Are you looking for ways to save money on your utility bill this holiday season? Here are a few tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to help you save energy and money.

Use Power Strips

Even when you aren’t using lights and electronics, they still draw small amounts of energy — at an average cost of $100 a year. Plug your electronics into a power strip and turn it off to reduce your energy bills.

Install a Light Timer

Timer controls allow you turn lights on and off at specific times, while staying in the holiday spirit. Inflatable decorations are often the most expensive to use. A large, animated snow globe can use about 200 watts. As a general rule, the larger the inflatable the more it costs to power.

Use LED Lights

Light up your home with LED lights. They last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. It only costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights.

Save Energy in the Kitchen

Cooking typically accounts for 4.5% of your home’s energy use. During the holidays, that number jumps as high as 15%. Using pots and pans that match the size of the burner can save about $36 a year for an electric range or $18 for gas. And resist the temptation to open the oven door for a peek at your food’s progress — the oven has to work harder each to reheat each time the door is opened. Use the oven light instead.

Buy Energy Star Electronics

Are computers, TVs or other electronics on your wish list this holiday season? Be sure to ask for ENERGY STAR rated home electronics for instant energy savings. Depending on usage, an ENERGY STAR computer can save 30-65 percent more energy compared a computer without this designation.

Take Advantage of Sunlight

Use sunlight to your advantage this winter. Open curtains during the day and allow sunlight to warm your home naturally. Close curtains at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Weatherizing your windows can reduce drafts, and installing storm windows can cut heat loss through your windows by 25-50 percent.

Maintain Your Fireplace

Proper chimney maintenance — like sealing your fireplace flue damper, caulking around your hearth, and installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system to blow warmed air back into the room — will help keep warm air in your house and cold air out.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Don’t pay for warm air you’re not using while you’re away for the holidays. A programmable thermostat can automatically lower the temperature, and 10-15 degrees for eight hours can save 5-15 percent a year on heating bills. The key is to set it and forget it.

Get a Home Energy Audit

Give yourself the gift of energy savings by having The Energy Cooperative perform a home energy audit. Our energy advisor will check your home for air leaks, inspect insulation, survey heating and cooling equipment and more. We can also recommend ways to save you money on your utility bill.