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This article is sponsored by SDG&E®. They're committed to creating ways to help you save energy and money.
With summer in full swing, many San Diego households will have higher energy use and bills. Air-conditioning, refrigerators working harder and pools all contribute to the increased expense, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to beat the heat and keep energy costs in your comfort zone. 
Monitor Your A/C
Central air-conditioning can be the biggest energy user. On average, A/C use accounts for up to 33 percent of your energy bill. You can keep energy costs down by regularly changing or cleaning the unit's filters and always setting it to 78°F between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Better yet, consider using ceiling or room fans instead of central A/C to save up to 90% on your cooling costs.
Trap Cold Air 
A big part of saving energy is keeping warm air out and not letting cool air escape. To do so, make sure your windows and doors are lined with weather stripping, and don't forget to keep them closed when your central A/C is running. 
Fix The Fridge 
Refrigerators can be another big energy user, gobbling up 20 percent of the energy your home uses. Help the old ice box run more efficiently by cleaning the coils, making sure the seals are nice and tight and maintaining the right temperature setting. And if your fridge is more than ten years old, consider replacing it with a new energy efficient model. In addition to rebates on new energy efficient models, you can recycle your old fridge or freezer for additional cash back and free pickup. 
Minimize Hot Water Use
To save energy wasted by your hot water heater, set the device's thermostat to approximately 120 degrees. Wash clothes and rinse dishes with cold water instead of hot and consider installing low-flow shower heads and faucet areators to help you save water and the energy used to heat it. 
Dim The Lights
Well, not literally, but you can save on energy costs all year-round with energy-efficient lighting. CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last up to ten times longer than incandescent lighting. And today's energy-efficient lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit every fixture in your home. 
Pool Rules 
If you own a pool or spa, you probably have higher than average energy bills. Investing in an energy-efficient pool pump can make a big difference. You'll not only save energy, but many models are eligible for a rebate from SDG&E. Other energy-saving tips for pool and spa owners include filtering for off peak times and investing in a pool or spa cover. By using a cover, you could see a significant savings on your heating costs. 
Beware of Energy Vampires
Lastly, off doesn't always mean off. Some products, like DVD players, office equipment, video games and phone chargers, continue to draw power even when they're turned off or in standby mode. If an electronic device has a glowing red or green light, chances are it's using phantom power. And depending on how many of these energy vampires you have around your house, this wasted energy can really add up. Inexpensive gadgets like energy use monitors, power timers and smart strips can help reduce phantom power and lower your energy use by up to 15 percent.
There are a lot of ways to save energy this summer. Take SDG&E's home energy efficiency survey to learn how your home is using energy and ways to save. Or, use their new energy management tool to track your usage by the hour, week or month. To get started, visit Saving energy is good for your budget and it's good for the planet. 
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