Please consider these tips for a safe and wattsmart holiday season:
- Use energy-efficient holiday lights. LEDs use significantly less electricity than conventional incandescent mini lights and last up to 10 times longer. ENERGY STAR® qualified lights carry a three-year warranty and are independently tested to meet electrical requirements.
- Donate your old inefficient holiday lights to Goodwill®. Whether the lights are functional or not, the agency will recycle the inner wiring.
- Turn off holiday lights at bedtime and when you leave home. Timers may be useful to control your lights automatically.
- Take care when climbing ladders to hang outdoor lights. Watch out for overhead power lines – stay more than 10 feet away from lines.
- Only use safety-tested lights and extension cords that carry the "UL" label.
- Do not use indoor lights outdoors and vice versa.
- Inspect cords and plugs each year for damage. If cords are hot to the touch, it's likely a sign of a problem.
Cooking and kitchen tips
- Cook by time and temperature. Precise timing eliminates repeated opening of the oven door to check for cooking progress. Each time the door is opened, the temperature can drop 25° to 50°F.
- Recipes list preheating as the first step, but wait until about 10 minutes before baking to turn your oven on to avoid wasting energy.
- Cook your holiday meal in ceramic or glass dishes. You can lower the oven temperature by 25°F when baking with these dishes.
- Consider using the microwave or crockpot to prepare your meal.
- Use ENERGY STAR appliances. Get cash incentives on efficient new appliances.
- Run your dishwasher when it is filled to capacity, but not overloaded.
- Choose the shortest wash cycle that will clean your dishes, and scrape off food before loading dishes into the dishwasher.
More wattsmart tips to keep your energy costs down:
- Set the thermostat to 68°F when you are at home. Lower the setting at bedtime and when you're away.
- Use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your temperature settings.
- Install energy-efficient lighting, including CFLs and LEDs. Check for special pricing and cash incentives on lighting.
- Turn off unneeded chargers, game consoles, coffee makers, computers, TVs and other equipment when not in use. Better yet, plug them into a power strip or surge protector to ensure electronics are turned off completely.