Chestnuts Roasting on a High-Efficiency BurnerRyan Pollin for Zondits, December 17, 2014
It’s that time of year again, when everyone on the block is stringing holiday lights and wearing their biggest holiday smiles. You may have heard it before, but we’re going to run down a quick list of decorating tips that will ensure you get the most out of the holiday season without blowing up your energy usage.
- Holiday lights – Grandma’s Christmas lights might warm your heart – and burn your hands – but their time has passed. With such low annual run hours, holiday lights tend to stick around longer than conventional lighting, which means all those incandescent bulbs are still sucking down energy like they were in the old days. Make the switch to LED string lights, and the 7 watts from one C7 or C9 bulb can now power a whole string of 75 LEDs.
- Yard inflatables – Frosty the snowman might be a benevolent and lighthearted houseguest this December, but don’t forget that he uses something like 150 watts per hour. Put those blow-up decorations on a timer switch to ensure they don’t run all day and all night.
- Nature’s cooler – Where possible, keep those overload refrigerated items outside in the great outdoors. Many households keep a second refrigerator just for the extra stuff like drinks and leftovers, but they can be reliably cooled on the porch just as well! Better yet, look for a utility-run program to recycle that second refrigerator and you’ll likely be paid for it!
- Timer switches everywhere! – It’s easy to fall into a tryptophan-induced food coma with the year’s best cooking rolled out this month, so be sure that your lights and decorations aren’t on while you aren’t watching. Put your plug loads through a timer switch like this one and rest easy.
- Safety first – with all the extra loads around the house, be careful to space out the load across different circuits and ensure everyone in the house knows the limits on your breaker panel and how to use them. Take care to avoid overhead lines, and keep hot elements (like those old incandescent lights you should have already replaced) away from the Christmas tree.