The holiday season comes with a special set of expenses that can include rising utilities if you’re not careful. If you’re looking for a smart way to trim your costs this season, look to your energy usage. Making a few changes around your Westminster, Maryland, home can help you enjoy a greener and more affordable holiday.

Here are some of the ways we recommend for saving energy this holiday season.

Cook Efficiently

The holiday season comes with a host of elaborate meals that may keep you in the kitchen for hours. If you’re cooking up something special this holiday, take a moment to consider your cooking methods. Some simple changes could cut down on your energy expenses. Do you like to peek at your food while it’s cooking? Use the light inside your oven. Every time you open the door, you lower the temperature as much as 25 degrees, decreasing efficiency.

If you’re cooking on the stovetop, always select a burner that’s smaller than your pan. If the heating element is exposed around the edges of the pan, it may waste as much as 40 percent of the energy used to warm it.

Upgrade Your Lights

Holiday lights add a festive glow to any space, but they’re a definite drain on your energy. You can reduce energy usage this year by upgrading to LED lights. These use 70 percent less energy than conventional lights and burn much cooler. Not only are they better on the environment, but they’re also less of a fire hazard, making LED lights a safer pick all around.

While you’re tweaking your lighting display, add a timer. If you’re early to bed, you may want to keep the lights on for a few more hours, but there’s no need to keep them burning all the way through to morning. Minimize your energy expenses by limiting your lights to eight hours at a time.

Use Reflective Decorations

You can give your home the illusion of added lights without extra energy use by installing reflective or sparkling decorations. These will catch the light cast by existing lighting and multiply the effect. Tinsel, bells, and shiny ornaments will reflect other lights in your yard. Wreaths, ribbons, and other decorations are a nice touch as well that will make your house shine day or night.

Streamline Your Errands

The holiday season brings a slew of special shopping trips to the mall, grocery, and specialty stores. Reduce your fuel usage by combining trips, especially when you have several things to do in one part of town. You can further reduce energy use by carpooling with a friend or using public transportation.

Cozy Up and Turn Down the Temps

Add thick rugs to the floor and heavy throw blankets to couches and chairs so you can stay comfortable with minimal heating. Put flannel sheets and extra blankets on your beds, and you can turn your thermostat down further during the night for more energy savings.

Limit Your Lighting

As the days get shorter, there’s an increased need for lighting. Limit your electricity use by turning to quainter methods when you only need minimal lights. Candles or a fire in the fireplace can cast a cozy glow that’s perfectly adequate for lounging in the evenings. Well-placed night lights will eliminate the need for turning lights on as you move from one room to another. Use task lighting for reading or crafting instead of major light fixtures, and always make sure to turn lights off when you leave a room.

Keep Your Furnace Running Efficiently

If you haven’t scheduled a tuneup for your furnace within the last year, do so now. This will keep your heating system running at peak efficiency. Mark your calendar to change your furnace filter once a month. A dirty filter will reduce indoor air quality and make your furnace work harder to pull air through. This home-maintenance task takes just seconds, so make sure you don’t neglect it.

If you’re looking for a way to heat your home more efficiently this winter, contact Griffith Energy Services at 888-474-3391. We’ll help you get everything ready for the holidays.

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