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Save Energy This Holiday Season

Holiday family

The holidays are a special time of year, but all of the cooking, baking and decorative lighting displays may increase your monthly utility costs. The following tips will help you save energy this holiday season.

Decorative displays

Holiday lights and inflatable decorations use a significant amount of energy. With a little planning, you can have a dazzling display that will leave little impact on your energy bill:

  • Use energy-efficient mini lights or light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights, instead of traditional C7 or C9 bulbs.
  • Turn off holiday lights and inflatable yard decorations late at night and whenever you are away from home. A programmable timer adds convenience and can help optimize savings.
  • Consider using fewer lights and decorating with flowers, wreaths and other non-energy using alternatives. 
  • Use fiber optic decorations; most fiber optic trees and decorations are illuminated by a single bulb.

In the kitchen

Meals are an important part of holiday celebrations, but the energy used for cooking, baking and dish washing can really add up. Save energy by making a few simple changes:

  • Do not preheat the oven for foods requiring several hours of cooking time. When preheating is necessary, heat to the exact temperature required.
  • Avoid opening the oven door while food is cooking; it can lower the temperature inside the oven as much as 25°F, wasting energy and increasing cooking time. Use the window on the oven door to check food.
  • Use glass and ceramic baking dishes; they retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.
  • Bake several batches of cookies or bake more than one pie at a time.
  • Cook on the range top instead of the oven whenever possible; range-top cooking generally uses less energy.
  • Use the lowest possible setting for range top cooking and keep pots and pans covered to prevent heat loss.

Travel

If you travel to visit family or friends during the holidays, your empty house will continue to use energy while you are away. Follow these steps to give your utility bill a break:

  • Lower the thermostat when you leave. The recommended temperature setting is 60°F, but you may want to adjust it higher or lower, depending on your insulation levels and local climate.
  • Use timers on lights inside and outside your home; this will save energy and provide security.
  • Turn your water heater to the lowest possible setting; otherwise it will waste energy by continuing to operate as usual.

Following these money-saving strategies after the holidays are over and you'll appreciate the lower utility costs all year long.

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