‘Tis the season to switch off and save. Unwrap 8 seasonal switches for less energy and more fun.

Christmas light switches blog

Baby it’s cold outside. Seriously. Last year, December was the only month that was colder on average than previous years1. We know that all that cold weather can really put a strain on home heating bills. In fact, UK homes use more energy in December and January than at any other time of year2

However, December is also often a time of celebration and festivity - of twinkling lights and family feasts. It can be tempting to let our energy savings slip, as we get caught up in the magic of the season. 

At E.ON Next, we think using less energy should feel good - and just as magical. Try our top energy saving tips and you could reduce your energy bills without missing out on any festive fun.

1. Swap screen time for quality time with some festive fun and games.

Get the party started with some energy-free tabletop fun. Simply swap your TV screens and smartphones for a hilarious day of board games. After all, there’s no greater gift than spending quality time with our loved ones.

The real winner? You could even save money on your energy bills. A 40-43 inch TV costs around £25.48 on average to power each year - and that only goes up if the screen gets larger3. So, a regular break isn’t just good for the soul, it could be good for the wallet too.

2. Come rain or snow, remember your waterproofs to save on drying.

There's still plenty to enjoy in the great outdoors this season, whether it’s walking the dogs, a family trek, or fun in the snow (weather permitting). However, getting damp clothes from rain or snow is uncomfortable and makes you colder faster.

Try wrapping up in waterproof clothing to stay warmer by keeping dry. Not only can you give the tumble dryer a miss when you get back, but you’ll keep warmer for longer too. Simply by avoiding using your tumble dryer, the average household could save around £55 a year.

3. Create your winter wonderland with solar powered outdoor decor.

As the nights get longer, many of us love to decorate outside our homes and bring a spot of  joy to passersby. However, powering all those twinkling lights and inflatable characters can add up over the month. Altogether, an extravagant outdoor display, switched on for 8 hours a day, could cost around £43.66 over the festive period4. That would include tree lights, outdoor lights, lights around the door or porch, and a light up inflatable decoration.

You can still be the envy of the neighbourhood whilst saving energy on your decor. Next time you are shopping for outdoor decorations, try switching to solar powered lights. Solar power is renewable and reduces your carbon footprint - but even better it could save you a little money by reducing the electricity you are using from the Grid. 

Inflatables are one of the most expensive decorations to run, and solar powered versions are not as widely available. It may be worth considering an alternative, such as freestanding garden ornaments, to create a joyful display that doesn’t drain your energy.

4. Save on heating when hosting friends and family this season.

Planning a party or a big family dinner? It’s good to bear in mind that when you're entertaining guests all the extra people can generate quite a lot of heat5. Even more so, when you’re cooking for them, as our ovens and hobs will also be pumping extra heat into the room.

If you find things have gotten a little too cosy whilst your guests are around, avoid wasting heat by opening doors and windows. Try adjusting your thermostat for a couple of hours and save a bit of energy on your heating. Just make sure you remember to turn it back up once they have left, to ensure you stay nice and warm through the winter weather.

5. Festive feast too big for the airfryer? Simple cooking tips for entertaining.

The airfryer has become an energy saving hero at dinnertime. However, when cooking up a festive feast or throwing a party it just doesn’t quite have the capacity.

When it comes to using the trusty oven and hob there are a few ways you can still save energy that will ensure nobody needs to go hungry. Firstly, timing is everything. Try to plan your cooking time to maximise the use of your oven. If different elements can cook at the same temperature, try to have them in together so that you reduce the time your oven is on - and thus reduce your energy use.

Another great tip is to make sure you cover your pots and pans with lids when cooking on the stove. Amazingly, this simple switch uses 10% less energy6, which could help you save on your energy bills

6. Deck the halls with light-free festive tree decorations.

When it comes to tree decorations, fairy lights are a staple. However, in most cases, these cute little decorations are the only thing sitting on your tree that requires a plug socket to operate.

Why not ditch the power altogether, for a traditional look that is just as beautiful. Have fun getting crafty and creating paper chains or beautiful ribbon bows to wrap around your tree. Looking to add some sparkle? Tinsel will catch the light from around your home adding a magical glittering touch in place of lights. 

If you do opt for lights, it’s a good idea to look out for LEDs where possible, as they use less energy than incandescent bulbs7.

7. The art of layering - a fun way to stay stylish and warm over winter.

The layering system is a tried and tested way to stay warm in cold weather, popular with hikers and outdoor sports. The gist of it is that wearing multiple thinner layers will keep you warmer than one bulky coat or jumper. This works as each layer traps air between them, which acts as an insulator8. It also means, if you get too warm you can remove a layer to cool off without losing all the warmth you have gained.

Layering isn’t just for outdoor activities though - it’s also a flexible fashion choice that can really elevate your look. Mix and match between interesting colours, fabrics, and styles to create unique outfits and express yourself, whilst keeping cosy this winter. 

8. Draught proof your chimney (don’t worry he can still fit down)

Unsealed chimneys lose heat from your home as they are exposed to the cold outdoor air. A draught excluder could save you around £20 a year by helping to prevent this heat loss9. You can install many of them yourself, and prices start from around £2010, so they can quickly make back their cost in energy savings. 

Alternatively, you can make your own using a bin bag. Ideally stuff the bin bag with unused loft insulation, however an old pillow could be used as a substitute or simply inflate the bag and tie off. Just make sure that you don’t completely seal off air flow in the room, as this could cause condensation.

Psst. Don’t worry about a certain merry friend in red. He knows his way around a chimney, draught excluder or not. So, leave out your mince pies to help him on his way - they’ll be nothing but crumbs in the morning!

Contact our Energy Specialists if you’re having difficulty.

As always, please get in touch if you're struggling to pay for your energy - we'll do all we can to help. Take a look at the help and advice we can offer or send us a message 24/7 on Facebook or Twitter - we're here to answer you between 8am - 10pm every day.

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Published 11/12/2023

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