Holiday Tips & Tricks

Holiday Tips & Tricks

The holiday season is here. If you’re like us, we kick into holiday overdrive around mid-November. Did you know that Thanksgiving weekend is the most common time to decorate for the winter holiday season?

It’s easy to brighten your holiday celebrations with festive food, fun and decorations while keeping energy efficiency in mind. Here are a few fun, creative and most importantly, convenient ways for you to save this holiday season.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: The holiday season means spending time with family and friends and spreading holiday cheer. Free up some time to kick back, relax and join the party.  The average kitchen accounts for 15% of your home’s energy use, so slaving over a stove can cost you time and money. Try using your smaller appliances (microwave, toaster oven or slow cooker) to whip up holiday-inspired recipes. From quick snacks to desserts, appetizers to entrees, or even a small meal or side, we’ve scoured the web and found some great ideas to help give you a little creative inspiration.

Chocolate Lava Cake In a Mug

Holiday Recipe Inspiration:

  1. Elf Food
  2. Chocolate Molten Lava Mug Cakes
  3. Peppermint Bark
  4. Peppermint Bark Hearts
  5. Peanutty Snowmen
  6. Pretzel Snowflakes
  7. Marshmallow Santas
  8. Mint Oreo Cheesecake
  9. Strawberry Santa Hats
  10. Mini Holiday Pretzel Sticks
  11. Overnight Oats
  12. Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa

You can find other helpful ideas on our Holiday Pinterest board

  • Overnight breakfast
  • Breakfast in a mug
  • Meals in a mug
  • Slow cooker holiday sides

Deck the halls: Make sure your holiday spirit shines through with fun, original, festive – and energy efficient – holiday decorations. You can include your whole family in the fun. Stretch your creative muscles with the following guiding principles:

  • Merry and Bright: We want to help you brighten your holiday décor and save energy (and money). It’s time to take a cue from good ol’ Clark Griswold. By using LED holiday lights, you can have a gorgeous display without sending the electric meter spinning. LEDs use 90 percent less energy than regular incandescent light strings, last about 10 times longer, are cooler to the touch and are more durable. Plus, they’re super-bright! Also, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED holiday lights only cost 27 cents to run for 12 hours a day for 40 days, compared with $10 for incandescent bulbs. That’s a pretty big deal. And because LEDs last longer, you’ll save year after year.
  • Sparkle and Shine: Time for your holiday spirit to shine through. You don’t need to add extra lights to decorate a tree or put togeter a festive holiday display. Reflective ornaments will make your holiday décor even brighter when combined with LED strands. Using fewer light strings and less electricity is the winning strategy.
  • Tick, tock. Beat the Clock: It’s all about timers and convenience. Use a timer for both your indoor and outdoor lights. It’ll keep you from forgetting to turn on your holiday lighting display, or worse, forgetting to turn it off and wasting electricity.

 

What is your favorite energy-saving holiday tip?

Generator safety: It’s a lifesaver

Generator safety: It’s a lifesaver

Portable generators can bring you power when storms knock out electricity. But they also can bring heartache if used incorrectly.

Nearly 80 percent of the more than 900 carbon monoxide deaths between 1992 and 2012 were associated with generators. Half of generator-associated carbon monoxide deaths happen between November and February.

If you have a portable electric generator, make sure it’s installed and used correctly. Never operate a generator indoors or in any other enclosed or partially enclosed space, including your garage.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends generators be located at least 20 feet from windows, doors or vents to prevent deadly CO from getting into your home. Of course, CO alarms inside your home also are a smart idea.

Cold snap? Snap back with savings

Cold snap? Snap back with savings

Another winter. Another polar vortex. Another round of high electric bills?

Not necessarily. There’s plenty of opportunity to manage your home energy use and keep your bill under control. In fact, you could say the coldest snaps offer the biggest chances to save.

Here are some tips on how to save energy and money during this cold week, and during cold weeks to come:

– Heating is the average home’s single biggest energy expense, so improvements here can make a real difference. Try to set your thermostat at 68 degrees, and use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat when everyone is asleep or out and about.

– Make sure the hot-air vents in your home are open and free from obstruction, so you get all the heat your furnace is churning out. (Kids, especially, have a knack for dropping stuff on top of the vents and leaving it there.)

–  It’s best to get your heating system inspected and tuned up for maximum efficiency before cold weather arrives. But, if you haven’t done it yet, you can still get it done, to save energy the next time Canada decides to send us a bulk shipment of arctic air.

If it’s too late to get a full tuneup, you can start by replacing your furnace filter so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.

– Simple, quick steps that can keep hot air inside your house include installing special insulators inside electrical outlets and weather-stripping doorjambs.

– If you only want to warm up a small area, a portable heater might be a more efficient choice than cranking up the thermostat. Be sure to use these heaters safely, keeping them away from curtains and furniture and turning them off when you no longer need them.

– Since the cost of generation supply makes up the largest portion of most bills, you can save by buying your electric supply from a competitive supplier. Check out PAPowerSwitch.com to see other offers available to you. Remember to check out the terms of each offer, such as whether the rate is fixed or variable, and whether there are cancellation fees.

We invest in our delivery system year-round to keep it reliable at times like this – replacing old equipment, installing smart grid technology and trimming trees. We had no major system issues from last year’s cold weather and we’re aiming for the same performance this year. If you do have an outage at any time, please report it by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (342-5775) or online at pplelectric.com/outage.

Finally, if you or someone you know is concerned about paying their electric bills, you can find out more about our payment assistance programs online, or call 1-800-DIAL-PPL and talk with a customer service representative between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Seven ways to shine this holiday season

Seven ways to shine this holiday season

Your holidays should be memorable for all the right reasons – visits with family and friends and the continuing of beloved traditions – but not for the size of your energy bill.

We all know the year-end holidays can be a time of heavy electricity use, especially if you’re entertaining or decorating. These seven tips from PPL Electric Utilities can help you keep your usage and your costs under control.

1. Get the LED out. Whether you’re using them in living room lamps or holiday decorations, LED bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than conventional bulbs and last up to 20 times longer. Make this the season to switch to LEDs, if you haven’t already. (If your holiday decorations are wearing out and showing their age, a new set of LEDs may also be safer.)

2. Stay warm – and smart. Heating accounts for more than 30 percent of a typical home’s energy bill – the largest single cost. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees for energy savings, and use a programmable thermostat to lower it overnight or when no one is home. And remember: Cranking up the thermostat won’t make your house warm up faster, since your heating system runs at the same rate, regardless of the temperature setting.

3. STAR power. If you’re buying electronics as a holiday gift, or updating your own appliances, look for devices with the ENERGY STAR® label. These are the most energy-efficient models available. To learn more about ENERGY STAR-rated products, visit www.energystar.gov.

4. Don’t peek. The pie’s doing fine. Your oven temperature could drop by 25 to 50 degrees when you open the door, forcing the oven to work harder and produce more heat. So keep those glimpses few and far between.

5. Scrub now, save later. Keep oven surfaces and drip pans as clean as possible. A clean stove and oven will heat efficiently; a dirty stove and oven will use more energy than necessary to reach the desired temperature. Speaking of which …

6. A keen time to clean. …got a self-cleaning oven? Start it right after you’re done baking. Self-cleaning ovens reach temperatures of 850 degrees, and the heat already in the oven can give them a head start. (Just make sure to take the cookies out first.)

7. Slow and low. Slow cookers and microwaves are energy-efficient alternatives to firing up the oven. During the holidays, look for recipes that take advantage of these appliances. Use them for quick, easy weeknight meals.

More energy-saving tips for homes and businesses are available in the Save Energy & Money section of our website.