The holiday season may seem like the wrong time to think about energy savings. After all, this is a time of twinkling lights throughout the neighborhood, freshly-baked goods coming out of the oven on a near-constant basis, and frequent get-togethers with large groups of friends and family. All that excitement can consume a great deal of energy and end up inflating your energy bill, but it is possible to enjoy holiday season energy savings with a few changes to your cooking, entertaining and decorating habits.
You or other members of your family are probably going to cook a lot during the holiday season. Keep to your cooking plans while making holiday season energy savings in the kitchen a priority with these tips:
- Think before you preheat – Preheating your oven is really only necessary when baking bread and pastries. Otherwise, preheating is often a good way to waste energy, especially when you’re roasting meat, like a turkey, which will take hours to cook.
- Keep the oven door closed – Opening it, even once, can lower the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees. This can prolong your cooking time and consume more energy. Instead, turn on your oven light so you can see inside.
- Turn off the oven 10 minutes early – An electric oven will remain at its desired temperature for at least 10 minutes after you turn it off. Get in the habit of turning it off every time you cook to save significantly over time.
- Use glass and ceramic pans – These pans cook food faster, cutting down on cooking time and energy consumption.
- Nuke your food – The humble microwave oven can do a lot to save you money and energy in the kitchen. You can use it to steam vegetables, bake potatoes and heat up leftovers.
Be a good host and keep your guests happy, but don’t forget to keep yourself happy with a lower energy bill.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer stocked – A refrigerator that’s full of food actually saves you energy, since it will better maintain its cold temperatures when you open the door. Your guests will definitely appreciate this tip since they’ll always have something to nibble on.
- Turn down the thermostat – During a party or a large gathering, go ahead and lower the thermostat. With all the cooking going on in your kitchen and the warm bodies mingling in the living room, it’s bound to get warm enough, so you can give your heating system a break.
- Use the crock pot to serve everyone – Save both time and energy by using a crock pot or slow cooker to cook a hearty meal for a group of people. Electrical appliances generally use only a third of the energy that ovens consume.
Stringing up lights all around your house and trees is fun, but a high electricity bill is not. Here are some ways you can attain more holiday season energy savings in your home:
- Invest in LED bulbs – Sure, you’ll need to pay some money upfront for new light bulbs to decorate the exterior of your home, but you’ll reap the energy savings for many more years—and holiday seasons—to come. An LED holiday bulb can save you up to 90 percent as compared to an older 10-watt bulb.
- Use an automatic timer – It’s never a good thing when you wake up in the morning and realize that you’ve forgotten to turn off your holiday lights. If this has happened to you more than once, you’d probably benefit from an automatic timer. You can set it to turn off the lights during the day and at a certain time of night when nobody’s up to see it.
- Reflect as much light as you can – You can reduce the amount of lights on your property while still keeping your yard and house as bright and festive as you want by adding reflective elements. Hang mirrored ornaments on your tree and line tinsel along the roof to enhance the lighting that’s there. You could also add mirrored balls, metallic statues and shiny ribbons to further brighten up your holiday decor.
The pros at Griffith Energy Services, Inc. can help you maximize your holiday season energy savings and answer any home comfort questions you may have. We proudly serve the HVAC needs of homeowners throughout Baltimore, Frederick, Hagertown, Manassas, Westminster and Easton, MD; as well as Dover, DE, and Martinsburg, WV.
Written by Kevin Spain