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Pasadena Water & Power

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    General Energy Conservation Tips

    There are many different ways you can conserve energy and save money. Many of these tips are easy to implement and results are almost immediate.

    Lighten Up Your Load

    • If you're not using a light, turn it off!
    • Switch out your old incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and cut your energy use for lighting by up to 75%. (Important: Always treat CFLs as electronic waste when they go out, and recycle them at an e-waste collection center.)
    • Replace your old incandescent holiday lights with LED holiday strands which use 90% less energy. 
    • Replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting with energy efficient LED lighting around your home. Learn more. 

    Around the house

    • Lower your hot water temperature by setting the thermostat to "low," or below 120°F.
    • Install a water heater insulation blanket if your heater doesn't have an "Energy Guide" label indicating it as energy efficient.
    • Insulate the first 3 to 6 feet of cold and hot water pipes near your water heater. Insulating all hot water pipes is only necessary where pipes are located in a crawl space or attic. Keep foam insulation at least 6 inches from the flue of a gas water heater.
    • Turn your water heater control valve to "pilot" when you're away from home for a week or more.
    • Set your thermostat to 78°F in the summer. Note: The house will not cool down any faster if you crank up the thermostat past the desired temperature. Besides, it is easy to forget to turn it back down, which will waste energy dollars.
    • Turn the air conditioner off when away all day and during the night. Open the windows at night for natural cooling.
    • Regularly clean and replace filters to air conditioning units and appliances.
    • Seal, caulk and weather-strip the roof, walls, floors, around windows, doors, chimneys and cracks to keep the hot air out and cool air in. Insulate wherever possible, including attics, basement walls, crawl spaces, water heaters and ducts. Insulation can reduce your heating and cooling costs up to 30%.
    • Try to use appliances before noon and after 7PM.
    • Set your hot water heater thermostat at 120 degrees or "low". It's hot enough for most needs and it cuts down on energy needed to keep water hot in the tank.
    • Wash when you have full loads. When drying clothes, use the proper setting and load size.
    • Install a whole house fan. A new whole house fan installed between ceiling joists in the house can help defer central air conditioning use, and cut down on electricity bills.

    In the Kitchen

    Whether or not you plan to buy a new range or other cooking appliances, you can probably save some money by modifying your cooking habits.

    • Whenever possible, keep pots and pans covered. You will save fuel and shorten cooking time as well.
    • Using the proper flame height conserves fuel. The low flame setting is best for delicate sauces and milk, melting butter and cooking for small amounts of food. At a medium rate you can maintain a consistent boil, simmer, cook, fry or brown foods.
    • The highest flame setting should be reserved for a quick boil, stir frying or rapid cooking.
    • Use the microwave to provide a quick efficient alternative to oven cooking. Foods cook for a fraction of the energy and time.
    • Turn refrigerator setting to above 37°. Your refrigerator that is on 24 hours a day accounts for about 15% of the total home electricity bill. Check and clean the coils on the back or bottom of your refrigerator regularly, don't make it work harder than necessary. See your appliance manual for maintenance instructions. If you have an extra freezer or refrigerator that is nearly empty turn it off.

    In the Laundry Room

    Unlike furnaces and water heaters, dryers are not required to have Energy Guide labels. However, new gas dryers use much less than older models, because they light automatically without a continuous-burning pilot light and also have better insulation.

    Because of these new energy-efficient features, replacing an old gas dryer with a new one can save over 50% in energy cost.

    • Wash Full loads or adjust the water level accordingly
    • Wash with warm or cold water, Always rinse in cold water.
    • Every so often, check to see that the outside moisture exhaust vent of the dryer is open and remove any lint that has collected.
    • Dry full loads of clothes but don't overfill the dryer. One washer load is one dryer load. Clothes should tumble freely.
    • Don't over dry clothes - it wastes energy, causes shrinkage, and shortens the life of the clothes.
    • Separate lightweight from heavyweight fabrics for faster, more even drying.
    • Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the heat still in the dryer from the first load.
    • When drying only one or two items, add several compatible items to ensure proper tumbling and faster drying.
    • Don't open the dryer door unnecessarily. Warm air escapes from the dryer into the room.
    • Clean the lint filter before drying each load for quickest drying.

    In the Living Areas

    • When replacing appliances or equipment, buy products with the Energy Star® label, the symbol for energy efficiency. Households that replace existing equipment with Energy Star® products can cut annual energy bills by up to 30 percent. Call PWP's AnswerLine at (626)744-6970 for details.
    • Activate your Energy Star® "sleep" feature on home office equipment so that it automatically powers down when not in use to save up to $70 annually in electricity bills and improve product longevity.
    • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents that last ten times longer and require less energy.
    • During hot periods, close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight.
    • Install glass doors in front of the fireplace to help keep warm air in the home.
    • Along with gas logs, add a cast-iron fireback to your fireplace to promote heat transfer into the room. Positioned against the back wall of a fireplace, a fireback protects the masonry of the back wall and radiates the heat of the fire forward.

    In the Yard

    • Keep your spa or pool covered when not in use and cut down the time the filter runs to four or five hours a day.
    • Consider landscaping around the home: Plant evergreen trees on the north side and leafy trees on the south side of your home to block winter winds and the summer sun.
    • Keep your spa or pool covered when not in use. Well-fitted pool and spa covers help prevent heat loss for energy savings of 50-70% or more. They also reduce water evaporation.
    • Consider a solar cover for your pool; it lies on the water's surface and heats the water from the sun.
    • Pool and spa combos save energy because they share the same filtration and heating systems.
    • Use a time clock to pre-set the exact hours you want your pool heated.
    • When closing a pool for winter, drain all the water from the heater, filter, pump, and piping systems. Remove the pump motor and store in a dry place.
    • Inspect the spa heater annually for scale, mineral deposits, or corrosion.

    Are you too "plugged in"?

    With more people working from home and the growth of new technologies, products that require power in the average home have dramatically increased.

    Computer equipment is the fastest growing electric load in the world. Unfortunately, much of the energy for computers is wasted because they are often kept on while not in use.

    Additionally, most idle appliances—TVs, VCRs cable boxes, CD players, cordless phones, burglar alarms, microwaves—continue to use energy when switched off. This energy keeps display clocks lit and memory chips and remote controls working. These energy "leaks" are costly. New technology in TVs and VCRs bearing the Energy Star label will reduce wasted energy by up to 75 percent