6 tips for Thanksgiving energy savings

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44360680 – american pumpkin pie with cinnamon and nutmeg
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Ah, Thanksgiving. Platters of turkey, bowls of steaming mashed potatoes and plates of pumpkin pie.

That’s a lot of cooking that can gobble up energy in your home.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to an annual increase in energy use because of the drop in temperature, lights being used longer and appliances operating on overdrive.

But there are ways to lessen the impact of the holiday on your energy bill. Check out these six tips to ensure your November bill looks as great as your Thanksgiving meal.

  1. Use body heat to your advantage. If you’re expecting a large gathering, lower the thermostat in your home. People generate heat, so let them help heat your home.
  2. Ingredients in one trip. When preparing the meal, try to gather all the necessary ingredients from refrigerators and freezers in one or two trips. The more you open and close the doors of these appliances, the more cold air can escape, forcing them to work harder – and use more energy – to keep cool.
  3. Microwaves can be your friend. These appliances use half the power of a regular oven, so use it when you can in place of the oven. And your cooking time will reduce as well.
  4. Talking turkey. Don’t buy a bird larger than what you will need for your guests. A smaller turkey takes less time to cook. Cooking your stuffing and dressing separately also reduces the turkey’s cooking time in the oven. Try to coordinate cooking temperatures so you can cook multiple things in the oven at one time. You may need to adjust cooking time to accommodate.
  5. Leftovers – there will be a lot of them. Allow the containers to cool before placing them in the refrigerator. Hot foods in a refrigerator force it to work harder – and use more energy – to maintain temperature.
  6. That tall stack of dirty plates can seem daunting. Hand washing, however, uses more energy than an efficient dishwasher will. The dishwasher will use half as much energy and also less water. So load it up and save the handwashing for larger pots, pans and serving dishes.

Energy use rarely gets a holiday, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept a higher bill because you have a house full of guests. A little pre-planning and coordination will ensure your November bill is one to be thankful for.

Laura King-Homan

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, most of that time spent at the Omaha World-Herald.

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