Our bags are packed, the calendar is marked and it’s FINALLY time for vacation! There’s nothing better than kicking back, relaxing and spending quality time with family and friends. But before we go, there are a few teensy-weensy energy-saving tasks I’ll need to check off the to-do list.
In all the hustle and bustle of the days leading up to vacation, things can get downright hectic. With all the commotion, it’s easy to forget to give the house a little TLC in preparation of our absence. Making sure it’s safe and secure is at the top of the list, but there are a few other tasks that we do to help save electricity while we’re gone.
Prepping the house is quick and easy. Just a few simple steps will help keep it from using – or wasting – energy while we’re away.
Four Easy Steps to Lower Energy Use While Traveling
- Adjust the thermostat. Why waste energy cooling the house while we’re not there. During our summer vacation, we either turn the A/C off or set the thermostat to 85-87 degrees. We don’t have any plants or pets staying behind but if you do, you’ll want to set it to your preference to keep them safe and cool.
- Turn off all fans. We use fans often in our home, especially upstairs where it is always a bit warmer. We turn them off or unplug them when we leave. Remember—fans cool people, not rooms.
- Close the curtains and shades. Even though we’ve already bumped up the thermostat, blocking out the sun will keep the house at a more consistent temperature and that means the HVAC will have even less work to do.
- Unplug the electronics. Many of the electronics in our home still use small amounts of power, even when they’re turned off. I make my rounds to ensure computers, TVs, game systems, coffee makers, microwaves and other electronics are unplugged before we head out the door.
When I’m feeling ambitious, I take a few extra steps for Maximum Efficiency
- Clean out the refrigerator. This one isn’t always doable, but if we’ve managed to clear out the fridge and freezer in the weeks leading up to our vacation we unplug it. If you’re able to do the same, just remember to leave the doors open to prevent mildew.
- Adjust the water heater. Who needs to pay to heat water when you aren’t home to use it? We always set the water heater to “vacation” or “pilot” mode. If this option isn’t available you can simply turn down the temperature. Having readily available hot water on tap can account for up to 25 percent of the energy used in your home.
- Use automated timers. It’s a good idea to have a few lights on at night to make the house appear occupied while we’re away. But it’s a better idea to put a few lights on timers so that they aren’t wasting electricity during the day. We have installed motion-activated lights outside. These lights turn on when there is movement near your home.
- Use an automatic timer for the pool. If you have a pool, putting the filter on a timer is a simple thing to do. Be sure proper chemical levels are maintained since the two go hand-in-hand.
That’s it. Easy, breezy and we’re out the door.