SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— The COVID-19 pandemic is causing customers to stay indoors more than normal during one of the hottest months of the year, which could drive up energy costs.
Air conditioning units are working around the clock to keep indoor temperatures cool and comfortable across parts of Northern and Central California. During the summer months, as much as half of residential energy usage goes to cooling the home. So, making smart decisions about the home's cooling system can have a big effect on energy bills.
“We know customers are spending more time at home and indoors which leads to increased energy usage. We’re reminding customers that small changes in their behavior during the summer will help reduce energy usage during this unprecedented time,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) encourages customers to consider five easy ways to lower AC costs and still stay cool indoors this summer.
- Add layers to windows
Use shade coverings and awnings and the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.
- Replace filters as needed
Dirty air filters make the air conditioner work harder to circulate the air. Clean and/or replace air filters monthly to improve energy efficiency and reduce.
- Close your shades in the summer
Sunlight passing through windows heats the home and makes the air conditioner work harder. Customers can block this heat by keeping blinds or drapes closed on sunny days.
- Clear the area around AC unit
The air conditioning unit will operate better if it has plenty of room to breathe. The air conditioners outdoor unit, the condenser, needs to be able to circulate air without any interruption or obstruction.
- Cool down with a fan
Fans keep air circulating, allowing the thermostat to be raised several degrees and stay just as comfortable while reducing air conditioning costs. However, remember to turn them off when leaving the room. Fans move air, not cool it, so they waste energy if left on when no one is at home or work.
*Savings amounts are illustrative only. Actual savings will vary.
Customers looking to make energy improvement updates to their home or do maintenance on their air conditioning system are encouraged to learn more about the Comfortable Home Rebates Program. The program connects customers to rebates and helps them stay comfortable by keeping their air conditioner in top shape for the summer.
PG&E also funds the operation of existing county- or city-run cooling centers throughout the state. These centers help fill a critical need for those who might not have the financial means to cool and shelter themselves from very hot and prolonged temperatures.
To find a Cooling Center near you, please call your local city or county government, or call PG&E’s toll-free Cooling Center locator line at 1-877-474-3266 or visit pge.com/coolingcenters.
For more tips on how to save energy this summer, visit pge.com/summer.