Halloween is a time for scary good fun, yummy treats and Spooktacular costumes. A spike in your power bill is the last thing you want to ruin your Halloween fun. But you may not be aware of the effect that some of your favorite festivities have on your home’s energy usage. Follow these simple tips to enjoy a fun and cost-effective Halloween this year.
Planning on handing out goodies to the neighborhood kids this year? Well, candy may not be the only thing that you send out the door. If you are running your heating system, or heck, it is St. Louis, it may end up being 80 degrees outside and you’ll find yourself running your AC system, you will be sending fists full of energy out the door each time someone comes knocking.
Constantly opening and closing your front door will let the warm air out and the cold air in. Which means your heating system will need to run longer and more often to keep your home comfortable.
Ideally, the best way to avoid this is to not run your HVAC system when the trick-or-treaters are out and about. However, this is likely only an option for you if the outside temperature is at a comfortable level for you. If this is the case, you can open the windows and let the cool fall air flow through your home.
Again, since we are in St. Louis, the weather isn’t likely to cooperate, and you’ll want to run your heating system. If this is the case and you have a fairly new and secure, airtight storm door, you could conceivably leave your main door open for a few hours without wasting too much energy, allowing you to watch the trick-or-treaters come and go.
*Make sure the screens are shut!
However, if your storm door is older, not very airtight or you simply don’t have one. You’ll need to shut your main door in between each guest, in order to conserve energy.
You may also consider setting your thermostat a little lower than you normally keep it during the trick-or-treating hours. This way your system won’t have to work so hard to maintain a higher temperature.
Setting the Mood
Candles are a great way to give your home that Halloween feel but they do have unforeseen consequences. A candle or two, won’t cause a major disturbance but if you have a lot of candles or several larger ones, they can release a lot of heat. Now, if it’s a nice cool Halloween evening, the heat from the candles could actually help you save on energy. However, if it’s an unusually warm night and you’re running your AC, then the heat from these candles will add a pretty scary surprise to your next energy bill.
If the temperature is more summer than fall, you might consider using battery powered candles to conserve energy. Additionally, battery powered candles can be used year after year, which will help save money in the long run.
Another unforeseen issue caused by traditional candles are the effects they have on your home’s air filtration. Burning candles do produce soot and even though these are tiny particles, that can add up to major problems for you. These particles accumulate on your air filter or air handler, and this will restrict the air flow through your heating and cooling system. Thus, reducing efficiency, forcing your system to work harder and costing you more money. Not to mention what the added soot particles do to the air quality in your home.
Again, battery powered candles would be a great option, as they don’t produce soot. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about a fire breaking out in your home if you accidentally forget to turn one off before leaving or going to bed. If you truly want the authentic Halloween feel with real burning candles and everything, they make candles out of more natural materials like soy or beeswax, which are supposed to produce less soot.
If you do decide to use candles or anything with an open flame, please do so safely. Keep open flames away from anything flammable and blow out all candles when they are not attended, leaving your home or going to bed.
Hosting a Halloween party this year? Here are a couple money saving tips. Firstly, added bodies, means added heat to your home. So, once everyone has been in your home for a little while, you might be able to turn off (or at least down) your heating system for a bit. You might even need to open a few windows, depending on how active everyone is.
If you’re cooking your oven will put off a good deal of heat. If you have a ceiling fan, use it to move the heat from your oven through your home. Since your oven is already running, there isn’t any reason you shouldn’t get the most bang for your buck!
Decorating your home is one of the best things about Halloween but you want to make sure that your festive decorations aren’t costing you an arm and a leg. If you’re using Halloween lights, remember to turn them off before going to bed to save energy. Home improvement stores offer a variety of devices that allow you to put your lights on a set timer, the lights will come on and off at a set time of your choosing. Then you never have to deal with waking up in the morning only to realize that you forgot to turn off your lights and they have been on all night long.
If you’re hosting a party, haunted house or you just want to add an element of fun for the trick-or-treaters with a fog machine, you might be in for a scary surprise of your own. Fog machines put off a decent amount of heat, which if it’s a cool autumn night will be fine, however, if Halloween falls on an unusually warm night, the added heat from the fog machine will have your AC working overtime. Another consideration with using a fog machine indoors is what the machine puts in the air. You will likely need to change your air filter after using the machine so that you’re not still breathing in the fog juice particles at Thanksgiving dinner.
When decorating, consider placement. You don’t want to put decorations in places they will obstruct air flow. Avoid blocking vents and windows if you’re hoping to open them when the weather is nice. Restricting your homes air flow will force your heating and cooling system to work harder to try and force air through your home and keep you comfortable.
Halloween is a fun and exciting time of year but if you’re not careful, it can also be pretty scary…for your wallet! Don’t let your Halloween fun be spoiled by an unusually high-power bill in November. Keep these tips in mind when celebrating and you won’t need to fear the mailman next month!