As the holiday season progresses, most families have a great deal of stress. There are get-togethers to plan, cookies to be baked, lights to be hung, and in-laws to deal with. Your electric and heating bills may fall by the wayside, which could mean a rude shock come January. As such, consider this a helpful reminder to save on energy as the holiday season draws to a close.
Set Lights to a Timer
The peaceful glow of lights inside and outside your home add a pleasant festiveness to the season, but they can also pad your electric bill. Consider putting your lights on a timer so they come on only while everyone is awake enough to see them. If you don’t want to invest in a timer, just remember to turn them off before bed each night.
Save on Energy with LED Lights
You can get further savings on lighting by using LED light strands. These cost only a fraction of incandescent lights in terms of electricity usage, and while they might have a higher initial price tag, they’ll last longer and save electricity year after year.
Decorate with Candles
Another way to cut down on electricity is with candles. They require no electricity at all, and they can provide very attractive decor for the holidays. Indoors, they create an attractive, natural glow, and they can add a similar effect to your outdoor walkways when used in luminaries. Just be careful about lighting them near flammable items like drapes or Christmas trees.
Turn Your Thermostat Down
The cold season naturally means higher heating bills, but there are a few tricks that help you get away with turning the thermostat down a little. For instance, when you have company over, you’ll have more people producing body heat, meaning home heating may not be needed so much.
In addition, at night or when you’re out running errands, make sure the thermostat is turned down. Using a smart thermostat makes this much easier because they can be programmed to follow certain schedules or controlled through a smartphone.
Winterize Your House
A major way to save on energy this time of year is by winterizing your house. If you notice that your home is a little drafty, it could be worthwhile to seal your door frames or windows. If there’s cold air coming from the registers, your heating system may need a tune up or the air filters may need replacing. Additional tips on winterizing your house can be found here.
Not all your energy expenditures will be on your house. Travel is a major part of the holiday season, and even if you’re not planning any out-of-town trips this winter, you’ll still benefit from some advance planning.
When going shopping for food, gifts, or other holiday essentials, try to plan your trips so you have to make as few of them as possible. This will cut down on gas usage while also freeing up time for more important things, like visiting with family, making in-home preparations, or simply taking a rest from the constant running around.
Use the Right Appliance
While preparing delicious treats and meals for your family and friends, using the right appliance for the job can help save on energy as well. The cost of running an oven is far more than running a microwave or slow cooker, so if you can get away with using a smaller appliance, do so.
When you do use the oven, it may be worthwhile to turn down the thermostat to offset the costs, especially since a warm oven has a way of heating up the entire kitchen.
It may be that you won’t be home much during this time of year, in which case you can save on energy by turning off your thermostat while you’re away. In addition, various appliances constantly drain small amounts of electricity while they’re plugged in, so it could help keep electric costs down by unplugging those while you’re out of town. Some of the appliances you might want to unplug include the following:
- DVD or Blu-ray players
- Cordless phones
- Stereo and sound system
- Cable box
Some appliances can be hooked up together to a single surge protector, making it easy to switch off their passive power usage with the press of a button. Before heading out on vacation, just hit the switch and travel worry-free.
Don’t Overdo It
When it comes to saving on energy this holiday season, it’s best to go with options that don’t require much effort on your part. Specialized appliances may help, and there may be a few items you’ll want to remember, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself this time of year. Pick the options that work best for you, and have a happy and safe holiday season.
Using different strategies to save on energy over the holidays can help you reduce the costs of homeownership. Another way is through purchasing a home warranty. There are various plans available to homeowners, each of which can reduce replacement and repair costs on home appliances, heating and cooling, and other items. As the season progresses, it’s worth looking at the plans that are available.