Here are Home Heating Tips to Help Save Energy and Stay Safe During a COVID-19 Winter

A comfortable indoor space is more important than ever with most customers staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Longer nights, colder days and more time at home could lead to using more natural gas and increased energy costs. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) offers ways for customers to save energy, money and stay safe during the cold winter months.

“Customers are spending more time at home than ever before as a result of the ongoing nature of the pandemic. There are, however, simple steps customers can take to lower their energy costs without sacrificing safety or comfort,” said Aaron August, PG&E Vice President of Business Development & Customer Engagement.

PG&E offers the following tips to safely reduce the cost of keeping warm.

Ways to Save Energy this Winter

  • Set thermostat for savings: Customers can save about 2 percent on their heating bill for each degree the thermostat is lowered (if the turndown lasts a good part of the day or night). Turning down the thermostat from 70°F to 65°F, for example, saves about 10 percent.
  • Control water temperature: Set the water heater thermostat at 120°F or lower. This will reduce the amount of energy it takes to produce and maintain hot water by not overheating it.
  • Test air ducts for leaks: In a typical house, 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts.
  • Microwave and save: Reheating leftovers in a microwave takes less time and uses 80 percent less energy than a standard oven.
  • Energy-saving programs: Sign up for programs managed by energy-efficiency specialists selected by PG&E, some are offered at no cost.
  • Income-qualified programs: Qualifying customers can apply for a monthly discount through the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) or the Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA). Participants in the CARE program may also qualify for the Energy Savings Assistance program.

For more tips on saving energy this winter, visit www.pge.com/winter.

Fuel-burning appliances, such as gas furnaces, stoves, ovens and water heaters can increase the risk of carbon monoxide leaks, a toxic gas, when they are not working properly. Electric heating devices, such as space heaters, can also be a safety hazard when used improperly. Inappropriate use has been known to cause fires.

Ways to Stay Safe this Winter

  • Carbon Monoxide
    • Never use products inside the home that generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, such as generators, barbecues, propane heaters and charcoal.
  • Space Heaters
    • Place space heaters on level, hard, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs or carpets.
    • Don’t put objects on space heaters or use them to dry clothes or shoes.
    • Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
    • Keep all flammable materials at least three feet away from heating sources and supervise children when a space heater or fireplace is being used.

If customers suspect there is a problem with a natural gas appliance inside their home, they should call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. If you detect carbon monoxide in your home, you should get out immediately and call 911.

About PG&E Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.

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