December 14, 2016

Lights twinkling, chestnuts a-roasting, and… energy bills soaring? The holidays should be a time of celebrating and enjoying the company of friends and family, not worrying about how your wallet will fare with higher utility bills in the new year. By following these three tips, you will enjoy a carefree holiday with your loved ones.

1. Keep an eye on your decorative lights

The easiest way to save money during the holidays is by trading in your regular mini lights for high efficiency LED lights. LED lights use 90% less electricity and last much longer than their old school counterparts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, while LED lights cost more up front, you should consider the cost of running the different types of lights for 12 hours per day for 40 days: $25.13 for standard bulbs, $6.03 for mini incandescent lights, and $0.56 for LED string lights.

Already updated your lights? Consider getting a timer to limit how long the lights are on. While it might feel nice to keep them on all day, this can be wasteful. The timer will allow you to save energy while still keeping your twinkling lights on from dusk to dawn.

2. Turn down the thermostat

Take full advantage of your hosting situation and “the more the merrier” crowd in your home and turn down that thermostat! The more friends and family you have in your home for a gathering, the more body heat will be generated, and the less your heating system will have to work. This concept also works when you sleep. Warm up your bed by putting on flannel sheets and heavier blankets so you can create more body heat, allowing you to turn down the thermostat at night.

3. Go energy-free and unplugged

Did you know that 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season? Aside from the additional cost of buying toys and gadgets that require batteries, you are also using a lot of energy. Energy-free gifts can be used anywhere, any time, and don’t rely on batteries or other energy sources for use. If you can’t avoid battery-operated gifts this year, consider investing in rechargeable batteries to cut waste.

If you are planning on going away for the holidays, you may want to unplug your energy vampires, such as TVs, computers, printers, radios, and other electronics that use energy even when they are not turned on. If you see a light on the device, chances are it’s using energy when you think it’s not.

By taking these three steps, you could save a bunch of energy and money this holiday season, and put that extra money toward more eggnog! 

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