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How to Accommodate Extra Family Members over the Holidays Without Straining Your Utility Bill

As we promised earlier this month, GENTEC is going to help you lower your utility bills even when your family is in town. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your home comfortable, especially if you take advantage of these low-cost  money savers.

Christmas Dinner

Turn down the thermostat

Heating and cooling are the biggest energy users in your home. During the holidays, when it is cold outside, you may be tempted to turn the thermostat up to appease your guests. Don’t do it. In fact, you will save more money, and your house will be more comfortable if you turn the temperature down 1 degree for every extra two people in the house. The added body heat will make up for the lower heat. If someone is cold, break out the Christmas sweaters.

Change your air filter

Switch out your air filter just before your guests arrive. This will ensure that your furnace is working its best to keep you warm. The clean air filter will allow the blower motor to work more efficiently and retain the correct fuel to air ratio in the burn chamber.

Make some crock pot meals

Don’t use your oven unless you are cooking multiple items at a time. Use a crock pit, toaster oven, infrared cooker or other small appliance to do the work. A crock pot uses less than half of the energy of the oven and can be used to make some hearty winter meals.

Put Out Snack Trays

Extra guests means extra stomachs. Those stomachs might start to venture into your refrigerator. When that happens, the refrigerator compressor has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature. Keep hands off the fridge door by placing snack trays in the dining room and gathering areas. Also consider filing a clean, empty trash can with beverages and ice.

Try thermal curtains

The most expensive suggestion we have is to invest in thermal curtains. They will significantly reduce the amount of heat transfer through the windows. A good thermal curtain will also last about 15 years (twice the time of a normal curtain set).

Get a timer for the shower

If you have the standard-size water heater (50 to 60 gallons), a 20 minute shower could drain it completely. With extra guests in the house, you’ll want to limit the time that everyone spends in the shower so everyone can have hot water without taxing the heater. Consider buying a 5 minute or programmable timer to place in the shower. Let everyone know why showers are to be kept short – so everyone can get some hot water. If you keep your showers short after your family leaves, you’ll also see a lower utility bill throughout the year.

Use a humidifier

The biggest problem with indoor air in the winter isn’t temperature, its humidity. People feel the most comfortable when the humidity is between 40 and 60 percent. When it is lower, the air pulls water from our skin. When it does, heat comes along for the ride. Using a humidifier can allow you to reduce the thermostat setting even more while still having a comfortable home.

Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy the holiday season without getting a shock on your January utility bill. And from all of us at GENTEC, we wish you and yours happy holidays!

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