For a tip a day from now through the Winter Solstice read the Energy Saver's 12 Days of Energy Savings to learn how to save energy and money, helping you and ALL Americans transition to a clean energy future. #12DaysofEnergySavings


Tip 1: Thermostat

While you’re all bundled up and watching your favorite holiday specials on TV, lower your thermostat to save up to 30% on your energy bill. #12DaysofEnergySavings.

To learn more about how to save energy and money with thermostats check out the thermostat and home heating pages here on Energy Saver.

Outdoor Lighting

Tip 2: Outdoor LED Lights

Do you want to be like the Griswolds and have the best outdoor decorations in your neighborhood? Here’s two energy-saving pro tips to make certain your decorations to not eat away at your money for Christmas gifts:

  • Use LEDs for your holiday lighting.
  • Add timers so that your displays automatically turn off in the daytime.

For more information on energy efficient lighting options go to our Lighting Choices page.  #12DaysofEnergySavings


Tip 3: Fireplaces and Chimneys

Fireplaces are an undeniable pleasure—especially during the holidays!  

However, fireplaces can be problematic when it comes to home energy efficiency. But there are ways to make that fireplace more efficient:

  • Close the flue when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Check your hearth for any cracks and seal them—heat can even escape from hairline fractures.
  • Ensure glass door screens shut tightly when the fireplace is not in use. 

Tip 4: Weatherization

Many of the tips being shared this 12 Days of Energy Savings come down to weatherization. 

Weatherizing your home by sealing cracks, insulating, and controlling moisture helps you save energy and, therefore, save money. It has the added benefit of improving the comfort of your home.

Weatherstripping and caulking is one of the most effective weatherization upgrades for a home, especially if the home is older or drafty. 

Weatherstrip and caulk leaky windows, doors, and air ducts to keep the elements outside, where they belong, and help make your home comfortable. That will also help you save money on your energy bill. And it is one of the simpler energy efficiency tasks to tackle.  

Take a look at our DIY pages as well as our weatherstripping, caulking, and air sealing pages for more information. Learn more at our weatherize page on Energy Saver.


Tip 5: Faucets

Faucets can use a lot of hot water, which costs you money. Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill. 

You can lower your water heating costs by using and wasting less hot water in your home. To conserve hot water, fix leaks, install low-flow fixtures, and insulate accessible hot water lines, 

The aerator—the screw-on tip of the faucet—ultimately determines the maximum flow rate of a faucet. Aerators are inexpensive to replace and they can be one of the most cost-effective water-conservation measures. For maximum water efficiency, purchase aerators that have flow rates of no more than 1 gallon per minute. Some aerators even come with shut-off valves that allow you to stop the flow of water without affecting the temperature. When replacing an aerator, bring the one you're replacing to the store with you to ensure a proper fit.

Energy Audit

Tip 6: Home Energy Assessment

The first step toward an energy-efficient home is a home energy assessment, sometimes referred to as a home energy audit. A home energy assessment is a yardstick to measure your home’s performance and is necessary to understand how you and your home use energy and where improvements can be made. 

professional home energy assessment is arguably the best way to determine your home’s efficiency. Energy assessments must be thorough and properly conducted, and a professional in the field can offer assurance that everything is accounted for and thought through. Even though professionals tend to do such inspections in person, remote energy assessments have become more popular because of pandemic concerns. Remote inspections will require you to walk through the house with a tablet or smart phone while the assessor is online with you.

However, you can conduct your own "do-it-yourself" home assessment by doing a simple but diligent walk-through and spotting many problems in any type of house. Although that may not be as thorough as a professional home energy assessment, you can pinpoint some of the easier areas to address.

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, start any energy efficiency upgrades with a home assessment. You will be glad you did.


Tip 7: Ventilation

Ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with methods to avoid heat buildup in your home. In some cases, natural ventilation will suffice for cooling, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, and window fans. For large homes, homeowners might want to investigate whole-house fans.

Water Heating

Tip 8: Water Heating

Water heating accounts for about 18% of your home's energy use and is the typically the second largest energy expense in any home. 

You can reduce your water heating bills in four primary ways, when you:

  • Use less hot water.
  • Use energy-saving strategies, such as turning down the thermostat on your water heater.
  • Insulate your water heater and pipes.
  • Buy a new, more efficient model or type of water heater.

Check out our water heating infographic, and explore the Energy Saver Water Heating page to start saving on your water heating expenses.

Indoor Lighting

Tip 9: Indoor LED Lights

If you have not yet started decorating your home you still have a chance to buy LED light strings for your interior holiday lighting. LED (or light emitting diode) light strings can use 90% less energy than regular incandescent light strings. They also last about 10 times longer, are far cooler (thus reducing fire hazards), and are more durable. Many of them have programming features that allow a lot of creativity when making displays.

If you have already decorated your home and do not yet have LED lights for your holiday decorations, take advantage of last-minute or post-holiday shopping deals to set yourself up for next year’s decorating. 

Storms Windows

Tip 10: Windows

Energy-efficient windows are an important consideration for both new and existing homes. Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use. 

If your existing windows are in good condition, taking steps to improve their efficiency to reduce their energy loss may be the most cost-effective option to make your home more comfortable and save you money on energy bills.

There are several things you can do to improve the efficiency of your existing windows. You can:

If you decide to replace your windows, you will have to make several decisions about the type of windows you purchase and the type of replacement you will make. It's important to choose the most efficient windows you can afford that work best in your climate. You will also need to decide what features you want in your windows, such as:

  • Frame types
  • Glazing type
  • Gas fills and spacers
  • Operation types.

Visit the Window Types page for more information on all of these options. 

Go Solar

Tip 11: Go Solar

Solar energy can generate all or some of a home’s electricity needs, depending on the number of solar panels used, and can heat water as well. With ample sunlight, photovoltaic (PV) systems can harness energy in hot and cold climates. The basic building block of a PV system is the solar cell. Multiple solar cells form modules called solar panels that range in output from 10 to 400 watts. Panels are designed to survive storm and hail damage and are resistant to degradation from ultraviolet rays. They are highly reliable and require little maintenance.

Check out Energy Saver to learn how to use solar energy at home.

Home Efficiency

Tip 12: Other Home Upgrades

For our last tip on the 12 Days of Energy Savings we encourage our readers to take on other energy efficiency projects of their own. We have highlighted a dozen ideas for you here. 

But you know your home best, and based on that knowledge and the advice from a qualified home energy assessor, you can identify what projects to tackle. If you are not certain about doing a big project, try tackling some smaller or easier projects first. Sometimes smaller, easier projects can result in significant savings, such as changing out old incandescent bulbs and fixtures for LED products. We also have some great DIY projects for you to try on the Energy Saver site. 

But you do not have to do projects yourself. If you do not have the confidence or ability to tackle a project on your own, bring in a professional to make sure the job is done correctly. We bet that when you see the savings from taking steps to upgrade your home you will want to take on greater projects for even greater savings. That is our holiday present to you—a comfortable, affordable, and efficient home.