With all of the feasts, decorations, travel and gifts to be wrapped, no one wants to be surprised by a large utility bill this holiday season. But, you don’t have to be a Scrooge to save at this time of year. The county-operated emPower home energy efficiency program offers tips to help trim energy bills while keeping the cold outside.
1. Make your home a winter wonderland with LED lights
According to Energy.gov, LED decorative lights last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. Less energy means less money to spread holiday cheer. Plus, LED lights are less likely to burn out or break due to their internal mechanics, saving the hassle of trying to figure out why a light string won’t work.
2. Snuggle up and scale back the thermostat
Cut 10 percent from your annual energy bill by installing a programmable thermostat and scheduling it to turn the temperature down 10-15 degrees while you’re sleeping or out of the house. When you’re home, snuggle up with a loved one to keep warm rather than turning up the heat.
3. Invest in insulating drapes to keep warm
Installing tight-fitting insulating drapes and shades and keeping them drawn at night can reduce heat loss by 10 percent during the cooler nighttime temperatures. Be sure to open the draperies during the day to warm up with natural sunlight.
4. Spruce up the furnace
Before turning on your furnace to combat the cold, be sure to clean or change your furnace filters to keep your system operating as efficiently as possible. A dirty furnace can constrain air flow and cost you more money.
5. Recycle your Christmas tree
Christmas trees can be repurposed as mulch. Recycle your Christmas tree to reduce landfill waste. A web search can help you locate a nearby recycling center.
To take the home energy savings further, schedule a free home consultation with an emPower energy coach to look at problem spots and determine what home improvement projects would work best. Incentives and financing are offered by emPower to make projects more affordable.
To schedule an appointment, call 568-3566 or go online to www.empowersbc.org.
— Angel Pacheco for emPower Central Coast.