12 Days of Energy Saving Tips
1. Use LED lights. Replace your old strands of holiday lights with new LEDs. These energy-efficient bulbs use about 70 percent less energy than incandescent light strands and can last up to 40 times longer. While LED bulbs are more expensive upfront, they will cost you less over the long run. A strand of incandescent C9 bulbs will cost about $13.33 to operate during the holiday season, while a strand of LED bulbs will cost just $0.13. LED light bulbs are also much studier, cool to the touch and more strands can be strung end-to-end without overloading an outlet.
2. Try solar lights outside. Many manufacturers now make Christmas-theme pathway lights that run off solar energy. These are a great addition to your holiday décor and won’t add to your electric bill!
3. Turn off the lights. Holiday lights inside and out can make the season feel more festive, but they shouldn’t be left on all the time. Turn off your Christmas lights (inside and out) when you leave the house or turn in for the night. There’s no point in leaving them on if no one will see them, plus it could be a fire hazard.
4. Close the fireplace damper. If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed whenever the fireplace isn’t in use. Keeping it open is like keeping a window open on cold months. Your heat will escape right out the chimney, making your heater work harder and your holiday energy bill rise.
5. Save energy in the kitchen. With baking and large meals, the holidays are probably the busiest time of the year for your kitchen. And because many of your kitchen tools use electricity, it can be the most energy-consuming too. Fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to save energy in your kitchen. For example, use a more energy efficient small appliance, such as a slow cooker, instead of your oven to cook a meal. Make sure you never open the oven to check on a dish, which lowers the oven temperature by 25° each time. Use the light instead. And use the right size pan on your stovetop burner. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can cause 40 percent heat loss.
6. Buy energy efficient gifts. When you’re shopping for Christmas gifts, keep energy savings in mind. A gift that saves energy could keep giving year-round in the form of a lower electric bill. Look for Energy Star certified electronics, solar powered gadgets and tools with rechargeable batteries. Check out our energy saving gift guide for more ideas.
7. Turn the heat down. Whenever you turn the heater on this holiday season, make sure you keep it at an energy-saving setting. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at 68 degrees during the winter months. If you’re hosting a party, you can turn the heat down even more, as the extra heat from your guests will warm your home.
8. Seal your windows. Use weatherstripping and caulk to ensure your windows are properly sealed for the winter. This simple project will reduce drafts to keep your home more comfortable on cold days.
9. Take advantage of the sun. On cold days, keep your blinds and curtains open to allow the sun’s heat into your home. Make sure you close them when the sun goes down to reduce the chill from cold windows.
10. Buy rechargeable batteries and an Energy Star certified battery charger. Many gifts require batteries, and we recommend you purchase the rechargeable kind. With an Energy Star certified battery charger, your family could reduce the cost of powering these gadgets. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more energy-efficient battery chargers would save American families more than $170 million each year.
11. Send your water heater on vacation. If you’re traveling over the holidays, there’s no reason for your water heater to keep working. Many models have a “vacation mode” which turns off or reduces the thermostat setting while you’re away. Doing this before your travel ensures the water heater isn’t heating water that won’t be used.
12. Unplug electronics. Unused devices still use power, even if they are “off”. To ensure electronics don’t use your electricity, unplug them from the wall when they aren’t in use. Or, plug them into a power strip that can be switched off easily.