5 Energy Saving Tips for the Holidays

Posted by Wattson on Dec 10, 2015

holiday energy saving tips

Did you know that the holiday season is one of the most energy expensive times of the year? Between the cold weather and the holiday decorations, those energy bills can really sneak up on you. Follow these energy saving tips and your low energy bills will give you something else to celebrate this holiday season.

Cut down on your holiday light display

The bigger, the better. Right? While a huge holiday light display may impress your neighbors, you won’t be too pleased when you see your utility bill next month. One of the easiest ways to cut down on spending is to decrease the size of your display. You’ll still pack a punch with half as many lights and you’ll be saving a bundle. Another option that will prevent your string lights from sabotaging your budget is to switch from incandescent lights to LED lights. LED lights use 90% less energy than traditional string lights and cost about $10. Once you’ve downsized your display and begun using more energy-efficient lighting, don’t forget about turning them on. Your lights will have little visual impact during the day so only turn them on at night, and don’t leave them running for more than 6 hours. If you’re the kind of person who likes to “set it and forget it”, purchase an inexpensive timer that will do all the leg work for you. All you need to do is set the timer for when you want the lights to go on and plug your lights into it.

Lower your thermostat

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re home, and lowering it by 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours while you’re sleeping or away from home. Doing so can save you 5% to 15% a year on your energy bill. We all know that New England winters can be really chilly, so if you’re tempted to turn up the heat, try throwing on an extra layer or blanket. Are you throwing a holiday party at your home? Turn down the thermostat before your guests arrive and take advantage of the extra body heat. You’ll save energy and prevent your guests from feeling like they’re overheating.

Run a full dishwasher

Holidays are all about good food and good people. Unfortunately, washing a kitchen full of dishes is always the aftermath. You could gather everyone into the kitchen and wash them by hand as long as you don’t leave the hot water running. Or you could take the more time-efficient method of loading them into the dishwasher. According to one study, running a dishwasher at full capacity uses 37% less water than washing dishes by hand. Want to save even more? Let your dishes air dry instead of using the dry cycle. This can reduce power consumption by 20%.

Avoid the oven

Your oven consumes a lot of energy every time it’s turned on, so this holiday, vow to use it sparingly. If you plan on doing some holiday baking, multitask and bake several things at once. For example, throw in dinner while your dessert is cooking. Heating up leftovers from holiday feasts? Try using smaller appliances such as the microwave or toaster oven instead of warming up the entire oven. Are you crunched for time but still want a delicious home-cooked meal? A crock pot reduces your active cooking time and your energy consumption.

Unplug unused devices

The holiday season is full of fun new devices that can put a huge dent in your energy bill if you’re not careful. Even though leaving your phone charger or hair dryer plugged in at all times makes your life a little easier, these “energy vampires” use energy even when they’re not in use. Did you know that the average American household spends about $100 a year on electronics that aren’t in use? Prevent this from happening by unplugging electronics you’re not using (even if they’re turned “off”) or switching to a power strip. A power strip will help you avoid the hassle of constantly unplugging your devices and will allow you to power off all electronics with the flip of a switch.

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