4 Tips to Prevent a Thanksgiving Energy Bill Spike
Graphic courtesy of the DOE
In 1789, President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving proclamation calling upon Americans to express gratitude for the happy conclusion to the nation’s war of independence and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Since then, Thanksgiving has become a favorite American holiday as family and friends reunite to feast and give thanks. The one drawback, however, is that the holiday contributes to an annual increase in energy use due to a usual drop in temperatures, lights staying on longer, and appliances operating more frequently.
Eric Escudero, senior public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Energy offered some tips to help lower the unwelcome tradition of higher energy bills following Thanksgiving celebration:
Don’t buy a turkey bigger than you need for your group. A smaller turkey takes less time to cook and saves energy. It’s also not necessary to preheat the oven when slow roasting a turkey for several hours. It takes longer to cook the turkey when it is stuffed with dressing, so cooking the dressing separate can actually reduce oven usage. Lastly, adding side dishes that can be cooked at the same temperature while the turkey is cooking can also reduce oven use. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time to accommodate different temperatures. You can also often turn down the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees while the turkey is cooking because the oven will add heat to your home, especially in the kitchen area.
2. After the feast
Don’t wash dishes by hand because an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher uses less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and uses less water. Let the leftovers cool before placing them in the fridge because your refrigerator has to work harder to cool them down.
3. Lighting options
Get in the habit of turning off every light except in occupied rooms. In most cases, lighting can be turned off in outdoor areas or the garage. Make the switch to more energy-efficient lighting options such LEDs, which use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer on average compared to incandescent lighting.
4. Household temperature tips
If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue and keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors or windows. Turn your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours overnight or during the day when no one is home to save around 10% per year on your heating and cooling bills.
The Energy Department helps Americans cut their energy costs through improved technology and information on how to efficiently use energy. For more energy-saving tips, visit the Energy Department’s Energy Saver website dedicated to saving energy and money.
Holiday Energy Facts
- The Thanksgiving holiday contributes to an annual increase in energy use due to a usual drop in temperatures, lights staying on longer, and appliances operating more frequently.
- Don’t buy a turkey bigger than you need for your group because a smaller turkey takes less time to cook which saves energy and it's not necessary to preheat your oven when roasting a turkey for several hours.
- An ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher uses less than half as much energy as washing Thanksgiving dishes by hand and let leftovers cool before placing them in the refrigerator so it doesn't have to work harder to cool the leftovers.
Read more about energy efficient appliances.