Save energy and money this holiday season

(BPT) – The holidays are a wonderful time of year to gather and celebrate with family and friends. This time of year is also when expenses can soar, especially your utility bills. Thankfully, Chip Wade, HGTV(R) expert, has some advice on how you can save energy, and, ultimately, money, this holiday season:

* Holiday lighting: By choosing ENERGY STAR certified decorative light strings, you will be using 75 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. Want to save more energy? Use a timer for your lights to control when they will turn on and off.

* Prevent heat loss: Find and seal air leaks in your home. “Areas around windows and doors are often culprits for allowing heat to escape,” says Wade. Use caulking or weatherstripping to seal these leaks and keep the heat inside your home.

* Water heating: Did you know you can control the temperature of your water heater? Most households only require water heater thermostats to be set at 120 F, which is lower than what the temperature is typically set at. By lowering your water heating temperature, you’re not only reducing energy but also preventing water from becoming dangerously hot.

* Adjust the temperature: Hosting a holiday gathering this year? Consider turning the thermostat down. “More people in your home means an increase in your home’s temperature,” says Wade. “To accommodate for this, I turn my thermostat five to ten degrees lower than normal before guests arrive, so that they are comfortable.” Also, if you’re traveling for the holidays, it’s good to keep in mind that programmable thermostats like the YORK(R) Affinity(TM) Hx(TM) Touch-screen Thermostat can take care of temperature adjustments for you while you’re away. YORK’s free downloadable app allows you to control the thermostat from your smartphone, no matter where you travel.

* Maintain your heating system: Be sure to schedule regular service appointments with your local technician to keep your heating and cooling system running properly. Also, set a calendar reminder to replace your air filters once a month to maintain proper airflow.

* Choose a high-efficiency furnace: With the first day of winter on the horizon, save energy heating your home by choosing a high-efficiency furnace. “Always consider a furnace’s annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating,” says Wade. “The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace and the greater the amount of heat it delivers for your money. Look for models with AFUE of 90 percent or higher, like a YORK(R) Affinity(TM) gas furnace.”

There are a number of ways to save energy and money this holiday season, especially regarding how you heat your home. Being informed can allow you to not only properly choose the right heating system for your home, but also understand the importance of maintaining it for maximized efficiency. Visit to learn more about residential heating and cooling, and to find a local YORK(R) contractor. You can also follow the company on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook @yorkhomecomfort and @YORKHVAC on Twitter.