Staff Report

As hot weather lingers this fall, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is offering suggestions for five simple ways to lower air conditioner costs.

“The harder the air conditioner works, the greater the energy cost. We want our customers to know there are simple and inexpensive ways to prevent their monthly energy bill from spiking during hot … months,” said Vincent Davis, senior director of customer energy solutions at PG&E.

  • Use ceiling fans, which keep air circulating and allow the thermostat to be raised several degrees while keeping the home just as comfortable. However, remember to turn them off when leaving. Fans move air, not cool it, so they waste energy if left on when no one is at home or work.
  • Shade and clear the area around the AC unit to keep the system cooler, while ensuring the air flow isn’t blocked. Also, keep the area around the AC system clear and free of overgrown vegetation or other items that could impact equipment efficiency. 
  • Reducing the sunlight that streams in through windows, which can raise the indoor temperature. Planting shade trees outside windows can curb encroaching sunlight, and blackout shades or curtains can be a low-cost option.
  • Replace filters as needed, because dirty air filters make the air conditioner work harder to circulate the air.
  • Avoid cooking indoors during extreme heat, or at least use low-heat-emitting appliances such as microwaves and crock pots. Cooking with an oven or on a stovetop generates more heat, which strains AC systems.