Summer’s in full swing and you may be planning to escape the heat in the mountains or lean into it at the beach. Wherever you’re heading for summer fun, you’re probably considering the cost of gas or airfare, hotels, restaurants and souvenirs. Don’t add to the cost by paying for energy you’re not using back home. By taking advantage of some simple tips, you may be able to splurge on your vacation with the money you’re saving.
1. Start with your air conditioner. “Cooling your house is your biggest energy cost in the summer,” said Kelly Kuehn, who manages Duke Energy’s MyHome Energy Report. She recommends turning your AC up to 84 degrees before you hit the road. If you have a smart thermostat, you can turn it down remotely when you’re on your way home so you’ll be welcomed to a cool house. Newer thermostats have a “vacation mode” setting. Set the thermostat fan to “auto.”
2. Be sure to close the blinds or pull the curtains before you head down holiday road.
3. Turn off your electric water heater at the breaker so it’s not keeping your reserve hot water warm when you don’t need it. If you’re reluctant to turn it off, consider turning it down.
4. A full refrigerator is more energy efficient than a half-empty one, so resist the urge to purge everything before you skip town. Even if you stuff your fridge full of water bottles – and make sure they’re full – it’s more efficient than having little to nothing in there.
5. “Unplug anything with a light on it,” Kuehn said. “The TV, DVD player, cable boxes, laptop, printers, toaster oven, coffee maker, chargers – none of them need to be plugged in when you’re out of town for a week or more.” If they’re plugged in to a smart strip, then you don’t have to walk around the house unplugging one appliance or device after another.
6. This may seem obvious, but make sure your lights (you are using LED bulbs, aren’t you?) and fans are off before you go.