small butane lighter, flashlights and batteries.
- Fill propane tank or buy charcoal for outdoor grills.
- Keep battery operated radio or weather radio and buy extra batteries.
- Keep handy a snow blower, shovels and chemicals to melt snow in the high country. Leaf blowers come in handy at any elevation.
- Store bottled water and non-perishable food to last a few days. Be sure you have a hand-operated can opener.
- Store paper plates, plastic eating utensils and paper towels.
- Gather extra firewood and a generator and fuel for it. Kerosene and kerosene heater (use with carbon monoxide monitoring strips).
The Yosemite Gold Team
CA Broker DRE license #00975527