Make Your Home Efficient And Save Energy This Holiday Season
While the holiday season is a time for celebration and reflection, it is also one of the most expensive times of the year.
Between purchasing gifts, entertaining, and decorating, things can get hectic and expensive. Energy usage is one of the largest contributors to these seasonal costs, but there are numerous ways to save both energy and money this holiday season. With a little bit of effort and know-how, you can make changes that will make both your wallet and the environment happy.
- Choose LED lights – According to the Department of Energy, LED lights consume 70% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. They also last longer and are shatterproof, shock-resistant and cool to the touch, reducing the risk of a fire.
- Install a timer – When decking your house in holiday lights, use timer controls to lower energy consumption. Timer controls allow you to turn lights on and off at specific times, so you can stay in the holiday spirit during waking hours and save money when they switch off automatically after everyone goes to sleep.
- Use a power strip – Even with a timer to turn off the lights, anything that is plugged into an outlet will still use energy. Fix this by plugging your holiday decorations into a power strip and flipping the switch off the entire strip instead of just turning off the decoration. This cuts the path completely off, disabling any electronics from drawing energy when they’re not in use.
- Skip the preheating – Many holiday main courses require you to slow cook them for hours. So, if your dish is going to be cooking for four hours, you can skip the extra twenty minutes that it takes to preheat the oven; just put the dish in and let the oven heat up while it’s cooking. There won’t be a noticeable difference in your food, but you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time that the oven is on.
- Don’t peek – It can be tempting to check on your casserole every five minutes to make sure it’s getting perfectly crispy, but every time you open the oven door, you can lower the oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees. This can waste both energy and cooking time. Just check using the oven light to make sure your food isn’t burning. The same applies when cooking in the stove: keep the lid on the pots to keep the steam and heat in.
- Make the most of your tools – Do you have multiple items to cook? Let your oven do double-duty and put multiple dishes in at a time. This may make the food take a little bit longer to fully cook, but it won’t be nearly as long as cooking them separately. Also, make sure that you’re making the most out of your stove. Using a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can result in a 40% energy loss, so make sure you’re using appropriate-sized cookware for the amount of food you’re making.
- Draft-proof your home – When the weather gets cooler, heating needs to be operating a maximum efficiency. Weather-strip your doors so that they don’t let cold air in and warm air out and your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard. Make sure you also get your ducts checked to fix any leaks, as holes in your ductwork can account for a loss of over 20% of your home’s heating.
- Let in the light – While the sunlight hours are fewer in the wintertime, unless you live in Alaska, there is still light during the day. So instead of relying on artificial lighting, open the blinds to let the optimal amount of daylight come in. This helps you reduce energy wasted on using a light, plus it can help warm up the room from the sun’s rays.
- Weatherproof your windows – Windows can be responsible for as much as 10% of heat loss in your home. Install energy-efficient windows or enhance your current window’s efficiency by adding storm windows, caulking or weather-stripping.
- Adjust for parties – The holiday season means lots of parties and family gatherings, which means more opportunities to save energy. You may crank the heat up on a normal winter day but cut back when you have guests over. The body heat given off by having more people in the same room will be enough to make up the difference of turning the heat down a few degrees.
Ultimately, the holiday season can be an expensive time, but your energy bill doesn’t have to be the cause. If you’ve tried these tips and your bill is still more expensive than normal, there may be a bigger problem. The technicians at Mason Mechanical can help diagnose the problem and fix it quickly, so you can go back to enjoying the most wonderful time of the year.