Saving on power during the holidays

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The holiday season is an easy time to inadvertently increase your power bill. Huntsville Utilities officials tell us the type of lighting and heating you use can make a big difference.

We talked to Joe Gehrdes, Huntsville Utilities Director of Communications and Public Relations, about some tips and tricks to save money and electricity.

He said the incandescent vs. LED debate still deserves a mention.

"LED lights use anywhere from a quarter to a tenth of the electricity that an incandescent light will," he said. "But nowadays, it's getting harder and harder to find the incandescent lighting."

The upside, he stated, is that LED lights are safer because they don't produce the same amount of heat that incandescents do. We talked to a fire marshal about that recently.

Plus, LED lights often last longer than their incandescent counterparts.

Overall, Gehrdes doesn't think lighting will increase your bill much.

"The good news, where your holiday lighting is concerned, especially if you're using LED, is you will see little to no effect on your utility bill," Gehrdes explained.

If you're still worried about it, he offers this trick: "Turn your lights off when you go to bed, because probably most people are already in bed, and nobody is enjoying your lights at that time."

Experts said you should instead work to conserve how you use heat elements, like space heaters, this holiday in order to reduce your bill.

"Generally speaking, lighting is not the biggest driver of your utility expense. It's things that heat," said Gehrdes. "If you have central heat and air in your home and it's electric, sometimes when it gets particularly cold outside you'll see what's called your auxiliary heat or emergency heat come on."

He added, "When that heat comes on, you are using a lot more electricity. There are some ways you can combat that. Probably the best suggestion we can give customers is don't move your thermostat around a lot."

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