The holidays are coming and, for most people, that means your electricity usage will go up. This likely means that your holiday electric bills will go up as well.
Between late night festivities, holiday decorations, house guests, and lots of extra activity, utility bills go up almost every holiday season. That doesn’t have to happen, though, if you follow some helpful hints for cutting down on your power usage during these coming holiday weeks.
According to the EIA, winter in the US is the second highest season for electricity usage. Increased heating costs combined with holiday activities are the primary contributors to this seasonal surge in electricity demand.
Here are some seasonal tips to keep in mind to cut back on your energy usage while still enjoying the festivities.
1. Replace Old Decor with LED Outdoor Decorations
In some neighborhoods, it’s almost an expected part of the community to decorate your home with holiday lights and and festive yard art.
That doesn’t mean you have to double your electric bill to create traffic-stopping displays that are sure to become Insta-famous. Consider replacing your old holiday light display with newer LED lights. They last longer, shine brighter, come in more colors, and the cost is only about 10 percent of traditional holiday lights.
2. Keep the Party Virtual or Outside
Holiday parties may look a little different in 2020. Normally, you might have a holiday party at home with various holiday sweaters and a fireplace.
Instead, set up a family Zoom virtual holiday party. You can play online games to help with the holiday spirit. Or commission some local musicians to play a custom online concert for your group. You’ll be supporting local artists while having a great holiday gathering for family and friends.
If you are celebrating with others at home, consider an outside celebration, with a fire pit or perhaps a gas patio heater. It won’t be the same as usual, but perhaps this is the year to make some new traditions.
3. Have a Holiday Bake Day
Here’s an opportunity for a new family tradition: Have one single baking day to create all your cookies, cakes, pies, and other edible treats. If giving out baked treats is one of your favorite holiday traditions, you can save time, energy, and create lasting memories.
Turn your kitchen into an assembly line, and pull your pans in and out of the oven all afternoon long. You’ll only increase your power usage for refrigerators, mixers, and ovens on one day instead of throughout the month, and you’ll still end up with the same pile of tasty treats.
Once the baking is done, wrap everything up and enjoy the free time you’ll have by not needing another cooking day.
Oh, and bonus points if you do this on a weekend day or evening and live in a state where you take advantage of free nights & weekends electricity plans.
4. Set Timers for Outdoor Lights
It’s great fun sharing your holiday joy with the neighborhood, but keeping your outdoor lights on all night long can raise your power bill by an outrageous amount.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge to want to avoid doubling your electric bill during the holiday season. Save money by limiting your display time to a few hours each evening. Set a timer for every string of lights, and shut it all down when the festive time is over.
5. Remember Those Countertop Appliances?
Not every holiday dish has to be cooked in the oven for hours.
Save money and energy by finding alternate recipes that do well in smaller appliances. Pull out your Crock Pot or Instant Pot, your toaster oven, and that bread machine someone gave you five years ago. Turn them into your holiday cookery secret weapon. You won’t heat up your kitchen, and you’ll cook tasty dishes with a fraction of the power.
6. Make Adjustments to your Thermostat
The winter months can mean wild swings in temperatures depending on where you live. Don’t forget to adjustment your thermostat’s schedule so that you can maximize your system’s heating or cooling that makes you the most comfortable when you need it. Also, be sure to adjust your thermostat’s schedule for holiday vacations so that you’re literally not burning up your money.
Adjust your choice of clothes. Wear holiday sweaters, comfortable light layers underneath, and socks and slippers to keep yourself cozy. If you’re spending an evening watching holiday classics on TV, cuddle up under a comfy quilt to keep the chill away. Your budget will thank you.
7. Buy Energy Efficient Gifts
Spread the word about energy efficiency by buying holiday gifts that save power. Give book lights, colorful LED lamps, and other battery-powered gadgets to encourage friends and family to jump on the power-saving bandwagon.
For our favorite energy saving smart gadgets, see 9 Cool New Energy Saving Gadgets That Every Smart Home Needs.
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