Home & Family

Ways to Keep Your Home Energy Efficient While Traveling

Congratulations, you’ve saved up for a fun vacation! Whether that be a weekend getaway or a European extravaganza, you want to make sure you’re not paying to cool or heat an empty home while you’re away. With a few simple tricks, you can reduce energy consumption in your home. Here are five ways to set your house on vacation mode before you leave.

Unplug Nonessential Electronics

On your final walk-through before you leave, unplug any electronics or appliances that don’t need power while you’re gone. This might include microwaves, clocks, cellphone chargers, desktop computers, and lamps. Even if a device is powered off and not being used, it still sucks energy if it’s plugged into an electrical outlet. In addition to saving energy and money, unplugging electronics reduces the risk of a fire in case of a power surge.

Raise the Refrigerator’s Temperature

If you will be gone for an extended period, unplug the refrigerator to save a significant amount of energy. If you do this, make sure you clean out the fridge and freezer thoroughly, prop the doors open, and leave a box of baking soda in each section to absorb moisture and prevent odors from developing. If you will not be emptying your fridge, adjust the temperature setting on the fridge to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and on the freezer to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. This slight temperature increase will keep your food fresh and cold while saving energy.

Adjust the Thermostat Settings

The easiest way to save energy is to adjust the temperature setting on your thermostat. The suggested rule when you’re away is to raise the temperature 4 degrees in the summer and lower it by 4 degrees in the winter. If you adjust your temperature setting outside of this range, you might consume more energy when you return trying to get the temperature back to normal.

A natural way to regulate the temperature while you’re away is with a programmable thermostat. You can adjust it a couple of degrees in the days prior to your return so the temperature returns to normal gradually without overexerting your HVAC system the day you get back.

Turn Off the Water Heater

If you have an electric water heater, turn it off at the circuit. If you have a gas heater, turn off the gas valve. When you return, run the hot water tap before turning on the water heater to ensure the tank isn’t empty. Heating an empty water tank can cause significant damage to the unit. During the winter, leave the water heater on the lowest possible setting to prevent the water from freezing in the pipes.

Close the Curtains

Lower your blinds and close your curtains before you leave the house. This helps regulate the temperature in your home, meaning the thermostat won’t have to work as hard to maintain its programmed temperature.

Before your next vacation, remember to unplug electronics, adjust the fridge and thermostat temperatures, turn down the water heater, and close the curtains. With these five easy steps, you can rest assured you’re saving energy and reducing your electric bill.

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