The holidays are a special time of year, but all of the cooking, baking and decorative lighting displays may increase your monthly energy costs. The following tips will help you save energy this holiday season.
Decorating your home is a great way to celebrate the holiday season, but holiday lights and inflatable decorations use a significant amount of energy. With a little planning and some safety tips, you can have a dazzling display that will have little impact on your energy bill:
- Use energy-efficient mini lights or light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights, instead of traditional C7 or C9 bulbs.
- Turn off holiday lights and inflatable yard decorations before going to bed and whenever you are away from home. A programmable timer adds convenience and can help optimize savings.
- Consider using fewer lights and decorating with flowers, wreaths and other non-energy using alternatives.
- Use fiber optic decorations; most fiber optic trees and decorations are illuminated by a single bulb.
In the kitchen
Meals are an important part of holiday celebrations, but the energy used for cooking, baking and dish washing can really add up. Save energy by making a few simple changes:
- Do not preheat the oven for foods requiring several hours of cooking time. When preheating is necessary, heat to the exact temperature required.
- Avoid opening the oven door while food is cooking; it can lower the temperature inside the oven as much as 25°F, wasting energy and increasing cooking time. Use the window on the oven door to check food.
- Glass and ceramic baking dishes retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.
- Bake several batches of cookies or bake more than one pie at a time.
- Cook on the range top instead of the oven whenever possible; range-top cooking generally uses less energy.
- Use the lowest possible setting for range top cooking and keep pots and pans covered to prevent heat loss.
- A well-stocked refrigerator uses less energy because there is less air to cool. Keep your refrigerator full without overfilling; too many items packed together closely will reduce air circulation.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods before storing them in the refrigerator; uncovered items release moisture, which means the refrigerator must work harder.
- Fill the dishwasher according to manufacturer's guidelines and do not run it unless you have a full load. Using the air dry feature will save even more energy.
If you travel to visit family or friends during the holidays, your home will continue to use energy while you are away. Follow these steps to minimize energy consumption when your home is unoccupied:
- Sign up for CPS Energy’s free home energy management system, Home Manager, or the free programmable thermostat, Smart Thermostat, to help you manage your energy online or through a smartphone* while you’re away from home. (*Home Manager only)
- If you don’t have Home Manager or Smart Thermostat, don’t forget to lower the thermostat before you leave. The recommended temperature setting is 65°F.
- Use timers on lights inside and outside your home, this will save energy and provide security.
- Turn your water heater to the lowest possible setting; otherwise it will waste energy by continuing to operate as usual. If you have an electric water heater, the water heater can be turned on or off with Home Manager. Turn it off when you leave home and schedule it to come back on before you arrive. Change of plans? No problem. Get online or go to your smartphone app and reschedule when you want your hot water to be ready.
Following these tips after the holiday season is over will help lower your energy costs all year long.