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Some holiday energy tips

The holidays are considered the most wonderful time of the year. For many, it is also the most expensive times of the year. Here are a few tips collected from various energy councils around the web and from our owner Dave to help take some of the sting out of your energy costs this season.

Entertaining Tips

  • Cook as many dishes as possible in your microwave over the holidays. Because microwaves cook food so quickly, the typical model uses as much as 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven.
  • Use your slow cooker for holiday meals. For about 17 cents worth of electricity, prepare an entire meal can be prepared.
  • When using your oven, do not open the door to check if your food is done. Use the window. Opening the door, even for a few seconds can lower your oven’s temperature by as much as 25 degrees. If your oven does not have a window, try not to open the oven door until the time your food is close to being done.
  • Turn off your oven several minutes before your food is fully cooked. As long as the door remains closed, enough heat will be stored inside to finish cooking your meal.
  • Use pans that are the size of your oven tops heating element. More heat will go for the pan and less will be lost.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer well stocked. Doing this helps keep the temperature stable when the door is opened.

Heating Tips

  • Set your thermostat between 66°F and 68°F, a comfortable range for most people. For every 1°F you lower your thermostat, you may reduce your energy use by 1-3 percent.
  • Start the heating season with a new furnace filter, and clean or replace it monthly to keep your furnace running efficiently and home allergens under control.
  • Setting your hot water heater to 120°F can cut your water heating costs by 10 percent.
  • Open-hearth fireplaces draw heated air from your home, sending it and possibly your energy budget up the chimney. If you use your fireplace, install a snug-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a nearby window. Doing so reduces the amount of heated interior air drawn into the fireplace and improves efficiency by up to 20 percent.
  • Keep all objects off baseboard heaters, radiators, and ventilation ducts to keep heat evenly distributed.

Safety Tips

  • Before hanging holiday lights, check for damaged sockets, plugs and cords. Replace anything that looks defective.
  • If you plan to string lights outdoors, be absolutely certain they are marked for outdoor use.
  • If you use a ladder when decorating outside, stay well away from power lines. The same can be said for lights; do not place them near power lines.
  • Fasten outdoor lighting securely to your home”s exterior to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples or plastic attachments to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks.
  • To avoid overloading electrical circuits, never plug in more than three sets of lights to one extension cord.
  • Don”t use light-duty flat extension cords, often brown or white, to power your lights. Instead, use heavy-gauge UL or FM labeled round extension cords.
  • Never run electrical cords under rugs or carpeting.
  • On January 1st, make sure you check your batteries in your smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
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