How to Save Time and Energy This Holiday Season
The holidays are here and with so many events, parties, and meals to prepare for, it can be easy to get frustrated with how much time, energy, and money we’re wasting. Here are 6 tips from Santanna Energy on how to tackle your holiday season with time and energy to spare.
Switch to LED lights
Traditional incandescent lights use up far more electricity and don’t last very long. A better option is switching to LED holiday lights. While LED lights are more expensive than traditional incandescent lights, the cost of running LED lights is lower, thereby saving you electricity and money during the holidays!
Energy.gov calculates the cost of running each type of light string for 12 hours per day for 40 days as:
*Assumes an electricity price of 10.55 cents per kilowatt hour (Annual Energy Outlook 2018 Residential Average).
Note: At the time of writing Santanna’s residential electric rates across all Midwest markets averages in at 5.19 cents per kWh – that’s 5.36 cents below the national average the EIA is reporting. Meaning that Santanna customers that switch to LED’s could see even greater savings than projected above.
Organize Holiday Décor
We spend a lot of time untangling string lights and tinsel, purchasing replacement ornaments and décor. When putting away your holiday decorations, save time for the next year by organizing and neatly storing them. Keep the following tips in mind when organizing your décor:
- Ornaments: Keep ornaments in their original boxes to prevent them from breaking. Small ornaments can also be stored in clean egg cartons.
- String Lights and Tinsel: Reduce the time you spend untangling string lights and tinsel by wrapping them around cardboard pieces. By wrapping them around cardboard, you can prevent tangling and store your décor flat and save space!
- Wreaths: Use zip ties or twine to hang wreaths around the hook of a hanger and cover with a plastic bag. In this way, you can neatly hang up holiday wreaths without crushing them.
- Trees: Getting trees back inside their boxes can be a pain! Shrink-wrapping them can be a space saving solution to storing trees. Start at the top of the tree and bunch the branches together by bending them up. Wrap the bunch tightly in cling wrap. Continue the process downward with the rest of the tree until you’ve got your tree completely wrapped in shrink wrapping. For the next year, you’ll save time setting up your tree. Simply cut away the shrink wrap and arrange the branches and your tree is good to go!
Turn Down the Thermostat
Having a cooking day or expecting guests? Remember to turn down your thermostat. The heat generated by stovetops and hot food as well as extra bodies in the house will keep your home nice and toasty. Turning down your thermostat for any of the following examples will help you reduce your energy bill:
- Having a party at your house: More people at the house helps bring the overall temperature in your home up and you don’t have to rely on your home heating system for extra warmth.
- A heavy cooking day: Preparing for a bake sale or a holiday feast? Hot pans and warm food also bring the temperature up as well as fill your home with the delicious smells of great food.
- Going away on vacation or leaving the house for most of the day: If you and your family are going to be out of town on vacation, be sure to turn your thermostat down. Heating an empty home is not only a waste of money, it’s also a waste of energy!
- Sunny days: It’s not often we get bright sunny days during the winter but when it does, it’s a great opportunity to throw open the curtains and let the sunshine warm the house.
Smart thermostats are also a great alternative to saving energy. Smart thermostats take account of outside temperature, when your home is empty, or when occupants are sleeping or awake and adjusts the home temperature to the optimal temperature based on each circumstance. Using smart thermostats like Nest can help customers save an average of 10 to 12 percent on heating costs and 15 percent on cooling costs, saving time and energy year-round.
Take Advantage of Online Shopping
Full parking lots, crowds, and lines at the mall and department stores can make holiday shopping frustrating and can rob you of time. Plan your gift list early and take advantage of online shopping. Many online retailers offer great holiday deals and even discounted or free shipping. Make sure you leave enough time for your gifts to arrive and never deal with crowds during the holidays.
Unplug Phantom Energy Appliances
“Phantom energy” is electricity drawn even when appliances are turned off. Many of our household appliances such as computers and televisions continue to drain energy even when turned off. Phantom energy can be as much as 15% of the total energy an appliance uses. Here is a list of average watts per hour used by common household electronics when they’re turned off:
Save energy by unplugging electronics or plugging them into a power strip so they can be all turned off with one flip of the switch. For example, use a power strip in the living room for your TV, sound system, and game systems, a power strip for the home office for your computer, printer, phone charger. Cut off the power to these devices with one flip of the switch.
To further save money on your electronics, consider using Energy Star products. Energy Star products have a lower standby power than its non-Energy Star counterparts, saving you energy and money!
Know Your Rate
Knowledge is power and knowing what you pay per unit for energy is just as important as knowing how much energy you use on average. We encourage you to look at your bill and compare it with a fixed rate from Santanna to see if you are getting a fair deal on your energy rates. At an average household use of 1000 kWh per month even a 1 cent difference per kWh consumed will impact your final bill by $10 a month. What we are saying is, it is probably worth your time to enter your zip code below and compare our rates to see if we can save you money on your monthly bill.
You and your family can save time and money this holiday season by performing small changes to your routine and holiday schedule. Santanna Energy wishes your family a restful and happy holiday season!