Save on your utility bill with an energy audit

7 On Your Side
July 17, 2008 7:26:08 PM PDT
You can put some hard-earned cash back into your pocketbook and help the environment at the same time. 7 On Your Side looks at how cut down on your PG&E bill.

Most of us already know how to do it, but with our busy lives and everyday routines, many don't get around to it. Yet, it's never been easier.

We visited Gerri Buccellato's home in Antioch while PG&E contractor Ronald Hamilton conducted a free energy audit.

Hamilton looked for places where air and heat could be escaping the house -- wasting both energy and money. A cracked window, a doggie door, even a light panel are all places where energy can escape.

"And in the winter time, if you put your hand up next to a light switch, sometimes you can feel that cold air actually coming in," says Hamilton with Quality Conservation Services.

Not only can Hamilton point out places where you might be losing energy, he'll arrange to fix it for free. It's part of the PG&E Energy Partners Program.

"Last year alone, 62,000 customers benefited from this program. So it's quite widespread and every year its growing," says Tamar Sarkisian with PG&E.

The program will even replace your old light bulbs with energy saving CFL bulbs. If your refrigerator was manufactured more than 15 years ago, you could get a new one.

"They were great. He gave me information that I knew nothing about," says Buccellato. "I'm sure I'm finally saving a couple of thousand dollars at least."

Hamilton also signed Gerri up for the Care Program which will automatically cut 20 percent off her monthly utility bill. Both the Care and the Energy Partners Program are only open to qualifying residents based on income. However, everyone can do similar things to cut their own energy bills.

"If you're buying new appliances, make sure they're Energy Star. If you are, a lot of times you're going to get rebates," says Hamilton.

A simple thing like replacing old light bulbs with CFLs could cut your energy bill 75 cents a month per bulb. Weather stripping your doors and windows is also a good idea.

"You can go to www.pge.com and there's a tool online where you can actually do your own home energy audit. It gives you step-by-step tips on where to look, what to do," says Sarkisian.

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