If you have solar panels, it's clear you're all about saving. Not only have you cut your electricity costs, but you've likely taken advantage of rebates and incentives too, and you have added to the value of your home while reducing your carbon footprint.

Now it's time to turn your attention to the fast-approaching holiday season. What are some ways you can continue to save while entertaining and spending time with loved ones? Follow these tips for how to use less energy during the holidays!

1. Turn Down the Heat

Turning down your thermostat is a great way to use less energy during the holidays, especially when you're hosting gatherings. Did you know that the human body acts the same way as a heater? It's capable of heating the air surrounding it. Put a lot of bodies together in a room, and what do you get? A noticeable increase in temperature.

Since more than half of energy use in your home is for heating and cooling, simply turning down the thermostat a few degrees can mean significant savings. If you're hosting a gathering, be sure to turn down the heater before guests start arriving. It'll warm up in no time!

2. Maximize Oven Use

Your oven doesn't know if you're baking one thing at a time or if it's full of dishes - energy is energy! Instead of using the oven all day long, take a moment to sit down and look at your meal plan. By prepping dishes that have similar cooking times and baking them at the same time, you'll be able to maximize oven use.

It may take a little more planning when you have dishes that require varying baking times, but with the help of a few timers and notes, you can make the most of your oven so that you're not using it all day.

3. Put a Lid On It

What else can you do in the kitchen to save energy this holiday season? Put a lid on those pots and pans! That simple move means that the food cooks faster, which translates to less energy use. While a gas or electric stove doesn't comprise a huge amount of energy use, the amount that it does use adds up over time. If you're preparing a meal for a large group of people, that could mean that your stove is working for hours on end.

Another benefit of faster cooking times is that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with the family.

4. Eliminate Energy Vampires

Did you know that a device can draw and drain power even when it is turned off? Simply plugged in, it's drawing energy. That energy adds up over time. In fact, Energy vampires can account for as much as 20% of your monthly electricity bill! That's a significant amount of wasted power that you're paying for every month.

To make your home more efficient, unplug these things when not using them:

  • DVD player
  • Video game console
  • Microwave
  • Computers and related equipment
  • Surround Sound systems

Unplugging devices like these will go a long way in your quest to save energy during the holidays.

5. Lower Water Heater Temperature

Most of us tend to use more hot water during the holidays, thanks to hosting parties and welcoming overnight guests. Hot water accounts for around 18% of your power bill!

Energy.gov estimates that standby heat losses up to $61 annually and more than $400 in demand losses. Most water heater thermostats are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By bumping that down to 120, there's the potential to save a massive amount of money. Plus, it's unlikely you'll even notice the change in temperature!

It's important to note that some of your appliances may require water heated to a certain temperature, like your dishwasher. Be sure to check all manuals before adjusting the temperature of your water heater to ensure all appliances can safely operate.

Make This Holiday Season an Efficient One!

With help from your renewable energy system and these tips, homeowners can easily reduce their electricity costs this holiday season.

Are you a homeowner who doesn't yet have solar panels but are interested in significantly reducing your electricity costs? EnergyBillCruncher makes it easy to connect with solar companies and explore incentives and rebates, all so you can determine if going solar is right for you!