Don’t let high energy bills turn you into a Grinch this holiday season. Instead, gather your elves and get to work making your home as energy efficient as possible.
From wrapping your water heater to caulking drafty windows, our 12 days of energy savings will help you keep energy efficiency top of mind. And don’t forget weather safety during the cold winter months. Check out our tips for staying safe while traveling this holiday season.
Day 1. Choose LED lights. If you enjoy doing a Clark Griswold on your house during the holidays, don’t forget that those lights are energy users. Luckily, you can save energy and money by choosing LED holiday lights. But why stop there? Replace incandescent bulbs throughout your home with LED bulbs and watch the savings grow.
Day 2. Use a water heater wrap. We don’t spend much time thinking about our water heaters or water heater insulation, but we should. Water heaters account for about 20% of home energy usage. Thankfully, you can save energy by adding a water heater wrap. Simply purchase a water heater insulation kit, follow the instructions and you’ll have a cozy water heater that’s more energy efficient. Even better, consider replacing your old water heater with a high efficiency water heater. Watch our helpful video for more about water heater wraps.
Day 3. Think efficiency in the kitchen. Cooking is as much a part of the holidays as presents and caroling. Just imagine the holidays without those tasty holiday pies or that plump turkey. Unfortunately, cooking uses a lot of energy. But there are ways to reduce usage. For instance, do your holiday baking all on one day and keep that oven door closed. Use the oven window instead. Use the right size pans for the burners, shut the heat off a few minutes before your goodies are done and let the remaining heat do the job, and thaw that ham before popping it in the oven. Even better, consider putting your ham in a crockpot.
Day 4. Close your fireplace damper. If your home has a fireplace, make sure to close the damper completely when not in use. That one move could save you 8% on your home’s heat.
Day 5. Seal out the cold. Check your windows for leaks. Then get out the caulk or weather stripping and seal out that frigid air.
Day 6. Turn the thermostat down. Once everyone is tucked into their beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, turn your thermostat down. Do the same when no one is home or when you’re traveling for the holidays. You can save as much as 10% a year on your heating bill by simply turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for eight hours.
Day 7. Keep your furnace healthy. Replacing your furnace filter regularly helps your furnace work more efficiently which saves you money. While you’re at it, consider having your furnace inspected or sign up for a Service Guard plan for extra peace of mind. With Service Guard, a broken appliance isn’t an emergency.
Day 8. Insulate. Check your home’s insulation. Is it sufficient? You can lose as much as 20% of your heating energy through an uninsulated ceiling.
Day 9. Turn the fan off. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans sparingly. In just one hour, ventilating fans can blow away a house full of warmed air.
Day 10. Take advantage of the sun. Let the sun do its work. On sunny days, leave your shades open and the sun will warm a room and your home. But remember to close those blinds at night to insulate against the frosty night air.
Day 11. Dress warmly, even at home. Pull on a cozy holiday sweater and cover up with a fuzzy blanket while watching those romantic holiday films. That way, you can turn your thermostat down and save on energy.
Day 12. Unplug. Did you know that appliances like computers and coffeemakers continue to use energy even when not in use? Whenever possible, unplug appliances.
Now that you’re saving energy at home, it’s time to talk safety during extreme winter weather, especially when you’re on the road.
While you’re going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house this holiday season, don’t forget to pack a winter weather kit for your vehicle. These items could be a lifesaver in an emergency.
A few things to include in your emergency kit:
- Extra hats, gloves and coats
- Chemical hand and foot warmer
- A sleeping bag or blankets
- A pair of snow boots
- Jumper cables
- LED flashlight
- Snow scrapper for the windows
- A shovel
- Cell phone chargers
- Road flares
- A five-pound bag of sand for traction
Check out our weather center for more storm safety tips.
Water heater wrapping
If you’ve never wrapped a water heater before, don’t worry. We’ve got your back on this DIY project. Team Ready will walk you through the steps to make sure your water heater is wrapped for the best water heater efficiency around.
This is also a great time to sign up for a Service Guard plan. Service Guard gives you 24-hour-a-day access to repair professionals and coverage for qualifying parts. All for a reasonable monthly fee. It’s peace of mind that’s hard to beat.
We know that sometimes, even with all these energy saving tips, it’s still hard to manage a high energy bill. That’s why we offer our Black Hills Cares program. Black Hills Cares supports our neighbors who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
Now go enjoy your energy savings and have a happy holiday season!
Black Hills Energy Blog
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