Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Entertain efficiently this holiday season

As the holidays roll around, you may be opening your doors more often to your family and friends. Don’t let the winter chill creep in behind them. Use these tips to help keep your home warm and inviting all season long while boosting your energy efficiency.

Keep out cold air
According to the Edison Electric Institute, air leaks can account for 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating in a typical home. You can easily reduce this heat loss by adding insulation to your windows and weatherstripping to the cracks around your windows and doors. Both plastic film insulation kits and weatherstripping are inexpensive and available at hardware, home improvement and big-box stores.

Plan before you cook
Last-minute dinner prep isn’t just stressful; it can be inefficient, too. You don’t want to leave an empty pan heating while you finish chopping the last of the onions, and a frozen turkey can tax your oven for additional hours. Make sure to prepare ingredients before they are needed and think about ways to optimize your cooking. If you’re making a single dish, consider alternatives to the oven, such as a toaster oven, slow cooker or microwave.

Know your equipment 
Pay attention to your oven and stove top’s capabilities – they could save you some energy. If your oven has a convection feature, use it to reduce the cooking time and heat required. Check a dish’s progress with the oven light instead of opening the door and losing heat. On an electric range, match pans to burners of the correct size. According to the Department of Energy, a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy expended.

Automate your cleanup
After the guests have said their goodbyes and you find yourself with a mountain of dishes, don’t resign yourself to an evening in front of the sink. Dishwashers save energy and water when compared to hand washing. You can improve their efficiency further by turning off the heated drying cycle, opening the door and allowing dishes to air dry.

More ways to save money on your energy bill

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