Energy saving tips for the winter season

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – The holiday season is here and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) wants to remind customers to be more energy-efficient this year by providing tips on how to stay warm while saving money.

“As we begin to see temperatures drop, it’s a good reminder to schedule an appointment to have home furnaces inspected,” said Caroline Winn, vice president of customer services for SDG&E. “Keeping all home gas appliances in good working order is essential to ensuring that they are running efficiently and safely.”

Although gas appliance maintenance is the homeowner’s responsibility, SDG&E will perform will perform appliance safety checks upon request. To schedule an appointment for a safety check call (800) 411-7343.

Tips on staying warm while saving money

• Since home heating typically accounts for more than half of the monthly winter gas bill, the best way to keep winter gas bills lower is to have gas appliances serviced and inspected. Remember, keeping all gas appliances in good working order helps them run efficiently and safely.

• Lower the furnace thermostat three to five degrees, health permitting. This can help save up to 30 percent on winter bills.

• Open curtains and/or blinds during the day to let the sun help warm the home; close them at night to keep the warm air in.

• Seal gaps around windows and doors using insulating tape or caulking strips to eliminate drafts.

Winter heating safety tips

SDG&E offers customers the following recommendations for safe and efficient operation of their natural gas appliances. (Reminder: never use your outdoor barbeque, range, or oven to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose. If used indoors they can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.)

• Vacuum and clean regularly around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint.

• Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Check the filter monthly for lint build-up during periods of furnace use and clean or replace, if necessary. Never store anything near a gas appliance that might interfere with normal appliance airflow.

• When installing a new or cleaned filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly. Never operate the furnace without the front panel door properly in place because doing so may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide safety tips

• Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal or wood, are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion. When incomplete combustion occurs, carbon monoxide is produced, and this can potentially lead to carbon monoxide poisoning to a family. A law is now in effect that requires California homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors. The early stages of carbon-monoxide poisoning produce unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion. Signs that may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide include a yellow, large and unsteady gas appliance burner flame (with the exception of decorative gas log appliances), an unusual pungent odor when the appliance is operating, and unexplained nausea, drowsiness and flu-like symptoms being experienced by residents of the home.

If it is suspected that carbon monoxide is present in the home, immediately turn off the suspected gas appliance, evacuate the premises, and call 911. Seek medical attention if anyone in the home experiences possible carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.

Don’t use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by SDG&E or a licensed, qualified professional.

For more information on operating a gas appliance safely, please visit SDG&E’s website at or call (800) 411-7343.

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