SACRAMENTO, California — Editor's note: This story was originally published on May 27, 2020.
During the coronavirus pandemic, as millions of people are being asked to adhere to stay-at-home guidelines, you might be wondering if you're going to pay more for you electric bill next month.
This worry is heightened as Sacramento and Northern California experiences its first heatwave.
Electric companies like SMUD, PG&E, and Roseville Electric Utility have payment-assistance programs that could help people who are struggling financially:
While those programs can help, there are other ways consumers can decrease their energy usage and bill. Here are simple ways to save energy and money while trying to stay cool while you stay home:
Add layers to windows
- Use shade coverings and awnings so that your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool your home.
- Close windows and blinds in the morning when the temperature rises above the inside temperature and keep them closed throughout the day.
- Open windows and blinds in the evening when the temperature drops below the inside temperature.
Adjust your thermostat
- Air Conditioning accounts for more than 40% of summer residential energy usage, so set your thermostat at 78°f in the summer, health permitting.
- Turning up the thermostat two degrees can save up to 10% on cooling costs
Cool down with a fan
- Fans keep air circulating, allowing you to raise the thermostat a few degrees and stay just as comfortable while reducing your air conditioning costs.
- Use ceiling and tabletop fans to cool off and leave the thermostat at a higher temperature.
- Turns fans off when you leave a room (fans cool people, not rooms).
Manage your electronics, appliances and lighting
- Plug all personal electronics into a power strip and simply turn off the power strip when electronics aren’t in use.
- When not in use, unplug small appliances and electronics, like coffee makers and printers. Completely turn off TVs and game consoles.
- Turn down the brightness of your TV. Factory settings are typically brighter than needed. Use smaller screens, like tablets, to stream media.
- Be extra vigilant about turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and turn off lights during the day.
- Unplug game systems and other devices when possible.
- When laptops and phones are 100% charged, unplug them.
- Try to do energy-intensive chores like laundry and dishes outside of the peak time for your energy provider which is for SMUD and PG&E customers between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. for Roseville electric customers.
- Avoid using all large appliances at the same time.
Replace filters as needed
- Dirty air filters make your air conditioner work harder to circulate air. By cleaning or replacing your filters monthly, you can improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
RELATED: As extreme heat rolls through San Joaquin Valley, cooling centers begin to open with social distancing
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