During the holidays, it is not uncommon for your home energy bill to go up noticeably. This happens due to a range of reasons from a drop in temperature to lights staying on longer, but there are others as well. Dishwashers and ovens tend to get more work during the holidays, and if you have house guests, the washer and dryer, along with the hot water heater will see extra use too. Understanding how energy use increases during the holidays can help you be aware of it and take steps to consciously reduce the amount you use. Most households spend a lot of money this time of year, so anything yours can do to save on expenses will help.
Energy Use During the Holidays: Thermostat
Perhaps the clearest reason that energy consumption goes up during the holiday season is due to the weather. Unless you live where the temperature does not drop drastically in November and December, chances are your heater starts to come on more frequently. The thermostat is turned up higher and higher as the winter sets in. This directly increases either your electric bill or natural gas bill. If you use heater oil, the winter burns through it faster as well. Monthly bills start to climb, and if the winter gets really cold, heating prices can skyrocket, doubling and tripling or more throughout the cold season.
Lights Stay on Longer
Another reason for the spike in energy use during the holidays has to do with lights. Daylight savings time ends, it begins to get dark at 5pm and the lights of the house immediately come on. More hours in darkness translates to more hours of turned-on lights. If your home uses electric heat, that will boost the power bill too. By the time December rolls around, Christmas lights are hung taking their share of kilowatts. All told, during the holiday season, electricity use due to lights is one of the biggest users of energy.
In addition to increased heat use and electricity, appliances tend to be on more during the holidays. If you have family visit, chances are the oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer will all see more work. Between extra loads of laundry and home-cooked meals, one or more might be running 10 hours in a day. Not only that, but the hot water heater for showers will get extra use as well. More showers means more hot water which increases energy use. Appliances can really add to energy consumption during the holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two times of year that the kitchen really gets put to the test with almost constant cooking, baking and cleaning.
It is no secret that energy use goes up during the holidays. From the thermostat being turned up to lights being left on longer and appliances being used extensively, the holiday season can increase energy bills dramatically. It is the time of year that families come together. The more people in a house, the higher the energy consumption will be.