Here come the holidays, and if you’re like many Americans who like to do it up in style, big energy bills will follow. Between lighting up your house and tree with festive string lights and cooking the Christmas ham and all that goes with it, saving energy should be a major priority this holiday season, and these helpful tips will put you on the track for significant savings.
Lighting Up the Holidays
If your large-bulbed, colored string lights are older than 10 years, it’s time to replace them with more efficient lights. While newer models of C7 and C9 bulbs use about five to seven watts per bulb, those ancient ones can use up to 10 watts per bulb. They also tend to burn hot, which can be a fire hazard.
New mini lights are far more efficient than the larger bulbs, and if you opt for LED lights, which are more expensive but last years and years longer, you’ll save up to 90 percent on your holiday lighting bills.
Make sure the lights you purchase contain the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) label, which ensures they meet stringent safety requirements. You’ll also want to be sure to get lights that are labeled for indoor, outdoor, or indoor/outdoor use, depending on where you will use them.
Before putting up older lights, check for damaged wires, sockets, and bulbs, and replace any strings that are in poor shape. Never use a power strip to plug in multiple strings of lights.
Cooking Up a Storm
Between Christmas cookies, party fare, and the feast on Christmas Day, your kitchen will probably getting plenty of use. There are a number of ways you can save energy in the kitchen this holiday season.
Instead of opening the oven door to check on the roast beast, turn on the light and look through the window. Opening the door for just a moment can lower the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees, extending cooking time and using more energy.
Whenever possible, bake more than one dish at the same time, or bake one item right after the other to take advantage of the already-heated oven.
Keep the burners on your stovetop clean for better and more even heating and to save energy. If your reflectors are old or grimy, replace them with new ones, which can reduce the amount of energy the stovetop uses by 1/3.
Consider cooking some of your dishes in the microwave, which uses 50 percent less energy than a conventional oven. You can also use your slow cooker, which costs about 20 cents for a whole meal, or an electric skillet, which uses 1/3 less energy than the stove.
You’ll probably be in and out of the refrigerator getting ingredients and putting things away. Opening the fridge door for 30 seconds lowers the temperature by about 10 degrees, which warms the food and makes your refrigerator work harder to cool it back down. Still, it’s better to open the door for a longer period of time to get more items than to open and close it more frequently.
Comfort Control Inc. wishes you a happy, energy efficient holiday season. For more holiday energy saving tips, please feel free to contact us.