Five Ways to Save Energy and Money this Winter

More than 70% of winter energy use comes from heating system, water heater & washer/dryer

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the temperatures drop during the winter, natural gas usage tends to go up due to increased heating needs. The heating system, water heater, and washer/dryer account for more than 70% of winter energy use in the typical home.

The increase in energy usage, combined with a spike in natural gas prices, may be contributing to higher-than-normal energy bills.

We understand any increase in energy bills can be challenging. That’s why PG&E is offering the following tips to safely reduce the costs associated with these natural gas appliances.

Ways to Save Energy this Winter



Enhance Furnace Efficiency: Check furnace filters regularly. Change out filters if dirty – or at least every three months. A clean filter will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system which can lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.



Improve Duct Performance: In a typical house about 20% to 30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Make sure all connections at vent registers are well-sealed where they meet the floors, walls, and ceilings. These are the common locations to find leaks and disconnected ductwork. Many homeowners choose to work with a professional contractor for duct improvement projects.



Lower the temperature on your water heater: The recommended temperature is 120°F. For every 10ºF reduction in temperature, customers can save from 3% to 5% on water heating costs. Also take shorter showers and don’t leave water running.





Wash Clothes in Cold Water: Use the cold water setting on the clothes washer to use less energy on water heating, wash full loads, and longer spin times to reduce the amount of drying energy needed. Water heating makes up about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer.





Don’t Over Dry Clothes: If the dryer has a sensor that automatically turns it off when the clothes are dry, use it. Dry full loads and clean the lint trap before every load.

As the weather and temperatures warm up, usually during March and April, usage and bills are expected to decrease.

There are several things that can be done to help control energy costs besides simply using less natural gas. One of the ways to use less energy is to replace old, inefficient appliances with new, more efficient ones. PG&E’s Marketplace is an online resource for customers shopping for energy-saving appliances and electronics. And, for more tips on saving energy this winter, visit

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and