Tips to Save on Home Energy Use during the Holidays

Dreaming of a “Green” Christmas?

Tips to Save on Home Energy Use during the Holidays

  1. In the past, we have blogged about how you can keep your home safer during the holidays while decorating with lights. Of course, if you do decide to channel your inner Clark Griswold, then make sure you use LED holiday lights. On average, LED lights use about 90% less electricity than traditional decorative lights do. They’re not expensive either, so homeowners will actually save money in the long run by replacing the traditional lights they already have… not to mention you won’t spend all weekend untangling them!
  2. Timing is everything! If you’re like a lot of folks and love driving up to your home after work and gazing upon all of those beautiful twinkling lights, you don’t have to leave them on all day. Instead, put all your holiday lights on timers. One of the quickest ways to burn through your electricity usage is to leave your decorative lights on constantly. A timer will turn them on right when you want them on… and off before you go to bed without having to remember to do it yourself.
  3. Whether you have an electric heat pump or a natural gas furnace, you can save quite a bit of money by installing a programmable thermostat. Like the holiday light timer, installing a programmable thermostat will ensure that your heat isn’t running at full capacity when it doesn’t need to be. For example, when you’re at work during the day, a programmable thermostat will turn the heat down for you.
  4. If you go over the river and through the woods to visit Grandma during the holidays, make sure you unplug what are called “phantom” energy users before leaving town. Most electronics use energy if they’re plugged in, even if they’re not turned on. You can save energy by simply unplugging things like your TVs, computers, printers and DVD players before you leave town for the holidays. This can also prevent them from becoming damaged by a power surge while you’re gone too. Of course, the best way to avoid this is to invest in a surge protection solution for your home.
  5. Just like your thermostat, you can also save dollars by lowering your water heater temperature.Turning your water heater temperature down by just 10 degrees can save you approximately 3-5% in energy costs. So, changing it from 140 degrees to 120 degrees can save up to 10% of otherwise wasted energy. Not to mention that this could help prevent Uncle Charlie from howling out loud after accidentally scalding himself in the shower!

Take advantage of these energy-saving tips, and you should breathe a bit easier when those January bills roll in! For more information on how to make sure your home is as safe as it can be, especially when it comes to electricity, have the experts at Mister Sparky conduct a home safety inspection. It just might ensure your holidays are as enjoyable as they should be!

Saving on your summer electric bill

With the heat wave that’s been gripping most of the country lately, it’s tough to control your electric bill. In fact, it seems like your air conditioner just runs and runs. But there are a few things you can do that can have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Did you know that your home’s electrical system is a great place to start first? In fact, your home’s lights and electronics account for approximately 12 percent of your home’s energy usage.

Exchange your light bulbs for high-efficiency bulbs: you can save about $75 per year by swapping out the bulbs in your most used light fixtures with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs that bear the Energy Star label.

Install dimmer switches: dimmers let you set the brightness in a room to suit your needs, setting the mood and saving electricity at the same time!

Use smart power strips: some electronic gadgets never truly power off; instead, they sit in standby mode using a trickle of power that can add up over time. These are usually — but not exclusively — items with a remote control, because the remote sensor needs power while waiting for your input. Plug these electronics into a smart power strip, which cuts off the current when the devices aren’t in use.

Conduct a home energy audit: a home energy audit can identify additional ways to reduce your energy usage. Contact the professionals at Mister Sparky for advice on a home energy audit that can save you some serious cash!

Make an appointment here. For tips on a new energy-efficient air conditioner or heat pump, call the pros at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

The truth about LED light bulbs

What’s the deal with LED light bulbs?

LEDs are the most energy efficient light bulbs on the market, and thanks to increased demand and expanded manufacturing, their prices have dropped considerably in recent years. Most LED bulbs now cost less than $10, and smart shoppers can usually find them for less than $5 each.

That price may still seem steep to someone accustomed to buying incandescent bulbs for $1 each, but LEDs are built to last for more than 20 years!

Other LED light bulb benefits

The affordability of LEDs isn’t the only thing that has changed. The array of colors, styles and features has expanded substantially, giving homeowners more choices than ever in the lighting effects they can achieve in their homes.

Colors like “soft white” and “warm white” are popular because they replicate that warm feeling of an incandescent bulb, which is what many consumers missed most when they switched to CFL bulbs. Some bulbs are even capable of displaying multiple colors and can be controlled with a remote.

The most sophisticated LEDs are equipped with smart technology so that they can be controlled from anywhere with a smartphone or tablet. The apps used to control these lights are also some of the most user-friendly interfaces for setting up detailed lighting schedules.

How to choose an LED light bulb

Picking out LEDs isn’t too different from choosing among incandescent bulbs, but there are some other key differences.

An important one is that while LEDs are labeled in watts to offer an idea of their energy consumption, that rating doesn’t correlate directly with brightness as with incandescents. LED brightness is measured in lumens, which will range from about 400 to about 2500 in most bulbs. A 100 watt incandescent is equivalent to about 1600 lumens.

It’s also important to make careful decisions when choosing LEDs for use with dimmers. If your dimmer is more than a few years old, it’s likely to be incompatible with most LEDs, and you’ll need to pick out special dimmer-friendly bulbs. You could also replace your dimmers with modern, LED-friendly versions, which allow you to dim any LEDs.

If you need help redesigning your lighting scheme in your home, or have any questions related to energy savings or electric safety in your home, contact the professionals at Mister Sparky today!