There’s a lot to plan when you go on vacation. If you have time, it’s helpful to make a comprehensive ‘to-do’ list that includes general household tasks to keep your energy costs down while you’re gone.
To conserve or not to conserve
Should you turn off your HVAC system while you’re away? Turning it off while you’re away may seem like a good way to save on energy costs, but while your house won’t be populated — it won’t be empty either.
In the warmer months, keeping a minimal temperature setting can protect your empty rooms from:
- Mold and mildew growth
- Musty odors
- Peeling paint
- Warped wood furniture, cabinets, or floors
Additionally, it can keep high temperatures from spoiling food in your pantry or placing stress on your refrigerator/freezer. Heat can also be detrimental to sensitive electronic equipment.
Keeping a steady temperature (about 5 degrees higher than a comfortable temperature in warm months, and 5 degrees lower than comfortable in cooler months) can also help keep pipes from bursting if temperatures outside happen to drop below freezing while you’re gone.
Tip: A programmable thermostat is a convenient way to check the temperature in your house from a remote location – and even slowly adjust it to a comfortable setting over a couple of days before your return.
Tip: Don’t close off all your vents and registers because it can cause efficiency issues for your equipment; make sure they’re all open before heading out.
CHECKLIST OF FURTHER SUGGESTIONS
There are several things you can do that will save you money on your energy bill and ensure peace of mind when it comes to prepping your house for your absence. Follow this checklist:
Check windows and doors
Make sure you close and lock all doors and windows. Not only does it ensure security, it’s another way to make sure your HVAC runs as efficiently as possible.
Tip: Do, however, open all your interior doors. This keeps the air circulating throughout the house and avoids creating hot spots where plants might die, or cold spots where a pipe might burst.
Turn off water
Go ahead and turn off the water line that supplies your washing machine and toilets; you could avoid an unexpected leak while you’re out of town.
Change water heater setting
Adjusting the temperature on your water heater still prevents water in the lines from freezing if temperatures drop while you’re away, but it won’t spend energy keeping water you’re not using hot in the tank.
Timers, motion detector check
If you have them, make sure motion detectors are in working order. Set your light timers to turn on and off in different rooms.
Use a surge protector
Installing a surge protector (if you don’t already have one) is an inexpensive – yet effective – way to protect your HVAC equipment and any other costly electronic equipment from an unexpected storm or power surge.
Tip: We all have those ‘vampire appliances’ that leak energy — items like televisions, lamps, and electronic equipment. They are usually plugged in continually and leak energy even when not in use, so unplug them before you go.
Having a checklist is a great way to take care of all the tasks and help you have a worry-free vacation. If you’re unsure which taps to turn off or how to reset the temperature on your water heater, you can contact a local service technician to give everything a quick ‘once-over’ before you leave.