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Five Easy Ways to Lower Your Energy Bills This Winter

Original post made by Jessica Lee for StopWaste on Dec 5, 2013

Winter is approaching, and it may have Pleasanton residents wondering what they can do to keep their homes warm while avoiding high energy bills in the process. StopWaste, the local government agency leading Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County, has developed a list of five simple tips to help people save on utility bills while creating a comfortable, cozy home for the winter.

1. Find your energy wasters – Sign up for the free Home Energy Analyzer (www.homenergyanalyzer.org) to get a personalized energy diagnosis. The online tool uses PG&E smart meter data to give you insight into how your home is using energy and suggests simple changes to reduce energy waste.

2. Get smart – Invest in smart power strips for your home to save on energy used by lights, TVs, and other electronics which are still drawing in power even when they are powered off. Smart power strips, turn off these devices for you – based on a timer, motion detection or by sensing if your devices are turned off or sleeping. These strips are available at most electronic retailers, and your local utilities company may even have discounts or rebates available.

3. Get with the program(mable thermostat) – Install a programmable thermostat, which allows you to set timers so that the heater isn't wasting heat all night while you're sleeping or all day while you're at work. This applies to air conditioning usage during the summer months as well. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

4. Wrap it up – Give your water heater an insulation blanket this winter. You can save 4 to 9 percent of your water heating costs simply by wrapping your hot water heater. To check if your tank needs insulation, place your hand on the tank. If it feels warm, then wrap it with an insulation blanket.

5. Seal it off – Your home may be leaking energy out through cracks around your home's windows and doors, which let in cold drafts. Sealing those problem cracks in your home with weatherstripping or caulking will keep cold air out and keep you more comfortable. With proper air sealing and good insulation, you can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs, according to the EPA.

Comments (10)

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

If you've got a very old refrigerator, replace it with a newer one to save a lot of electricity. We replaced a 20+ year old 2nd refrigerator in the garage with a new one which uses less than 1/3 as much electricity, for a predicted savings of about $20 per month in electricity plus a $75 PG&E rebate for buying an energy-efficient refrigerator.


Posted by Refrig buyer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

I just bought a new refrig last week. How do I get money from PG&E


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

"I just bought a new refrig last week. How do I get money from PG&E."

You need to check the list of eligible energy efficient refrigerators before you go shopping. Check out the rebates section of the PG&E website (Web Link) and click on the refrigerator image to get more information. There's a product list of eligible refrigerators there. Not all new refrigerators are energy efficient enough to qualify for the rebate.


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

6. Build a nice, crackling fire in your fireplace, open a bottle of vino and feel the warm glow.


Posted by Clean Air, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

7 And die of lung disease, Real helpful disease.


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

7.5 So, freeze to death of die of lung disease? Are those your only choices? I'm sure you've had lots of friends die from lung disease directly related to your neighbors chimney output. It couldnt be from all the car exhaust, second hand smoke or the pot you use for 'medicinal' purposes. Nope, must be the occasional fire in the fireplace.
The govt doesn't need any additonal useful idiots, so please stop petitioning them.


Posted by clean Air, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Hey lid.. since you don't get it please report yourself to bad air police 800 334 ODOR. or try burning a gas log and live longer. Rules are for you too.


Posted by right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

'clean Air', my, that's excellent advice. Turning oneself in saves you from ratting out your neighbor and facing the inevitable consequences once they find out who called in the unelected bureaucrats to scold them. It will be entertaining to watch what happens when you turn in the people on your block...God help you if you ever step over the line again...or wander to close to their yard after dark. Something tells me, the wisps of smoke from a firepace will be the least of your concerns. Good luck, comrade.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

You act like it's a crime against humanity to report somebody to the police even if they're in the wrong...tough titty...

what are folks afraid of...who cares if a neighbor gets upset...duh...

i'm shaking in my boots...


Posted by Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Cholo, if you're a rat, you should be shaking in your boots. Unless you think your homeboys in the Livermore barrio and our local prisons are OK with your singling out your neighbors. Somehow, I doubt they'd tolerate your misguided self righteousness.


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