When family members and friends come to visit during the holidays, it’s easy for your energy use to increase. But, you can balance your guests’ comfort along with your checkbook by taking a few simple steps to conserve power.

“By making smart choices, you can maximize your energy savings, even when your guests stay overnight,” said Francisco Castro, Manager of Residential Energy Efficiency Programs and Services for UniSource Energy Services.

This holiday season, follow these six easy tips to save energy:

1. Load it Up

Running your appliances at full capacity can conserve energy, said Armando Ruiz, Senior Technical Specialist in Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs and Services for UniSource.

Keep your refrigerator packed. Chilled food helps maintain the temperature inside the refrigerator, so the compressor will run less. Get the most out of your oven’s heat by cooking multiple dishes at the same time – throw in the turkey and the candied yams together. Also, make sure your dishwasher is as full as possible before running it.

2. Turn it Down

When you have company, you can turn down the thermostat because the house will naturally be warmer with more people inside. Also, if you’re using your oven, the excess heat will help warm up the kitchen area. Space heaters can be used temporarily in smaller areas that may get chilly.

3. Circulate the Air

Ceiling and table fans can increase airflow and keep rooms from getting stuffy. In the colder months, switch ceiling fans to the clockwise position to draw up and then recirculate warm air.

4. Set the Timer

Use timers for lights in common rooms or outdoor areas. With guests sleeping over and staying up late, some lights may end up staying on too long. Plus, schedule your holiday lights to go on and off.

5. Downsize

If your recipe doesn’t require a big oven, don’t use it. Heat up leftovers or snacks in the microwave. Put smaller dishes in the toaster oven. Use a Crock-Pot to simmer chili or soup. Find more holiday cooking tips.

6. Unplug to Conserve

You might be accustomed to unplugging your appliances or turning off power strips when they’re not in use. But, your guests might not be, or they might not do it at your house. Unplugging devices when they’re not in use can prevent the wasting of “phantom” energy. So, take a look around your house. Unplug that coffee maker that your sister left on and turn off the video game console when your nephew goes outside.

Find more holiday energy-saving tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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