Enjoy this guest article from our sister company Hot Wire Electric in Greenville, South Carolina.
It looks like winter is well on its way—we’ve been noticing frost on our cars and lawns several mornings recently. And while NOAA predicts a warmer-than-usual winter (we’ll see if that holds true), we still want to be prepared for cooler days ahead.
Here are some home electrical tips to prepare you for the start of the winter season:
Keep your home cozy—but also efficient
We love coming home to a nice, cozy home on a cold day. But instead of just cranking up the thermostat 24/7, use these tips to save energy while also staying plenty warm!
- Get a programmable thermostat. If you’re away from home all day, set your thermostat to keep the temperature a bit lower while you’re gone and then turn the heat up an hour or so before you get home. You can do the same for the hours when you’re sleeping (since you’re probably under a blanket anyway).
- Run your ceiling fans backwards. When you reverse the direction of your ceiling fans, they’ll push warm air away from the ceiling and down to your level, keeping your warm by using existing heat and saving you 10 to 15% of your heating energy budget. Don’t have fans? Consider having ceiling fans installed since they’ll save you money during the summer, too.
- Heat smaller areas when possible. Plan to spend a long time in one spot as you work or study? Instead of turning up the thermostat for the whole house, just warm the place you’re in. Snuggle up with a zero-energy blanket or sweatshirt, or use a space heater to keep your home office or craft room toasty—just be sure the heater is kept away from curtains, bedspreads, and other flammable materials, and that you turn it off when you leave the room.
Don’t leave holiday lights on all night
We know holiday lights are beautiful and meant to be enjoyed. But when everyone goes to bed, turn them off—especially the indoor ones. Why pay money to keep the lights running for hours when the only one who will see them is your cat? (And let’s be honest, the cat is not impressed one way or another.)
Besides being a waste of money, keeping Christmas tree lights on at night increases the risk that something can overheat when no one’s watching. This is especially important if you have a real tree that’s been up for a few weeks. Be aware that your tree may be drying out and turning into something a lot like firewood—so you’ll want to keep it watered and use the lights on only when it’s supervised!
If you do have a real tree, you may be better off with LED lights, which put out a lot less heat (plus use a lot less electricity, which in turn saves you money). But still, turn them off at night!
Check the age of your holiday lights
Speaking of holiday lights: each year, you get down that box of holiday decor from the attic, pull those trusty strings of Christmas lights, and plug them right in.
But have you ever thought about how old your Christmas lights are?
Chances are if they haven’t burnt out, you’ll just keep plugging them in year after year after year. It’s not impossible that those lights are a decade older or more—and even if the bulbs still work, the wires and filaments may have deteriorated over all those years, creating a safety hazard.
If you don’t know how old the lights are, the safest thing to do is to throw them out and buy new ones (they aren’t expensive!). When you pack them up at the end of the season, include a note of when you purchased them so you can keep track of it in years to come.
For more information
If you’d like more tips on winter electrical safety, be sure to check out our post on Electrical Safety at Christmas. And if you’re noticing something with your home’s wiring that just isn’t right, call one of the licensed electricians at Hot Wire to come check it out!