Turn your heater down to 65. If you get cold, put on a sweatshirt or sweatpants. Invest in a pair of long underwear (about $10-12 at Target) or a fleece lounging suit ($10 on clearance at Target). Put an extra blanket or quilt on your bed.
If you are elderly and cannot get warm at 65 even with long underwear, turn it down as close as you can to save money.
If you can invest in a programmable thermostat, do so. Program the heater at a lower setting at night while sleeping or if the house is empty all day while you are at work. The most cost involved in heating is bringing a room/home from a low temperature to a high temperature. So if you’re only dealing with a couple hours, don’t change the thermostat setting.
Note: Growing up, my bedroom thermostat was at 54 degrees all day and night. That was as low as it went.
ENERGY SAVINGS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (PG&E)
If you are an income-qualfied renter or homeowner you may be eligible for the following services: improvements to your house, apartment, or mobile home (including compact flourescent lights, caulking, showerheads, minor home repair, and more).
If PG&E determines your existing natural gas units are inoperable or unsafe, you may be eligible to have your water heater or furnace repaired or replaced. Possible replacement of your old refrigerator.
All you need to do is phone 1-800-989-9744 to set up an appointment.
Each year your heater needs to be inspected for safety and to replace the filters.
Many people spend a lot of money to do this. PG&E will come out and do this for FREE. All you need to do is phone 1-800-743-5000 in the fall to set up an appointment. They will even replace/install the new filters as long as you provide them (available at your local hardware store).
Another PG&E free service is coming out to re-light your pilot light. If you are elderly, you need to let them know that you are elderly and how long the heat has been out. Elderly people without heat for a certain period of time have priority on scheduled calls.
RATE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Find out if your local government offers a discount program for elderly or low income customers. My mother saves a considerable amount by filling out a one page form each year.
A lot of heating/cooling escapes out your windows if they are not properly sealed (caulked). PG&E will come out and do this for FREE as part of their Energy Savings Assistance Program for income-qualified renters or homeowners. All you need to do is phone 1-800-989-9744 to set up an appointment. .