Summertime means rising temperatures and – unfortunately – rising energy bills. Here we’ve collected some easy-to-implement tips* to help you control your energy costs and reduce your environmental impact. Start with these quick tips, and browse the categories below for more specific ideas that can really add up to significant savings…
Quick Tips To Start With:
- Run appliances before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to avoid peak daytime usage hours.
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher (health permitting) when you’re home.
- Set your water heater at 120 degrees or less. You can potentially save up to 5% of your water heating energy use for every 10°F you lower your thermostat.
- Sign up for SCE’s free “Home Energy Advisor” to monitor your daily usage and get customized recommendations on ways to save. Click Here To Get Started
Select a topic for more energy saving tips.
- Home Cooling
- Water Heating
- Clothes Washers & Dryers
- Refrigerators & Freezers
- Home Electronics
- Swimming Pools & Spas
- Rebates – Home Improvemenet Incentives
- Use ceiling and/or portable fans first, before turning on the A/C. Ceiling mounted fans are usually the most energy efficient type of fan, and are best at creating a draft throughout the entire room.
- Close drapes and blinds during the day to keep direct sunlight from heating your home.
- Reduce indoor heat generation – use energy-efficient light bulbs, reduce hot water use, use smaller and more efficient appliances (like the microwave), and do heat generating tasks (like clothes drying) during cooler hours of the day.
- Have your air conditioner serviced annually.
- Replace air conditioner filters every 6 months (or as otherwise directed in the operating manual).
- Set your water heater at 120 degrees or less. You can potentially save up to 5% of your water heating energy use for every 10°F you lower your thermostat
- Take shorter (and cooler) showers – they can account for over 50% of your hot water usage.
- Replace older water fixtures with new low-flow showerheads and sink aerators. This can decrease heating costs up to 50%.
Clothes Washers & Dryers
- Wash and dry only full loads.
- Rinse all loads using cold water.
- Consider washing in cold water with cold-water detergents. It can save up to 10% on water heating costs, plus it’s gentler on your clothes and helps preserve their color.
- Dry lightweight and heavy clothes separately for more energy-efficient drying.
- Always clean the lint filter before every load.
- Whenever possible, air-dry your clothes outside – let the sun do the work for free!
Refrigerators & Freezers
- Give your refrigerator an annual checkup
- Check and clean the condenser coils at least once a year. Be sure to unplug the unit and carefully brush or vacuum the coils – this could improve your refrigerator’s efficiency by 30%.
- Make sure there are a few inches of space between the refrigerator and the wall to maintain good air circulation.
- Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors seal airtight.
- According to SCE, most refrigerators should run for about 5 minutes every 3-4 hours when operating properly. If your refrigerator is running constantly, it’s time to have it serviced (or replaced with a new energy efficiency rated refrigerator).
- Save even more with these smart refrigerator habits…
- Keep your freezer full
- Open your refrigerator less frequently
- Let hot foods cool before moving them to the refrigerator
- Don’t waste energy and money on an extra refrigerator or freezer that you really don’t need. SCE has a recycling program which will haul it away and pay you $35.
- Save energy and avoid heating up the house by using the microwave or grilling outside. It can cost up to 80% less to microwave a meal rather than cook it in an electric oven.
- When using the stove, match pot size to burner size.
- Avoid peeking in the oven when cooking (your oven’s temperature drops about 25° F every time you open the door while cooking).
Studies show that a dishwasher can be more efficient than hand washing your dishes. Even without pre-rinsing, most new dishwashers clean effectively using very little water. These tips will help maximize efficiency.
- Run your dishwasher only when full.
- Use your dishwasher’s automatic energy-savings cool-dry cycle.
- If your dishwasher doesn’t have this feature, turn it off after the final rinse and let the dishes air dry. This can reduce energy usage by 40%.
According to SCE, the average U.S. household looses about 440 kilowatt hours of “vampire power” – costing $75 per year – to unused chargers and electronics in stand-by or off-mode. Unplug and fight the vampires!
- A surge protector that can be turned off when not in use is a practical way to fully turn off electronics – just be sure to plug electronics that should be continually left on (like alarm clocks) into a separate outlet.
- Turn off your monitor if you’ll be away from it for more than 20 minutes.
- Shut down your computer if you’ll be away from it for more than two hours.
- Keep the cooling vents dust-free – clogged vents can cause the cooling fan to run unnecessarily and potentially overheat your central processing unit.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room, and in unused areas of the home.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) – they use one quarter the energy last up to seven times as long as incandescent bulbs.
- Consider switching to Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – although more expensive, they can last 5 times longer than CFLs and can be up to 80% more efficient.
Swimming Pools & Spas
Pools can double your electric bill. In addition to running pool pumps before 6 a.m. or after 6 p.m., try these quick tips:
- Run pumps for a shorter time (4 hours or less)
- Keep grates and drains clean – any blockage will make the pump work harder.
- Keep your spa or pool covered when not in use.
- Check the accuracy of your spa’s thermostat. An inaccurate thermostat can cost you hundreds of dollars each year.
An older single-speed pump may be costing you money. Save even more with a two-speed or variable-speed pool pump. SCE offers a $200 rebate when you buy and install a new, qualifying variable-speed pool pump and motor.
Rebates: Home Improvement Incentives
Thinking of upgrading your home or appliances? Getting rid of or replacing old appliances can have the biggest savings payoff during the summer, and they often qualify for rebates and incentives. For example…
- Earn $35 when you recycle your old, working refrigerator or freezer.
- Purchase a new ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient refrigerator and get an instant $75 rebate.
- Get a $200 rebate when you buy and install a new, qualifying variable-speed pool pump and motor.
Visit the City’s Energy Rebates Page for additional resources to help you find rebates for your home.
*Note – Energy savings tips presented here were adapted from information on the Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Co. websites. Available online at www.sce.com and www.socalgas.com.