- The holidays are a time for celebration, but a lot of the traditions -- from extra baking and entertaining to decking your home in holiday lights and playing Christmas carols on repeat -- have the potential to raise your energy bills. Here at the Energy Department, we have gotten in the energy-saving spirit by sharing 12 ways to save energy and money at home during the holidays.
But we also know that plenty of people have their own energy-saving tips. That is why this month we asked our online community to share their energy-saving tips for the holidays.
Why pay to heat a space you aren't using? One way to save energy during the holidays is to turn your thermostat down while you're sleeping or traveling, as many of our Twitter followers suggested. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can set your thermostat for a lower temperature while you are away and forget about it. Practice this energy-saving tip all year round, and you could save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10–15 degrees for eight hours.
Don't forget to turn down the heat while entertaining too. As one Twitter user points out, the extra people in your home (not to mention the hot food and oven) will keep your house plenty warm.
Whether you call it standby power loads, energy vampires or phantom loads, plugged-in electronics are quietly draining electricity even when switched off. This accounts for 5-10 percent of residential energy use -- or about $100 every year. One great way to reduce these standby power loads and save money is to plug your electronics into a power strip and turn it off when you aren't using them.
Did you know that your kitchen accounts for about 15 percent of your home's energy costs? If you are doing extra cooking and baking this holiday, you can follow some simple steps -- like cleaning your burners and verifying your oven temperature is accurate -- to save energy and money. Other tips from Twitter users include ways to reuse your oven's heat and how to make your fridge work more efficiently.
It just isn't the holidays without a plethora of holiday lights, but incandescent holiday lights can take a toll on your energy bills. Instead, consider switching to LED holiday lights, which are not only more energy efficient but are easier to install and last 10 times longer than traditional lights. For extra savings, install a timer for your holiday lights to automatically turn them on and off.
This holiday get creative with your decorations. Using reflective ornaments can make your tree just as bright and shiny as extra lights.
For more ways to save energy and money at home, check out Energy Saver.