Winter is here, and that means the holiday season is upon us. You've placed your decorations around the house, prepped for all the big meals and parties and you're probably hosting a few extra guests --making your home pretty full.
With all this holiday prep, have you thought about if your home is ready for higher energy usage? In the winter season, it doesn't take much to spike your utility bill for the month, especially around the holidays. Whether you're hosting the whole family for dinner or just simply trying to adjust to fluctuating temps, it can be a shock to see how much having everyone over is going to cost you. Reducing waste and lowering costs doesn't have to be a hassle. With our steps to conserve energy for your full house, you'll have more than one thing to smile about -- and your wallet will thank you too!
For the Adults
When it comes to hosting at your home, dishes can pile up quickly with all the added guests. Whether you've cooked a four-course meal or kept things simple -- the more guests, the more plates to clean.
- Prevent water waste by only washing a full load of dishes. The more dishes per load means doing fewer loads and having fewer loads means less energy wasted and more water saved.
- Skip the pre-rinse! An annual 6,000 gallons are wasted with pre-rinsing! Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports that most detergents work better if there is still food on the dishes. The enzymes in the food work with the cleaning agent for a better clean. Only rinse if you're planning on leaving those dishes in the sink.
- While you're working to save energy, skip the drying cycle for a more efficient air dry. You'll cut down energy use by anywhere from 15-50%, depending on your machine.
For the Kids
An easy way for the kids to chip in on energy conservation is by limiting how many devices are plugged into an outlet.
- Unplug anything being charged as soon as the battery is full or if the charger is not in use. Chargers can continue to draw power even without being plugged into a device.
- Power strips are a safe way to plug multiple devices in, plus you have the benefit of it turning on and off at the push of a button. If you’re done with the devices connected to your power strip, turn it off to prevent wasted energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of the electricity used for home electronics is used when products are turned off.
For Your Guests
A lot of bodies in the room can make temperatures rise. Cool your home off without raising the cost.
- Turn down the thermostat before guests arrive. Remember to only adjust the thermostat a few degrees at a time. Overcooling or overheating can blow your whole system, which will cost you a whole lot more.
- Use ceiling fans or space heaters to prevent your HVAC unit from working harder than it has to! Exclusively heating or cooling the space you are using will prevent you from running up your energy bill. The ideal setting is between 75 and 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter.
For Your Pets
While pets won’t be working to lower your energy bill, there are a few helpful tips to keep your pet happy and keep the energy costs down.
- Add weather strips to your doorways to prevent drafts. Dogs often require a lot of trips outside, between bathroom breaks and chasing squirrels you’re letting your pet out frequently. If your doors are left open or aren’t sealed correctly, you could be doing more to heat the outdoors than your home. This applies to your garage door too!
- Don’t raise the thermostat for your pets. Most animals run about 3 or 4 degrees warmer than humans. It might seem like a nice idea to keep your home warmer while you’re out during the day, but your pet isn’t likely to notice or be any more comfortable. Lowering the temperature by a degree or two could save you 5% or more on your heating bill.
For Your Home
Sometimes there is only so much you can do to cut costs, but equipping your home with energy efficient appliances can lead to more significant savings.
- Install Energy Star labeled windows to cut costs as much as 30% compared to single-pane windows. Also, consider opening curtains during the day for heat from the sun to warm your home. Save 2-12% with this natural solution.
- Let your thermostat do the work. Programmable thermostats can schedule your home’s heating and cooling to optimize temps while you’re away or asleep. Smart thermostats (like Nest) allow you to change settings from anywhere and can even adapt to your behavior for strategic heating and cooling.
Are you looking for more ways to conserve energy with your full house? Try these tips and contact a Hiller technician for additional energy conservation tactics. Plus, we can inspect your home for any other electrical, heating and cooling, or plumbing inefficiencies. Contact us today at 844-MYHILLER and stay connected with more happy home tips online by joining our Happy Hiller Club.