Whether you want to go on a family vacation during the summer or a getaway to somewhere warm in the winter, planning a trip makes for a full to-do list. One big item on that to-do list is making sure your home is safe and secure while you’re away.
Before you run through the house checking you have everything packed, set aside time to adjust the settings on the thermostat, appliances, and electronics. Doing so can help keep your home safe, avoid any unintentional damage and help you save energy while on vacation and save on your electricity bill.
Here are Gexa Energy’s top items to add to your vacation prep checklist to ensure your home is prepared for energy savings while you enjoy your time away.
Reset the thermostat
If you have a smart thermostat, you can set it to “vacation” mode to override your daily schedule and even make changes from away with your smartphone or tablet. This way, you can set your home to be at your desired temperature when you arrive.
If you have a manual thermostat, the best temperature to leave the house on vacation in winter is 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. This can help reduce heating costs while you’re gone.
If pets are staying in the home while you’re gone, consult your veterinarian about the safest home temperature for their comfort and health.
Be smart with your lights
Leaving lights on while you’re away can make your home seem occupied and deter potential intruders. However, running your lamps all day can be a significant waste of energy. A smart criminal may also notice when lights remain on continuously and see this as a sign of vacancy.
Be sure to turn off all lights when you leave the house for vacation and use timers to schedule a few lights to come on in the evening and go off around bedtime. This will help your home appear occupied without wasting energy. If you don’t have any timers set up, consider investing in products to help automate your home.
Turn off electronics and small appliances
Many appliances and electronics continue to use electricity when plugged in, even in sleep or standby mode. Keep these “energy vampires” from using energy by turning off and unplugging them. Not sure what to unplug when going on vacation? Stick with items that won’t be in use, like your television, gaming systems, computers, toaster, and coffee maker.
To make this item on your pre-trip to-do list even simpler, plug multiple appliances or electronics into one power strip. Then you can turn everything off with a convenient flip of a switch.
When it comes to unplugging the refrigerator, vacations lasting over four weeks are the only time to do so. Make sure to empty the entire fridge before unplugging.
Lower blinds and close curtains
While natural light is a plus when you’re home, it can bring in unnecessary heat when you’re away. One of the simplest vacation energy saving tips is to lower all blinds and close curtains to keep your HVAC system from having to manage the temperature.
Blocking off windows with closed blinds and drapes can also prevent potential intruders from peeking in to see if you’re home.
Adjust your water heater
One of the major energy users in a home, an electric water heater will continue to heat water even if you’re not there to use it. To prevent this, turn off power to the water heater at the breaker. Just remember to turn it back on when you return home.
If you have a gas water heater, don’t turn it off completely because you will then have to relight the pilot light when you return, which usually must be done by a professional. Instead, adjust the temperature to a lower setting or switch to water heater vacation mode, if available, and switch back to the normal setting when you get home.
And if you’re dreaming of a warm shower when you return from vacation, don’t worry. Most water heaters will reheat to their set temperature in about an hour or less.
Don’t empty the fridge
A stocked fridge stays cold much better than an empty one, so don’t rush to clean out everything before you leave for vacation. Instead, focus on getting rid of perishables or other items that may go bad and leave your fridge as full as possible.
If you don’t have enough items in your fridge to keep it packed, fill up jugs of water or ice trays to help the appliance run effectively.
Bonus: You can also save energy while on vacation by adjusting your refrigerator’s settings to a slightly higher temperature.
Turn off ceiling fans
It can be easy to forget that your ceiling fans are on in the summer months. But with no one home, these fans are wasting energy. Do a quick walk-through before you leave to make sure all ceiling fans are turned off, along with all the lights.
Adjust pool settings
If you have a pool or hot tub, adjust the settings before you leave for your getaway. You can save energy while on vacation by reducing the running time of your pool pump and spa heater, or even turning the heater off entirely.
Your home energy savings will vary depending on the number of days you’re away on vacation and how many of these vacation energy saving tips you use. But even a few small adjustments before leaving can make a big impact on your electric bill and take steps toward making your home more energy efficient year-round. With a little extra preparation and time, you can prevent your home from wasting energy while you’re off on your relaxing getaway.
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