Skip to content Accessibility info

First West Insurance Blog

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

Energy-Saving Tips for California Homes

With the cost of utility bills constantly on the rise in Southern California, residents of Orange County are always on the lookout for ways to use less energy. Consuming less gas, water, and electricity saves money, and it’s good for the planet too. Here are the best energy-saving tips you can use in your home starting today.

Use Native Plants in Your Landscaping

Native plants grow in the region naturally, rather than being imported from elsewhere. The beauty of Southwestern native plants is that they tolerate sun, wind, and drought well, so you don’t have to water as often. They are also more resistant to undesirable insects, so you don’t have to use pesticides, but many will attract beneficial butterflies, bees and birds.

To reduce your water use, resist the temptation to grow a lawn. Instead, try xeriscaping, using rock gardens and cactus gardens.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat lets you have your heat or air conditioning come on automatically when you need them most. When you’re away from home or sleeping, you can set the thermostat higher or lower to avoid wasting energy.

These days many programmable thermostats can be controlled remotely from a mobile device. So if you wind up staying later at work or want to come home early, you can adjust your thermostat accordingly for your comfort.

Want to save even more money on your electric bill? Southern California Edison (SCE), which services Orange County, offers substantial rebates on certain models of programmable thermostats. They also provide free thermostats to people who qualify for their subsidized initiatives.

Make Sure Your Home Is Well Insulated

You can lose a great deal of heating or cooling energy to the outdoors by not having a well-insulated home. As well as insulating your walls and roof, make sure there are no gaps around your doors and windows. Using thermal windows will further reduce energy loss. Also, don’t forget to keep your garage door closed, as garages are a common place to see wasted energy.

Switch to LED Lighting

If you’re still using old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the energy savings afforded by LED bulbs. In fact, it’s hard to find incandescent bulbs now in California.

Although they cost a bit more upfront, LED bulbs last much longer than other types of bulbs before they wear out. Additionally, they consume less electricity because they don’t get hot as incandescent bulbs do. Being cooler to the touch also makes LED bulbs safer around the house.

Replace Energy-Hogging Appliances

Old appliances can be a real drain on your electric bill. So it’s a worthwhile investment to replace these appliances with Energy Star Certified units, especially if you notice a sudden jump in your utility bill. An electric usage monitor, easily purchased online or at home supply stores, can tell you how much energy an appliance uses. Simply plug the monitor into your outlet and plug the appliance into the monitor.

Turn Down Your Water Heater

Your water heater can be another energy hog. Anything over 120 degrees Fahrenheit puts users at risk of scalding injuries, and lower than that can encourage the growth of bacteria in your tank. So, shoot for 120 and not higher. For greater cost savings, replace your conventional water boiler with a tankless on-demand heater that supplies hot water as you need it, without running all the time.

Making improvements to your home may mean you need to increase your home insurance coverage. To make sure you’re fully protected or to find a policy better tailored to your needs, call First West Insurance at 714-842-2523 to speak with one of our independent agents. Or, reach out online at your leisure to start a quote.