Earth Gauge Tip of the Week: Holiday Gatherings

Reader Contribution by Earth Gauge
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The holiday season is a time for happy gatherings of family and friends.  But a house full of guests can also result in higher energy bills, increased water use and stressed septic systems.  Try these easy tips for a happy, healthy and environmentally-friendly holiday gathering.

  • Heating Help:  Keep everyone warm and save energy at the same time by using a programmable thermostat.  Homeowners can save up to 180 dollars per year by using a programmable thermostat to automatically reduce heating when it’s not needed as much – such as when you are sleeping or away from home.  Learn more about programmable thermostats.
  • A Water Efficient H2Oliday:  Prepping and cleaning up after a holiday meal can

    use a lot of water.  Save a few gallons by thawing frozen foods in the refrigerator instead of using running tap water.  Scrape dirty dishes before you put them in the dishwasher rather than rinsing to save even more.  If every American household reduced their water use by 10 gallons on Christmas Day, we would save more than one billion gallons of water!  Learn more about saving water at home.

  • Septic Smarts:  For the 20 percent of Americans who use septic tanks for wastewater treatment, extra guests can overwhelm the system.  Remind houseguests not to use drains and toilets as trash cans.  And make sure your system is properly maintained to avoid backups and overflows – not only are these costly for homeowners, but they can also contaminate well water and community drinking water supplies.  Learn more about septic systems.

For more tips, visit Earth Gauge!

(Sources: Energy Star Program. “Programmable Thermostats.”;  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Winter Tips.”; Keehner, Denise M., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wetlands Oceans and Watersheds. “Holidays can pose challenges for those with septic systems: Easy ways to keep your holidays smelling sweet.”; Programmable thermostat image courtesy of Energy Savers.)

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