With temperatures dropping and holiday lighting displays going up, homeowners can always expect their utility bills to escalate in December. While the average amount of your energy bills will defer based on everything from your type of energy system in your home, where you live, and what kinds of demands you place on your home’s heating and electrical systems, there’s usually no stopping some price hikes on your electricity and heat.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help keep your energy bills low through the holiday season with just a few simple steps! Just keep these tricks in mind and you’ll be able to save a ton in the weeks ahead, opening up even more money to fill the space under your Christmas tree.

Heat Your Home Intelligently

Interior heating control can save you money
Programmable thermostat CNET

Older heating systems in older homes ran largely on an “all or nothing” style of functionality. Today, however, you have the ability to control nearly every aspect of your home’s heat usage through programmable thermostats which can automatically trigger at certain temperatures or at certain times. To get the most value from your home’s heating system it’s wise to have the heat running at an ideal temperature only during times of high activity and traffic throughout the house. This means that by programming your system to turn down by about 7-10% during the workday and while you’re asleep you can actually save a significant amount of money in a very short period of time.

Stop Drafts Wherever They Arise

Insulation goes a long way in preventing drafts
Stop drafty rooms This Old House

When you’re paying for home heating only to have some of the heat escape, you’re throwing money away. Keep your home’s heat where you need it by ensuring that your property has proper protection against drafts. There are many different spaces where these cold drafts could pose a problem including around your windows and exterior doors, but the most damaging area for home energy efficiency actually comes from your roof, attic, basement, and siding, according to the Department of Energy. Before the temperature drops much further, make sure to have a professional perform a home energy audit and inspect your home for places where fresh insulation or weatherstripping could save you money.

Save Energy with Christmas Light Displays

Electrical winter wonderland
Save on electricity Style Estate

The incredibly dedicated writers over at Wired estimate that Americans spend about $233 million every Christmas on lighting displays. That’s a huge electrical cost which homeowners endure each and every year that is, in many cases such an important tradition for families that they’re unwilling to give it up. Luckily, there are now ways to decrease the cost of holiday light displays without having to decrease the scale of holiday light displays. Invest in energy-efficient LED lights for your Christmas display inside and out and attach all of your displays to programmable timers so that you aren’t wasting a single cent unnecessarily.

Increase Humidity, Increase Warmth

Indoor air quality
Humidifier appliance Lowe's

As the temperature around your home drops it also becomes drier. Drier air contains less water than warm air and as a result, feels colder. Your natural response will be to turn up the heat in your home but this only increases ambient heat, not ambient humidity which would better retain heat. In some cases, this lack of moisture in the air can actually lead to serious health issues. Whatever the level of seriousness in your home, simple changes like adding a number of well-watered houseplants to your home or simply running a humidifier through the night will help to retain the heat in the air significantly.

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