Utility Rates Going Up: Tips to Save

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 1.26.41 PM.pngFor those of us in San Diego County- you’ve probably read or heard by now, we have the highest utility prices in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Not something to be too proud of.

I’ve been researching ways for us all to save money on our bills, and I promise that none of them are too kooky. No turning off your hot water heater, sitting in the dark, or wearing dirty clothes. Some of the things I found in my research were… sketchy.

We’re going to hit up all the areas of your home, And yes, we do all of these things in my home.

The Thermostat: The memes about parents controlling the thermostat are real. For Serious.

  • Turn your thermostat to 72-75 degrees, or better yet, turn it off. For most of us in Southern California, it’s usually flip-flop weather or sweater weather. We only turn on the heat when we know it’s going to be cold (like 55 or below), or turn the AC on when it’s going to be 90 or above.
  • Install a smart thermostat. We have an Ecobee, and there is an app for our phones to control the thermostat, so if I know it’s going to be hot or cold, I can set the thermostat to keep the house comfortable upon our return from time away.
  • This brings me to my next point- Utilize Ceiling fans and box fans to circulate the air in your home. Did you know there is a setting on your ceiling fan for summer, and the opposite direction is for winter? The counterclockwise rotation of the fan pulls warm air up and forces cool air down, perfect for the summer!
  • Is it going to be cold? Close your windows, but leave your drapes/blinds open. The sun will shine through the windows and heat up your home (A little, not like a sauna). You may still need socks, a sweater, and pants. These two tips may keep you from having to turn on your heater.
  • Is it going to be hot? Close the drapes/blinds early in the day before the weather heats up. Use fans to circulate to cool air. If it’s going to be dangerously hot and you have to be at home, close the windows and get the thermostat to 72-75. 75 degrees doesn’t sound cool, but when it’s 90+ degrees outside, it feels amazing.

Water Heater:

  • Your water heater does not need to be turned all the way up. Gen X-er’s will remember this PSA from Tweety Bird. Turn down the temperature on your water heater.
  • Make sure that your water is in good repair, that the closet or area in which it is housed is clean and free of debris or anything flammable. In California, the water heater needs to be up off the ground and braced with earthquake bracing straps.


  • Only run full loads of laundry.
  • Utilize the various cycles on your washer to make sure an appropriate amount of water (and the correct temp) are being used.
  • Use the correct amount of soap/detergent (more is NOT better). If your clothes are not getting clean the first time, that is also a waste of electricity/gas.
  • Line or hang dry clothes if the weather permits. We live in a 2nd-floor condo that does not permit external drying lines, but we have a retractable laundry line in the laundry closet where we can hang up clothes that are labeled tumble dry low or hang dry. It was very easy to install.
  • Lacking space? We also have a collapsible drying rack too.  We use it for pants mostly. It folds up and lives in the laundry closet when not in use. When we are using it, it is in the bathtub (mostly to keep the cat from messing with it).

All over the house:

  • Keep the lights off during the daytime. Open the drapes/blinds and take advantage of the natural light.
  • Going into a room with no natural light (like the bathroom or kitchen)? Turn the lights on when entering, and flip them off when you leave the room.
  • Unplug devices/appliances when not in use. Obviously, I’m not talking about your fridge, washer, or dryer. Toaster ovens, microwaves, and unplugging the cellphone and other device chargers when not in use. Most devices still draw power when not in use but remain plugged in. If you don’t want to go around plugging and unplugging, you can invest in smart plugs, like these. We have these on our Toaster Oven, microwave, printer, TV, Nordic Track, and PS4.

Programs to save money:

  • SDG&E has several programs to help you save money on your bills. CARE and FERA are programs that can save you 18-30% on your bills. More information and how to apply can be found here.
  • If you are a senior and have qualifying medical equipment in your home, you may qualify for a medical baseline discount from SDG&E. More information and how to apply can be found here.
  • Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.02.27 PM We use OHM Connect to save additional money on our SDG&E bill. Once you sign up, you will be alerted when the demand for energy increases. If you cut down on power usage during those peak times, you will not only reduce your power bill but also receive points from OHM Connect that can be redeemed for cash back via PayPal or gift cards (I usually get Target Gift cards). Ohm Connect is available in CA, Texas, and New York!