By Chris Balzer,
I cannot believe the holiday season is here. It has been nice getting a break from the high humidity and I am especially enjoying those attic inspections this time of year. With the holiday season, inheritably comes more energy use. Family and friends come to visit, school holiday breaks and the enjoyment of cooking and entertaining those traditional meals. All mean, more energy use. Here are a few holiday energy savings tips to help brighten your nights and lower your energy bills.
Switch to LED lights when decorating and in general. LED lights use 80 to 90% less energy than incandescent lights. It is estimated that 4 strands of LED lights will save $30 this month compared to 4 strands of the traditional lighting. When I changed out my landscape lighting bulbs to LED, they were brighter, looked great, will last longer, and use less energy. It is also a clever idea to use timers to reduce the amount of time holiday lighting stays on, plus one less thing to worry about.
When cooking the holiday feast, do not forget about the smaller appliances. Microwaves, slow cookers, and multi-use smart appliances all use less energy and give off less heat than ovens and stoves. Also consider co-cooking. If one dish needs to bake at 400° and the other at 350°, consider sharing the baking time and set your oven at 375° and bake both dishes.
We typically use our common appliances more during the holidays. Many of our water heaters are set to 140° from the manufacturer. Lowering the setting to 120° will save energy and money. When showering, many of us will start with the hot water turned all the way up and then add cold water for a comfortable temperature. By doing this, you are cooling the hot water which you spent energy and money to heat. Lowering water heater temperatures to 120° on your hot water heater saves energy and money.
Do not run dishwashers when they are half full, this wastes energy. Fill up those baskets and try adding a drying agent. These agents help lower the surface tension of water causing it to sheet off dishes, using less drying time, saving you money. Also, use cold water in your clothes washer. Most new clothes washers and detergents are designed for cold water and get your clothes just as clean. When drying clothes, throw a few dryer balls into the dryer with your load, this will reduce drying time by preventing laundry from clumping allowing the warm air to circulate better. If your dryer has an auto dry option (moisture sensing), use that option instead of timed dry and clean the lint trap between loads—this improves air circulation and increases the efficiency of the dryer.
If you plan to leave this holiday season, think about automating your home. Put exterior and interior lighting on timers to avoid being on all day and night. Add a thermostat which you can control via Wi-Fi and your smart phone. In the event we get a cold streak or heat wave during the time you are away, you can control your home’s temperature. Also remember to unplug those energy vampire electronics which use energy even when turned off.
Buying local foods and goods not only supports our community but saves energy by reducing transportation related energy costs.
Be innovative and give your home an energy checkup by a professional. They can pinpoint your biggest energy loss areas and provide suggestions and solutions to become more energy efficient.
We wish you and your loved ones a Happy, Safe and Energy Efficient Holiday Season.
Chris Balzer is Founder and President of Emerald Coast Energy Solutions which is a Smile Provider Company. We provide smiles to our customers after installing our high energy efficient products, increasing comfort and lowering energy bills. For more information on how to save and become energy efficient schedule an inspection by calling (850) 588-2870, visit www.trusteces.com or email email@example.com and Beat the Heat.