Vacation energy efficiency tips
When you’ll be away or on vacation for more than a few days, there are several things that you can do to minimize your household’s energy use:
- Check the stat. Before you leave, set your thermostat between 82-85 degrees, but don’t turn off your AC system completely. There are several reasons why this is not recommended. When you return home and turn down the thermostat, your AC will need to work harder to restore a comfortable temperature and will use more energy. Some air circulation also is needed to control the humidity in your home to control mold. Your AC system both cools and dehumidifies your home. If you have a programmable thermostat, use the “vacation” mode setting, which automatically goes into “eco” or “away” mode when it detects you’re away. Also, set the fan to “auto” instead of “on,” which uses more energy to continuously run the fan.
- Stock the fridge. A full refrigerator stays cold better and longer and uses less energy than an empty one. If you intentionally reduced the amount of refrigerated foods you have because you’ll be on vacation, fill pitchers and empty milk jugs with water to fill the extra space to help keep other items cold. You can save more energy by adjusting your refrigerator setting refrigerator to 38°F and your freezer to 5°F. If you’ll be away for more than a month, you may want to empty the refrigerator and turn it off.
- Adjust your water heater setting. Turn your water heater to vacation mode or lower the temperature to 50 degrees to reduce energy use. Many water heaters can quickly heat water in a short amount of time if a warm shower is needed when you return.
- Turn off ceiling fans. Do a walk-through of your home before you leave to make sure all of the fans are turned off.
- Turn off lights or use timers. Even if you’re using LED lights, you’ll want to turn off all lights before you leave the house. You can use timers to turn on a few lights in the evening for a couple of hours as a security measure to make it look like someone’s home.
- Unplug appliances or turn off smart power strips. Any electronic product with a power light should be turned off and unplugged. This includes your television, DVD player, cable boxes, gaming console and computer. Plug several appliances in one room into a smart power strip and turn off the strip when you leave to prevent phantom energy draw.
- Change pool pump and spa settings. If you have a pool, reduce the running time for your pool pump to save energy. If you have a spa, turn off the heater or reduce the temperature before you leave.
- Close curtains and lower blinds. Even if you’ve set your thermostat to vacation or eco mode, your air conditioning will run if your home heats up from sunlight shining through windows and creating radiant heat. It’s also a good security measure so that others won’t know you’re away.