December 29, 2000

Energy Savings Add Up When You Take These Simple Steps

Many San Diego residents gained an education in a new subject this year - Energy 101. Limited energy supplies and increased demand have resulted in higher prices, which have in turn heightened interest in energy conservation. By taking a few simple steps, you can help keep your winter energy costs under control. The following tips will help you see where you're already saving energy, and where you could be saving even more.

Save on Heating

A heater needs an annual checkup to run efficiently and safely. Have San Diego Gas & Electric or a qualified contractor inspect your entire gas or electric heating system. In addition, a heater may run more safely and efficiently this winter with these steps:

Verify that the pilot lights and burner flames of all gas appliances, including gas furnaces, are clear blue. Specks of orange or yellow are normal, too. However, if the flames are mostly yellow or soot is visible, have SDG&E or a qualified contractor check and adjust the appliance immediately to avoid possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Save on Lighting

You can significantly cut your energy use by changing your incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient, compact fluorescent lights. Compact fluor-escents are widely available and easily recognized by the Energy Star label, the symbol of energy efficiency by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Star compact fluorescent lights can reduce lighting costs by up to 75 percent and last up to eight times longer than incandescent lights.

Energy Star lighting products operate at cooler temperatures, which make them perfect substitutes for hot halogen bulbs, too. You can save energy by installing timers, time clocks or photocells to ensure exterior lights are turned off at the appropriate time as well.

Save on Appliances

Energy Star-labeled products meet or exceed federal energy-efficiency guidelines. Energy efficiency benefits everyone, since reduced demand for energy conserves fossil fuels, contributes to cleaner air and puts downward pressure on energy prices. In addition, these products save consumers more money on utility costs than standard models since they use less energy to operate. Check out the savings you can reap from the following Energy Star appliances.

Refrigerator: 20 percent more energy-efficient than the minimum federal requirements. Plus, they include more efficient compressors, better insulation and energy use controls. You also can save $325 in energy costs over its lifetime.

Dishwasher: Comes with energy-efficient motors, sensors and other features that not only clean dishes but save energy and water. over the lifetime of this appliance, $115 can be saved in energy and water costs.

Clothes washer: If it has the Energy Star symbol for energy efficiency, it will use one-half of the water and one-half of the energy of a conventional washer to do a typical load. Savings are significant too—about $650 in energy and water costs over the washer's lifetime.

Room air conditioner: With its high-efficiency compressors, motors and heat transfer surfaces, more than 10 percent in energy costs can be saved during use.

Some appliances with the Energy Star label cost a bit more to purchase than conventional appliances because of the innovative technologies that make them run "smarter" and save energy. The utility savings often make up for the occasionally higher purchase price.

Want More Information?

To receive free brochures with more energy-saving tips or for information on appliance rebates and other programs, contact San Diego Gas & Electric toll-free at 1-800-411-SDGE(7343) or by e-mail at You also can visit SDG&E's Web site at

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