A number of holiday decorations will remain bright while saving Turlock residents money this Christmas season, thanks to Turlock Irrigation District’s first-ever holiday light exchange.
During TID’s annual Public Power Week in early October, the organization promotes energy efficiency by exchanging customers’ older, incandescent light bulbs for free LED lightbulbs. As the holidays approach, TID Public Information Officer Calvin Curtin said that the utilities provider wanted to put a colorful Christmas spin on the well-received giveaway.
“We saw that customers really liked these exchange events, appreciated them and had good interest, so we saw the potential for a similar interest in holiday lights,” said Curtin. “We’re always looking for ways to help customers save money and participate in the holiday season with them.”
Community members lined up to exchange up to three strands of incandescent holiday lights well before the event’s start time of 10 a.m. Monday morning, eager to shed their energy-eating bulbs.
“I came out here to definitely save some money,” said TID customer Eddie Gomes. “These lights are cooler on the tree, and are much less of a fire hazard.”
According to TID employee Monique Hampton, nearly 1,000 strands of multicolored LED lights were distributed at the organization’s three offices in Patterson, Ceres and Turlock over the course of three separate events.
Residents made their way out to each event by the hundreds because, according to Curtin, switching to LED lights just makes sense.
“LED lights, compared to incandescent lights, are brighter, last longer and use up to 90 percent less energy,” said Curtin. “And, they’re cool to the touch, so that makes them safer for families because they don’t get hot.”
Curtin used an example of a popular children’s toy, the Easy-Bake Oven, which uses an incandescent light bulb as its heat source and allows young bakers to create small desserts.
“Think of the amount of energy that must take for a 40-watt light bulb to bake a cake,” said Curtin.
Making the switch to LED lights can prevent the potential fire hazard that incandescent bulbs bring, and there are also other steps households can take to be safer this holiday season. Here are some winter energy-saving tips, courtesy of TID:
· - During the cold, winter months, take advantage of heat made available by the sun by opening and blinds or windows on your home’s south side. Be sure to close them back up when the sun goes down to reduce heat loss.
· - Adjust the temperature of your thermostat according to what’s happening at the moment. Keep your thermostat as low, but comfortable, as possible when you’re home and awake, but if you’re sleeping or away from the house, save some money on your heating bill by turning your thermostat down about ten degrees.
· - Find air leaks around any openings to your home (i.e. windows, doors, utility pipes, water lines, chimney gaps, recess lighting or unfinished spaces in cupboards or closets) and seal them.
· - Add caulking or weather strips to leaky doors and windows. It’s inexpensive, and has a high return on investment.
· - Save energy this winter by maintaining your heating system. If you haven’t scheduled a service for your heater yet, make sure you do so as soon as possible. Replace the filters on your heating system often, too.
In addition to saving energy, TID would like to remind residents to stay safe this winter by keeping a functional carbon monoxide and smoke detectors with working batteries near all sleeping spaces, and by refraining from using gas or wood burning appliances indoors without proper ventilation.