If you're having family over for the holidays, you know the electric bill can easily get out of hand. Here are some ways to help save energy.
1. Use LED lights on the tree and in decorations. You can light your whole tree for the same energy used by ONE old-school seven-watt incandescent Christmas light. And LEDs last ten times longer.
2. Use timers to shut off your yard displays at night.
3. Switch out your non-holiday lights for those CFL bulbs in any guest rooms and common areas. Especially if you're having people overnight. Every CFL bulb you install saves you $50 over its lifetime.
4. Remind everyone to turn lights and ceiling fans OFF when they leave a room. For one ceiling fan and one light, turning them off when the room is empty is worth $7 a month on your electric bill.
5. Use the interior light when you need to check on food, instead of opening the oven door. It keeps a lot of heat from escaping, and your food will cook faster.
6. Use glass or ceramic pans for cooking food in the oven. They heat up faster than metal pans, so you can set a lower temperature for the same cook time.
7. Use small appliances to cook side dishes. For the things that can fit, a crock pot, microwave, or toaster oven will save a lot of energy over using the regular oven.
8. Turn off your desktop computer. A laptop uses 50% to 80% less energy than a desktop. And an iPad is even better.
9. Get Energy Star appliances. For larger appliances, always look for the Energy Star logo. You can reduce energy usage by up to 40% over models that don't have it.
10. Use solar-powered pathway lights. They're cheap to buy and you never plug them in. And your grandma doesn't fall coming up the sidewalk, so it's a win all around.