There’s no doubt about it…the holiday season is upon us! With glad tidings, warm wishes, and holiday blessings come holiday parties, holiday lights, holiday feasts — all things holiday. Those merrymaking holiday things may bring about a hefty power bill, but keep reading to learn how to keep your energy consumption low and your spirits high!
How To Save Energy While Cleaning
Whether it’s dishes from feasts or laundry from family, the holidays seem wracked with cleaning. This means a lot of us may experience a spike in power usage that could put a dent in your holiday spending.
Here are a few ways to save a few bucks while keeping the party house tidy:
- Doing Laundry
Only run your washer and dryer when you have a full load of laundry to do.
Otherwise, you’re using power AND water more frequently — and we know what that can do to your utility bills.
Use the right settings to accommodate the type of load you’re washing and drying.
If you’re not careful, you may have to wash or dry that load twice. Then you’d be undoing the whole “energy efficiency” thing one cycle at a time.
Wash with cold water as frequently as you can to reduce the energy used.
Washing machines and detergents have come a long way since they became a “thing,” enabling us to get clean clothes and linens without needing lava-level temperatures of water. Some stains or fabrics may require warm water, so check the labels or severity of the stain before throwing that load in.
- In the Kitchen
This one may be a little obvious, but we can’t NOT mention it: bake more than one thing at a time! And for the love of all things pumpkin spice – keep the oven door closed! Each time you crack the door to check on what’s inside, you lose valuable heat that the oven has to work to recover.
On that same note – if your oven is relatively updated, you shouldn’t need to wait to preheat the oven. Throw all you can in at the start and add a few extra minutes to your timer. A lot of energy is wasted while you wait!
You can also save some money by turning the oven off 10 or 15 minutes early. If you don’t open the door (for reasons mentioned above,) your food will continue to cook without the oven actually running.
If side dishes are your task for the family feast, be sure to keep the lids on your pots! Capturing all that heat will only help your food cook more quickly and efficiently.
If you’re waking from a feast-induced slumber and are looking for the leftovers (the BEST part!), do yourself and your power bill a favor and use the microwave to reheat some grub as compared to firing up the stove. Doing so can reduce energy usage by 50% or more!
If you have a dishwasher, then use it! According to Energy Star, certified dishwashers use less than 4 gallons of water per wash cycle. The average time a human uses to hand wash just ONE dish? 15 seconds, which translates into about a half gallon of water if the faucet is left open. In short – load the dishwasher and run it!
BEWARE! If your dishwasher has a “Heat Dry” option, DON’T USE IT! Some dishwashers nowadays are equipped with an air-dry setting, so if yours has one, you can increase savings by using it as compared to the built-in heater dishwashers may have.
Don’t have an air dry option? No worries, just open the door after the final rinse cycle and let your dishes air dry.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, then be sure to fill your sink with hot, soapy water to scrub and rinse in instead of running the faucet the entire time (or most of it.) Running tap water uses about four gallons of water every two minutes (remember: that’s the total amount of water needed by an Energy Star certified dishwasher to run one cycle.)
How to Save While You’re Decorating
- Holiday Lights
Another quick and easy upgrade – LED lights. Everywhere. If you haven’t made the jump to them, you’re using about 90% more electricity than those who use LED lights during the holidays.
More light savings can be had with automatic timers or smart plugs. They let you schedule when lights turn on and off without having to think about it (or whether or not you turned them off before going to bed!)
- Use Candles to Your Advantage
Even MORE savings can be had if you choose to use candles to decorate with. The warm, cozy, ambience of the glow of candles during the holidays just makes the money savings that much sweeter (bonus savings if you have and use your fireplace!)
- Flip Switches
If you have a Christmas tree decorated and lit like Rockefeller Center – use that to your advantage and turn your overhead lights and other lamps off! Let the Christmas tree lights do the work for you (and give you some blissful ambiance in the process!)
Keeping Your Home Comfortable
- Stay Warm While Keeping It Cool
There are only so many pieces of clothing you can remove to cool off during the summertime before the police are called…but thankfully, that’s not an issue during the winter! So do your HVAC a solid and keep the house a bit cooler during the winter months.
Your HVAC system will thank you for the break while you’re showing off your brand-new knit sweater (or pink bunny onesie) from Grandma. This is also the perfect time to break out the cozy sweatpants and blankets you keep stashed in the back of the closet.
- Use Body Heat to Your Advantage
Keeping your heater on a lower temperature when you have company over will also help your power bill take a chill pill. The natural body heat of your guests will heat rooms up for you. We’re sure they won’t mind!
- Crack the Door
If you happen to be using your oven, crack the door when you’re all done cooking and let the heat from it warm the space you’re in.
- Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…
Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace – don’t be afraid to use it! It’ll add to the whole “ambiance” thing we talked about previously.
When it’s not in-use, make sure you close the damper, otherwise cold air will seep in and cause your heater to kick on when you may not need it to.
Mind the Power “Grinch”
Whether you’re home for the holidays or plan on spending them away, it’s always a good idea to unplug unused appliances. These “phantom energy loads,” leech power even though they’re technically “off.” Everything from clocks and phone chargers to TVs, gaming consoles, printers, and computers qualify as Power Grinches, so take time to go through the house and ensure they’re not stealing your power!
You can also save yourself some trouble with the Power Grinch and get a Bluetooth power strip. Utilizing one (or some) of these will let you turn off electricity to all the things you don’t need or aren’t in use right from your phone, saving you a few bucks in the meantime.
Happy Holidays from Energypro
Whether you’re staying home or going on a holiday vacation, there are plenty of things you can do to be more efficient during the holidays. We just hope you and yours stay happy and healthy this holiday season.
If you have any questions about home energy efficiency during the holidays, or are interested in energy efficiency upgrades like attic insulation, air sealing, or a Google Nest Learning Thermostat, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.