It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The holiday season is full of exciting traditions and fun things you can do with your family and friends. Often, however, the holidays are also one of the most expensive times of the year. When you already have to worry about the costs of gifts, elegant meals, and travel expenses, it makes sense to try to save as much money as possible wherever you can. Many families spend much more on their electricity costs during the holidays than is actually necessary. Here are a few tips for some ways you can lower your energy bills while still keeping your home festive and merry.
Upgrade Your Lights –
If you are still using holiday lights that are more than five years old, they may be costing you a bundle on your electric bill. By upgrading your Christmas decorations to newer LED lights or strings of miniature lights, you can save up to 90 percent off your holiday energy costs. Another cheap option to illuminate your home or yard is to use fiber optic decorations. These lights typically just have one bulb to light the entire unit, which can equate to quite the energy savings. Whereas these more energy-efficient lighting options used to be much more expensive, their prices have plummeted in recent years as they start to become the norm.
Use a Timer –
There’s no reason to keep your Christmas lights on when no one will be able to enjoy them. As a rule, it’s a good idea to turn your lights on when it gets dark and then to unplug them before you go to bed. If you aren’t great at remembering to turn your lights off at the end of the night, however, you should put them on a timer that will do it automatically. By getting rid of the chance that you might accidentally leave your lights burning all night or all day, you may be able to significantly lower your electricity bills.
Cook Your Meals Efficiently –
The holidays have a reputation for being filled with great food you can enjoy with your family. Often, however, the preparation of these meals can use a lot of electricity. There are several ways you can make your holiday cooking more efficient by simply altering the way you use your kitchen appliances. For starters, try to avoid using your oven except for when it is absolutely necessary. Certain dishes cook just as well in your microwave, and you may be able to cut your energy costs by as much as 50 percent by doing so. Another great option for your big holiday meal is to cook it in the slow cooker. You can prepare an entire turkey or ham dinner in the Crock Pot, and it will literally only cost you pennies in electricity costs. One final way to ensure energy savings in the kitchen is to be conscious about the foods you cook on your electric stove. Always try to match the size of the pan to the size of your burner so as not to waste excess electricity.
Watch the Thermostat –
When you have a large group of people over during the holidays, it can be hard to agree on an acceptable temperature for the thermostat. In order to ensure the greatest energy savings, however, it’s best to set your heating system to about 19 degrees C (67 degrees F). Though it’s a little on the cool side, you will usually find that large gatherings of people generate their own heat. Once your family is all grouped together to enjoy a meal, they will rarely complain that your house feels too cold.
Take Advantage of Holiday Cheer –
Some of the iconic sights that people equate with the holidays–such as the lighted Christmas tree or the crackling log in the fireplace–can actually be great sources of light and/or heat. If you are going to have your tree illuminated all evening, try turning off the rest of your interior lights. Your tree should provide plenty of light to be able to move around your room, and you can supplement it with a few candles if you want to make it even more festive. Similarly, a burning fire in the hearth will often provide more than enough warmth to allow you to turn of your central heating system. By taking advantage of some holiday cheer, you can actually substantially cut your electricity costs during this expensive season.