Going out of town this summer? There are a lot of things to remember when planning a trip, from travel logistics to what to pack in your suitcase, but don’t forget to take a few extra steps to reduce energy use in your home while you’re gone. Mark off the items on this checklist to make sure you don’t end up paying for energy you do not need.
- Adjust your thermostat. There’s little need in cooling an empty home. Raise the temperature on your thermostat while you’re away as high as 85°F. If you have a smart or programmable thermostat, schedule the temperature to lower to the recommended 78°F shortly before you arrive back home so the house feels comfortable. If you have pets that will remain in the house while you’re gone, be sure to only raise the temperature to the point where they will still be safe and comfortable. This also applies to expensive wooden furniture as wood can expand with high levels of humidity.
- Keep blinds and curtains closed. Before you leave for your trip, close all your blinds and curtains. This prevents excess heat from entering your home and decreases the strain on your air conditioning unit.
- Unplug electronics and appliances. Contrary to popular belief, electronic devices and appliances use electricity anytime they are plugged in, not just when they are in use. Unplug any non-critical devices like your toaster, computer, oven or TV before you head out to reduce energy use throughout your house. You can continue to leave certain things unplugged once you get back home and try to get in the habit of only plugging them in during use.
- Turn off lights. Make sure all lights are turned off any time you leave the house, not just when you’re on vacation! If you feel more comfortable leaving a few lights on when you’re gone to help with your security, set certain lights to turn on and off with a timer.
- Turn off your water heater breaker. If no one is home, why waste energy heating your water? Before you leave, turn off your water heater breaker. Just remember to set a reminder to turn it back on after your trip so you avoid a cold shower once you’re home.