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10 Energy Saving Tips for the Holiday Season

by Keith BuchhalterDetail of a Christmas garland with colored twinkling tube-lights

Winter and the holiday season are around the corner, and just like you, all of us at Overton Power District No. 5 love this time of the year. Decorating
our homes inside and out, cooking for our friends and family members, and keeping us warm can make our monthly energy bill go up considerably and that’s why we compiled a list of our favorite 10 winter/holiday energy saving tips to help you keep your electric bill down during the 2016 winter/holiday season.

  1. Bake several dishes at a time. We all love to bake this time of year, but did you know that it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly-empty one? Make the most of your oven and bake several dishes at the same time.
  1. Use your microwave. Use the microwave instead of your regular oven whenever possible. Microwave ovens draw less than half the power of your regular oven, and they cook for a much shorter period of time.
  1. Turn the thermostat down when you have guests. Friends and family gatherings are quite common this time of year, and those extra bodies in the house means extra warmth at no cost to you.
  1. Now it is time to wash the dishes. You can do this by scraping off food, emptying liquids and giving them a manual pre-rinse in the sink with cold water. Only run your dishwasher when it is completely full. Try using the light or short cycle. If you’ve made sure your dishes are easier to clean, the dishwasher doesn’t need to run at maximum power to finish off the job. When your dishwasher is about to click to the dry cycle, turn it off and open the door to let the dishes air dry. If you do this instead of using the heat-dry option you could save 15-50% of your dishwasher’s energy consumption.
  1. Check the refrigerator and freezer doors to make sure they seal tightly. This will keep the cold air in and the warm air out. To test, close the refrigerator door on a dollar bill. If you can slip the bill out easily, or worse, if it falls out on its own, the door requires adjustment, or the gasket needs replacing.
  1. Plug leaks and drafts. Stop throwing money out the window. Your home loses most of its heat to drafts and air leaks (inside and out). Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors and you can save up to 20% on heating costs.
  1. Invite the sun in. Yes, it feels like the sun abandons us during the winter, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it during these shorter days. Open curtains and other window treatments on your west-and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and save anywhere from 2-12%.
  1. Maintain Your HVAC System. Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and costing you more money. Also, consider getting a winter tune-up. A semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable.
  1. Deck the Halls with LEDs. The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without lighting up our homes with the brightest and most colorful displays possible. This year, consider LED and fiber optic lights instead of traditional incandescent light strands. LED holiday lights use up to 90% less energy and last longer as they are sturdier and more resistant to breakage. Also, put them on a timer; there’s no need to have them on while everyone is sleeping.
  1. Last but not least, if you plan to travel, leaving your home for more than two to three days, turn your thermostat down and turn your water heater off. Just don’t forget to turn it back on immediately upon your return.

For more energy savings tips, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. From all of us at Overton Power District No. 5, we wish you and your family a safe 2016 Holiday Season!

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