The holidays are around the corner, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, holiday celebrations contribute to an annual spike in energy use and waste. This is due to a few factors, including colder weather and more energy use from lights and appliances operating on overdrive.
Houseguests, large meals, and holiday tunes all contribute to higher energy costs. Fortunately, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has plenty of simple, actionable changes you can make to your holiday routine that can help ensure your energy bill looks as good as your Thanksgiving dinner.
- Set the stage for energy savings.
During the holidays, get in the habit of turning off every light and ceiling fan in unused rooms. A fan that runs all the time costs up to $7 a month. If you expect a large group of people for dinner, lower the thermostat a degree or two a few hours before the guests arrive. Otherwise, the space may become overheated, and your A/C system, which already accounts for 50-60% of your bill, will have to work harder to cool your house down.
- Gather ingredients efficiently.
Check your refrigerator and freezer doors to make sure they seal tightly. This will keep the cold air in and the warm air out. A good way to test this is by closing the refrigerator door on a dollar bill. If you can slip the bill out easily or if it falls out on its own, the door may need adjusting or the gasket may need replacing.
When preparing to cook, try to gather all the necessary ingredients from refrigerators and freezers in one or two trips. The more you open and close the appliance doors, the more cold air can escape, forcing them to work harder and use more energy.
- Microwaves can be your friend.
When getting your holiday meal prep on, try cooking with a microwave or toaster oven when you can. They use half the power of a regular oven and add less heat to your kitchen. These appliances can also help reduce your cooking time!
There are also plenty of easy no-bake recipes you may want to incorporate into your holiday menu.
- Put a lid on it.
When cooking on a stovetop, we suggest using a “lids-on” approach. Tightly fitted lids on pots and pans help keep heat in, enabling you to lower the temperature settings of your stovetop and shorten the cooking times for less energy spending. If boiling liquids, start by using the highest temperature settings to reach the boiling point. Then, lower the heat control setting and allow the food to simmer until fully cooked. Bon appétit!
- Give yourself a break with the dishes.
Cleaning a tall stack of dirty plates seems daunting on a normal day, but during the holidays it can feel downright impossible. With an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher, it’s better for the environment and your energy bill to use the dishwasher as handwashing uses more energy and water. So, rest easy knowing you can load it, kick your feet up, and dream about leftovers.
If you’re thankful for these energy-saving tips, find even more FPL savings-friendly advice at FPL.com/WattsHappening.