Article 1: Keep holiday light decorating safe, efficient, festive and fun
More than 86 percent of Americans decorate their homes as part of their winter holiday celebrations.* Cut down on their energy use during the holidays by making smart lighting choices.
Energy.gov cites many reasons to choose LED holiday lighting over incandescent lights. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs, they’re brighter, eco-friendly, and are safer, as they are much cooler than incandescent lights. They are easy to install—up to 24 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket. They last ten times longer and have no filaments or glass to break.
Stay safe during the holidays with these tips:
- Get reflective. Shiny ornaments, tinsel and mirrors multiply the effects of your lighting without using more energy. Keep tinsel away from pets though. Don’t forget non-electric wreaths, garland and reflective menorahs.
- Hang lighting correctly. Make sure that no cords will be pinched by furniture or placed under rugs, furniture or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire.
- Be safe outdoors. When climbing ladders to string lights, check for overhead power lines and stay at least 10 feet away. Never place yourself or any object in a way that risks contact with power lines—the result can be fatal.
- Trim trees. Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, ensure tree limbs haven’t grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines.
- Put your tree in a safe location. Don’t place your holiday tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks.
- Check condition of lights. Inspect light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard damaged sets of lights.
- Read the labels. Be sure to check each product label to see whether the lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use. Don’t use indoor lights outdoors.
* Consumer survey from the Electrical Safety Foundation International
Article 2: Winter energy-savings tips
Want to save energy this winter? There are many steps you can take that will help reduce your overall energy costs. The more efficient your home is and the less energy that is transferred from inside to outside, the less energy it’ll take to keep your home comfortable – even in the coldest part of the year.
Greener Ideal, an environmental news publication, recommends these winter energy-savings tips:
- Sunshine is your friend! It’s an excellent natural warmer for your home. Open the curtains and blinds on west- and east-facing windows during the day to allow as much sunshine as possible into your home. Then draw your curtains closed at night to insulate your home from the winter night chill.
- Check your insulation. Insulation is like the winter coat for your house. The heavier it is, the warmer it will be. If your home is poorly insulated, it may be time to add some eco-friendly insulation. Add insulation blankets to the attic floor or wrap your water heater in fiberglass insulation.
- Seal leaks. A leaky home in a wasteful home, so find those vulnerable areas of your home where cold air gets in and warm air escapes. The most likely culprits are unsealed doors and windows. Seal leaks with weather stripping to prevent warm air leaving your home. Ensure seals around ducts are in good condition, too. Cover unused fireplaces to prevent passage of air through the flue.
- Turn down the thermostat. Perhaps the most energy-conscious choice a homeowner can make is to have a programmable thermostat installed. You can set the unit to run at one temperature when you’re home and awake, another while you’re sleeping, and yet another when you’re not home. Save $75 through SDG&E’s instant rebate program by visiting sdge.com/instant.
- Keep those tootsies warm. An energy-efficient way to keep your home warm in the winter is to switch to underfloor heating or a radiant heating system. Underfloor heaters use radiant heating to warm the entire room from the ground up. Heat travels upward which makes a floor heater more efficient than a heater with ducts placed near the ceiling.
Article 3: Stay connected, stay informed
Want to stay in-the-know about your monthly SDG&E bill or energy spending? Enroll in our alerts via email or text. To participate, you’ll need an online account. Learn more at sdge.com/alerts. There are 4 types of alerts you can subscribe to. Choose one or choose them all!
Usage alerts – when your pre-set electric or gas use level was exceeded
Billing alerts – when you move into a higher-priced electric tier
Budget alerts – when your pre-set spending goal was exceeded
Weekly energy use alert – a summary with energy-saving tips
If you’re already signed up for alerts, please verify your contact info on myaccount.sdge.com is still current.