Twelve Tips for an Energy Efficient Home for the Holidays
It may be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but the holiday season also happens to be the time of the year when homeowners use more energy than normal. Between turning up the heat, plugging in holiday decorations, and using your oven more often, you may start to see your energy bill skyrocket during the winter season. If you want to reduce your energy costs, you’ll need to be more careful about your energy usage. Below, we’ll give you some simple tips for saving energy during the holidays.
1. Transition to LED Lighting and Timers – Switching to LED lights can reduce energy consumption and save you money. LED lights are 80-90% more efficient than traditional lights plus are shatterproof, shock-resistant, cool to the touch, and last longer. Add a timer to your LED lights to optimize your energy savings. Customize your lighting systems to turn on and off when you’re home so you can enjoy the lights and savings all season.
2. Turn Down the Heat When You’re Entertaining – When your family and friends are over for the holidays, turn your thermostat down a few degrees. The reduction in temperatures will be offset by your guests giving off body heat.
3. Don’t Open the Oven Door – When checking the progress of the oven, use the oven light instead of opening the door every time. Each time you open the door, you can lower the oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees which will waste energy and could add cooking time to your delicious meal.
4. Fire Up the Grill – If you live in a warmer climate state, consider cooking your main entrees, like turkey or ham, on the grill or in a smoker. Not only will this save you money on electricity compared to using the oven, but it also won’t heat up your home.
5. Make Sure the Dishwasher is Fully Loaded – To optimize the efficiency of your dishwasher, only run it when it is fully loaded. Switching to an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher can also help save, on average, 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.
6. Avoid Energy Vampires – Even when some appliances are off, they are still consuming energy. According to the Department of Energy, vampire appliances and electronics account for 10% of energy used in an average home. Common appliances like computers, TVs, surround sound systems, cable/satellite boxes, and household items with a clock (microwave, DVD players, etc) are the biggest culprits of using vampire energy. If you’re leaving town for the holidays, save some energy by unplugging these items.
7. Light a Fire – If you happen to have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, the holidays are a great time to use it. Not only can it reduce your reliance on electric heat or other methods, it creates a lovely gathering place for your family and friends. Not to mention, with a real yule log warming your room, you won’t have to watch one on TV—saving you even more electricity. You may also want to try having a candlelight dinner. You’ll save a little in electricity with the lights off and seriously improve your ambiance.
8. Buy Energy-Efficient Gifts – If you’re gifting electronics this year, consider buying ENERGY STAR Certified products. Electronics, appliances, lighting, and office equipment all receive ENERGY STAR labeling and can use up to 60% less electricity than non ENERGY STAR labeled products.
9. Be Mindful of Energy Use – Winter break means the kids will be home more, making the holiday season a great time to remind kids to shut off TVs they aren’t watching, not take 45-minute hot showers and to have an idea of what they might want out of the refrigerator instead of standing in front of it with the door open. A Smart Home Monitor, like the one Elevation specializes in, can help you recognize in real-time what electronics/appliances are causing your usage to soar. Let the ESM keep your home under control without the worry or hassle of nagging the kids or visiting in-laws.
10. Circulate the Air – Ceiling and table fans can increase airflow and keep rooms from getting stuffy. In the colder months, switch ceiling fans to the clockwise position to draw up and then recirculate warm air.
11. Practice Smart Food Storage – Allow your food to cool before placing them in your refrigerator. Putting piping hot food into the fridge can raise the internal temperature and cause it to work overtime to cool it back down. Placing food in a shallow container will also allow it to chill quicker.
12. Rechargeable Batteries – Are you giving a gift that requires batteries? Consider buying rechargeable batteries as well. Over 33 million pounds of batteries are sent to landfills every year. These batteries only need to be replaced every 3-5 years which makes them better for the environment and your wallet.
Is your home Energy Efficient for the Holidays? Stop worrying about rising energy costs, and get cozy this Holiday season with family and friends. A certified home energy audit is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to pinpoint where energy inefficiencies are occurring. By identifying and fixing these inefficiencies, a home can typically save up to 20% of heating and cooling costs. Schedule your free audit here.