No-cost & Low-cost Tips

Top 20 savings actions

No-cost Actions

  1. Use our free online Energy Tracker℠ tool to track your electricity use by hour, day or more. You can also get email or text alerts about your estimated bill or when it’s expected to exceed an amount you’ve set.
  2. Practice thermostat control. Each degree you lower your thermostat in winter saves an estimated 2 percent on your heating bill. In winter, set it to 68 when you’re awake, 60 when asleep or gone. In summer, try 75 to 78 degrees to save on air conditioning. And remember, turning your thermostat higher or lower than needed doesn’t heat or cool a room faster, so avoid this energy wasting myth. See Heating & Cooling for more.
  3. Wash smarter. Use the Energy Saver mode on your clothes washer and dishwasher. Wash laundry in cold water: It works. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full and let dishes air dry. Take quick showers instead of baths. Don’t let the hot water run when shaving or doing dishes.
  4. Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees for savings and safety. See our Water Heaters section for details.
  5. If you have baseboard heaters, wall heaters or room air conditioners, don’t heat or cool unused rooms. Close the door, but watch for mold or mildew in colder rooms. (If you have a ducted, forced-air system, it’s not a good idea to close off individual registers because it can make your system run less efficiently.)
  6. Use window coverings to save energy. In summer, close drapes and blinds to block sunlight and reduce the need for cooling, and in colder months close drapes at night to stop heat loss. Insulated drapes and “honeycomb” style blinds are especially helpful.
  7. Unplug energy “vampires” such as laptop and cell phone chargers as soon as you’re done using them. Otherwise, they suck energy even when not in use.
  8. Turn off your computer and other home electronics when not in use. The default settings on most computers aren’t the most energy efficient. Adjust yours for efficiency, and visit ENERGY STAR® for more tips.
    • Consider a smart strip for your media center or computer area, where peripheral devices such as printers, task lights, DVD players and game consoles suck power even when turned off. More about energy “vampires”.
  9. Close your fireplace damper and doors when not in use. After a fire, let the fireplace cool completely before closing the damper.
  10. Turn off ventilation fans in kitchen and baths. They pull warmed or cooled air out of your house, so turn them off after about 10 minutes or install a timer to ensure you don’t accidentally leave them on.

Low-cost Savings

  1. Switch to energy-saving CFL or LED light bulbs. You’ll use 75 to 85 percent less energy while changing bulbs a lot less often (LEDs can last 25 years or more!) See our Lighting section for more details.
  2. Seal air leaks. A small investment in caulk and weatherstripping around exterior doors or windows can make a difference in comfort and energy savings. See our Weatherization & Windows section for details.
  3. Use fans to keep it cool. Fans can help keep you cool while using less energy than air conditioning. If you do have air conditioning, use it in combination with ceiling fans or portable fans and set your thermostat about 10 degrees higher — you’ll feel comfortable while using less energy. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider an attic fan.
  4. Tune up your heating and air conditioning. Schedule regular maintenance to help your system run more efficiently. See our Heating & Cooling section.
  5. Install a fireplace pillow. Even when a fireplace flue is closed, you still lose a lot of heat right up the chimney. Instead, get a plastic, inflatable “pillow” that inserts into your chimney and blocks heat loss. It’s easily removable when you want to build a fire. Find them at your local fireplace dealer or online.
  6. Upgrade to a smart programmable thermostat. They make saving energy automatic, and are now even easier to use. It’s best to have an expert pick the right one to pair with your heating system. PGE recommends professional installation by a PGE-approved contractor, who can optimize the settings for maximum performance and energy savings. This is especially important for heat pumps to minimize the use of back-up heat and maintain the proper temperature set-back range for your system.
  7. Install lighting controls that automatically shut off lights in rooms when no one is there. Outside lighting timers provide safety and beauty while minimizing energy waste. See our Lighting section.
  8. Use “smart strips” to manage electronics and computer equipment. These power strips allow you to plug one device (such as your computer or TV) in an “always on” outlet while peripherals (such as printers, DVD players or game consoles) can be shut off with one switch. This helps avoid waste from energy “vampires”.
  9. Update or install window coverings. Insulated drapes or other energy-saving window coverings do make a difference, especially if you have single pane or other inefficient windows.
  10. Install foundation vent covers. Do this in the fall to keep wind and cold air from creeping in under your house (vent covers can also help prevent frozen pipes). Remove them in spring.

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