It’s the most wonderful (and hectic) time of the year! Between gift-giving, celebrations, and winter setting in, most families see their household expenses go up during the holidays. The last thing you want to worry about is kicking off the new year with a surprise electricity bill.
Fortunately, there are a few simple tips to keep your costs in check this year.
1. Turn the thermostat down.
Remember that even in the winter, your HVAC is responsible for a significant portion of your electricity use. Turning the heat one or two degrees lower, especially at night when you’re asleep, can make a difference. If you’re entertaining, you can comfortably turn the heat down a few more degrees because using the oven and stove as well as having a home full of people will naturally warm your home.
2. Heat with HVAC not the fireplace.
Central heating beats a fireplace for efficiency if not for ambiance. We love a good fire in the fireplace, especially since Texas doesn’t get too many cold days. However, if the temperature does really drop, your home will actually stay warmer if you stick with the HVAC instead of relying on your fireplace because as much cold air enters your home via the flue as the fire generates.
3. Put LED lighting on a timer.
Decorating your home with LED holiday lights is much more energy efficient. You can find a variety of fun new lighting styles with programmable features, or even go retro as some of the lights mimic incandescent lighting. Also, putting the lights on a timer will ensure that they are on – and consuming energy – only when you want them to be.
4. Nudge down your hot water heater.
Between hosting parties and perhaps welcoming overnight guests, we often use more hot water this time of year than normal. Turn your hot water heater down ten degrees to reduce your energy costs by 3 to 5 percent without noticing much of a difference.
5. Plan ahead.
Plan your trips in advance and combine errands to reduce the amount of time you spend behind the wheel. You can avoid some of the holiday traffic and minimize your gas usage (or electricity usage if you’re plugging in your car!).
Enjoy the season, and happy energy saving!