I’m pretty sure that by now, we all know the smart tips on how to save energy when it comes to things like our Christmas lights; in fact I already wrote an article about it last year, which you can read here.
But even the most savvy energy savers will notice a hike in their bills post-Christmas, because spending more time at home and having a busier household will naturally increase your power usage, regardless of the A++ LED lights you hoist up onto your roof.
UK Power has predicted that collectively households will spend £41.6 million on energy on Christmas Day alone (although with offices and shops closed, the UK does manage to save on power usage overall).
This means whether you’re a miserable Grinch or a festive Santa, you need to be mindful of how the extra hours at home might affect your bills.
Say ho-ho-no to your heating
No one likes to be a Scrooge when it comes to the heating but if your house is busier than usual, dropping the temperature down a degree or two should go unnoticed. Aside from that, adding on the extra layers, a Christmas jumper for example, is a great way to avoid whacking the heat up, especially during the day when your winter heating hours haven’t yet kicked in.
Drawing the curtains when it gets dark outside is also a great way to block out any window draughts, in fact checking and blocking draughts in your external doors will help keep the heat in too. Draught-proofing your home is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save on energy, especially if you live in an older home.
Talking about blocking… while it may be tempting to keep your chimney open (for Santa’s sake) blocking your chimney with a chimney balloon will reduce significant heat loss.
Another way to moderate your heating usage is with a bit of festive Feng-Shui.
While you’re already rearranging the lounge to fit the Christmas tree, now is the time to be mindful of not blocking radiators with furniture. Blocking a large radiator with an item such as a sofa will block the heat from reaching the rest of the room, making it take far longer to heat the space.
Trim down your turkey cooking time
When it comes to cooking turkey, which can be tricky at the best of times, looking at ways to reduce the energy use required in the roast can even make the output tastier.
Putting the bird in a roasting bag can shave off 5 minutes of cooking time per pound. Cooking in the bag is also a great way to keep the meat moist. An alternative to this, as recommended by TV Chef Phil Vickery, is to tightly cover the turkey roasting tray in two tight layers of foil (uncovering only for the last part to crisp the skin).
Picking the right roasting trays is also key to reducing your energy use. A glass or ceramic dish will retain heat better than a metal one, meaning you can reduce the oven temperature (but of course always follow the cooking instructions listed).
Other ideas including cooking as much together as possible, seeking out non-bake alternatives, especially when it comes to items like desserts, or opting to eat out.
Be mistletoe-mindful of your electrical appliances
The extra hours at home, mean extra hours of appliance usage, from the TV to the tumble dryer. But there are tips that can help with reducing the energy usage of your appliances that are suitable all year round. For example, don’t over fill your fridge freezer (easily done at Christmas time) and only wash your clothes at 30 degrees.
If you have kids at home, or even if you don’t and you are a keen gamer, a console is likely to ramp up your power usage over your Christmas break. Even leaving a console on standby mode will have an effect as games consoles use more power in standby than any other home appliance (50 times more than a TV). Collectively, devices left on standby costs Britain nearly half a billion pounds a year!
Second to a console in terms of standby power usage are sound speakers, then microwaves, PC monitors, smart home devices and digital radios – all of which are popular electrical gifts we receive at Christmas time (I got a microwave 2 years ago!). So it’s wise to be mindful of the additional power usage your Christmas gifts may add to your energy bills.
Some ways to curb this affect include unplugging items at bedtime, opting for battery use where possible or just keeping yourself busy outside of the house (with appliances switched off of course).
Ellina Webb is Marketing Services Manager