At Silicon Valley Power, we want to help you keep your home comfortable while conserving energy. Check out our tip sheets and videos to lower your energy bill throughout the year.
Replace incandescent bulbs
- Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDs. CFLs and LEDs produce the same amount of light but use up to 75% less energy. CFLs last up to 10 times longer and LEDs last up to 25 times longer, so the higher up front cost pays for itself over the long life of the bulb. Be sure to recycle old CFL bulbs.
Save energy during the holidays with LEDs
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), are a great way to save energy and money while enjoying your holiday lights. Learn more by reviewing our tip sheet about Saving Energy During the Holidays with LEDs.
Program your thermostat
- In the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you are home and awake. Set your thermostat to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you are asleep or away. In the summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when home and set the thermostat to turn off the air conditioner when you are asleep or away. For more information, visit our Programming Your Thermostat tip sheet.
Space heater guide
- Heating your home with electric space heaters can significantly increase your electric bill. Learn how to use space heaters efficiently by viewing our Space Heater Guide and watch our space heater video to find out which space heater is best for your needs.
Cool your home with a whole house fan
- Whole house fans draw air in from the outside and can be used to lower the temperature in your home during the cooler evening hours without using the air conditioner. For more information and to determine if a whole house fan is right for you, check out the resources provided by the Department of Energy.
- Close the blinds or drapes in the summer to reduce solar heating of your home. Use awnings or window film on windows that get direct sunlight to block solar heat gain in the summer and reduce the air conditioning load. In the winter, open blinds or drapes to let the sun in and help warm your home.
- Adjust ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise in the summer and use them instead of an air conditioner whenever possible. Adjust them to turn clockwise in the winter to help move the warm air around the room. Check out the ENERGY STAR ceiling fan guide to select the proper fan size for your room.
- Leaving the fireplace flue damper open is the same as leaving a window open.Visit our Fireplace Guide to learn how you can improve the comfort of your home and save money when your fireplace is not in use.
Weatherization tips & air sealing basics
- Air infiltration or air leakage occurs when unwanted air moves in and out of your home, causing drafts. As a result, your heating and cooling systems work harder and longer to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, increasing your utility bill.Learn how to reduce air leakage with our weatherization tips and air sealings basics.
- Seal gaps: On a breezy or cold day, walk around the house and feel for drafts around windows and doors. You can also close all windows and doors, turn on the bathroom fan and kitchen range hood, and use a smoke pen or incense to see where the drafts are. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal gaps around windows, doors, chimneys, and other structural elements. Learn more with our guide to Air Sealing Basics and watch our Weatherization Tips video for help identifying and sealing air leaks in your home.
Saving energy on home electronics
- Did you know that common household electronics are the fastest-growing category of energy use in the home? Learn about tips that can help you save with our Saving Energy on Home Electronics tip sheet.
Unplug appliances and electronics or use power strips
- Unplug electronics and small appliances such as cell phone and tablet chargers, laptops, monitors, printers, speakers, video game systems and DVD players when not in use. They still draw a small amount of power when they are off. Consider using a power strip to turn off multiple devices at once. Smart power strips can shut down the “controlled” devices while leaving necessary “uncontrolled” devices, such as your cable box, on. Learn more with our Power Strips tip sheet.
Streaming video content
- Instead of watching movies on a DVD player or Blue-Ray player, consider streaming video content on a streaming device. Just don’t stream from a video game console, as they use significantly more energy. To learn more, visit our tip sheet on the most efficient ways to watch TV.
Video game consoles
- Video game consoles use a lot of energy and draw power even when they’re off. Learn more with our video game tip sheet.
Electronics power management features
- Free power management features are built into your computer’s operating system. They are accessible through the “power options” icon in the control panel for Microsoft Windows, or through the “energy saver” light bulb icon under “system preferences” on a Mac. At a minimum, computers should be set to go into sleep mode when idle for more than 15 or 20 minutes and turned off when you will be away from your desk for an hour or more.
- Avoid over drying clothes. Clean out the lint trap before drying clothes, and dry only full loads. If your dryer has a moisture-sensing function, use it to avoid over drying clothes.
- Clean refrigerator coils and check the gaskets. Vacuum dust from the vent beneath the door and from the coils behind the fridge every two months, or more often if you have pets. Check for leaks around the refrigerator door. If there are gaps, repair the gasket or install a new one.
- Use the microwave instead of the oven to prepare meals. The microwave uses significantly less energy than an oven. Cooking in the microwave or outside on a grill will also keep the house from heating up during the summer months.
- Cover pots while cooking on the stove to retain the heat and cook faster. Properly size the pot for the burner to avoid wasted heat.
- Let food cool before placing it in the refrigerator. Hot food warms the inside of the refrigerator, forcing it to work harder to keep things cool.
Low flow devices
- Install faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads to reduce hot water use. A low-flow showerhead uses only 2.5 gallons or less per minute, as compared to the standard 5 to 8 gallons per minute.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120° Fahrenheit and minimize hot shower time. According to ENERGY STAR, a 10-minute shower uses less water than a full bath. Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket to keep the heated water warm and minimize heat loss.
- Wash only full loads of dishes. Scrape food off dishes instead of pre-rinsing them. Most dishwashers can clean scraped dishes thoroughly, and rinsing dishes wastes a lot of water and energy.
- Wash full loads of laundry and consider washing in cold water whenever possible in order to save on water heating costs.
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