Although winter temperatures are generally mild in Southern California, recently, residents have been cranking up their heaters for the first time in months. And following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Dec. 3 “Regional Stay at Home Order,” we’re now spending more time at home. While these comforts are necessary now more than ever, energy efficiency, cost and safety should be at the forefront of your household’s winter plan.
Energy Saving Tips
Here are some tips on how to be more energy efficient this season:
- Upgrade your lighting – As the sun begins to set earlier, we use our lights longer. To counteract this, try switching over to LED bulbs and other Energy Star fixtures.
- Keep your furnace/heater clean – Check these items at least once a month (or more frequently) and replace them regularly. Dirty filters can result in higher energy bills and possible equipment malfunctions.
- Power off items not in use – It helps to lower energy costs by shutting off idle electronics. To further enhance your safety, use a smart power strip to power off items.
- Stop any drafts – Make sure that your windows are well-insulated. If not, apply caulk or weather stripping around the window. Also, placing towels, blankets, etc. under the gap of a door helps immensely.
- Wash with cold water – Using warm water instead of hot can cut energy usage in half, and cold water can save even more. Also, washing your clothes in cooler water helps them last longer.
- Don’t get burned by hot water – Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120F (if possible).
With the holidays approaching, safety is still of utmost importance. Here’s how to stay safe throughout the winter:
- Check your carbon monoxide detector – If you don’t have a carbon monoxide meter in your home, please install one. Remember to check the batteries annually and replace detectors every five years to ensure accuracy.
- Keep electric heaters away from flammable items – Make sure that furniture, blankets and other items that may catch fire need to be a safe distance away from heaters.
- Don’t overload outlets – When decorating your home for the holidays, be sure to replace any damaged light strips or broken sockets. Attempting to repair these items is dangerous and could overload sockets.
- Look out for hidden damage – Keep electrical lines clear of any heavily trafficked areas and away from any heat sources.
You can also save big by shifting your energy use away from peak hours, which are from 4 to 9 p.m. By doing this, you are making more energy available to the grid, lessening the strain for potential outages.
We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season. Armed with these tips, your home – and wallet – will thank you.