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Winter Energy Conservation Tips for Your Home

Heating

  • Turn down your thermostat to 68° in the daytime and 55° at night or when you're away from home.
  • Keep warm indoors by wearing warm, layered clothing.
  • If your home has zoned or individual room controls, close off heating to rooms and areas that don't need it. Central forced air heating with one or two centrally located returns requires that doors be opened to work properly.
  • Keep your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted. And remember to clean or replace the filter regularly.
  • Use insulating shutters or drapes and keep them closed during winter nights and summer days.
  • Close your fireplace flue. The hot air emitted from your heating system escapes out of your chimney almost as effectively as heat and smoke from your fireplace do. When you're not using the fireplace, close the damper tightly.
  • Plug your home's air leaks. Plug gaps around pipes, ducts, fans and vents that go through walls; ceilings and floors from heated to unheated spaces.
  • If you are planning to replace your windows, choose ENERGY STAR® labeled windows.

Appliances

  • Avoid using large appliances from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
  • Run full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Use the cold water setting on your clothes washer.
  • Clean your clothes dryer's lint trap after each use.

Lights

  • Use holiday lights only from 7:00 pm to bedtime.
  • Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
  • Install ENERGY STAR® labeled compact fluorescent light bulbs!

Computers and other Electronic Devices

  • Unplug electronic devices you're not using.
  • Unplug that spare refrigerator in the garage.
  • Use the sleep mode on your computer, monitor and printer.
  • Turn off kitchen and bathroom ventilating fans.
  • Seal off electric receptacles and switch boxes with foam gaskets or fiberglass insulation.

Water

  • Set your water heater to the "normal" setting or 120°. (Unless your dishwasher requires a higher setting.)
  • Wrap your hot water tank with jacket insulation.
  • Install a low flow showerhead.
  • Shorten your showers.

Winter Energy Conservation Tips for Work

  • Avoid using electric heaters.
  • Empty personal refrigerators and turn them off.
  • Use the daylight and turn off unnecessary lighting.
  • Close windows and doors to keep the heat and cold where they ought to be.
  • Wear warm clothes and shoes; leave a sweater at work.
  • Shut down your computer and monitor when you leave for lunch, leave for an extended period, and at the end of the day. (Don't shut down servers. If you are unsure about what can be shut off, contact your employer's IT Help Desk.)
  • Use the sleep mode on your computer.
  • Turn off non-essential laser printers, coffeepots and infrequently used copiers.

Summer Energy Conservation Tips for Your Home

  • Set your thermostat to 78° or more during the summer.
  • Set your thermostat to 85° or more when you leave your home for more than four hours.
  • Provide shading for your air conditioning condenser.
  • Use exterior shading devices such as awnings, bamboo screens and shade screens (instead of bug screens), or deciduous plants to shade your home and windows from the sun. In the summer, leafy trees provide cool shade. In the winter, bare branches allow the sun to warm your home. Small shrubs can block heat reflected from patios and pavement. And planting vines over southern windows can reduce the effect of the sun's heat.
  • Turn off your furnace pilot light during the non-heating season.
  • Choose ENERGY STAR® labeled windows if you are planning to replace your windows.
  • Keep your spa or pool covered when not in use. Well-fitted pool and spa covers help prevent heat loss. They also reduce water evaporation. Consider a solar cover that lies on the water's surface and heats the water from the sun. Pool and spa combos save energy because they share the same filtration and heating systems. Use a timer clock to pre-set the exact hours you want your pool heated.
  • Shorten the operating time for your swimming pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep (if your pool has one). In the winter, two hours a day of filtering may be enough to keep your pool clean.

What to Do During Rotating Blackouts in the Summer

A "rotating blackout" is a controlled event that occurs when the California Independent System Operator calls for a Stage 3 electricity emergency. Remember that the blackout will pass shortly, usually within 30 to 90 minutes.

  • Do not call 911 unless you have an emergency.
  • If you're inside, stay in the coolest part of the house. If you're outside, stay in the shade.
  • Slow down. Postpone any physically demanding activities for later, in the cooler parts of the day.
  • Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink. Drink plenty of water or diluted sports drinks, especially if you are exercising. Remember, children and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration.
  • Plan easier and shorter workouts.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out in a rolling blackout. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop, and drive defensively.