Spring break is finally here! While you and your family prepare for your well-earned vacation, you’ll want to consider making some adjustments to your heating system so that you can have fun in the sun without your electric bill on your mind. We have some tips that will help you save money on electricity while you’re out of town, whether you plan to be gone for a few days or a few weeks.
Adjust Your Thermostat
If no one will be in your home while you’re away, you’ll want to turn down the thermostat so that you don’t waste unnecessary heat and money. Iowa springs can be notoriously unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to set your temperature to around 50 degrees while you’re away so that your pipes won’t freeze if the outside temperature drops below freezing while you’re gone. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set the new temperature to last exactly as long as you’re gone, otherwise make sure to add “turn down the thermostat” at the end of your to-do list as you head out on vacation.
Turn Down the Water Heater
A lot of people overlook the water heater while they get ready to leave their home for a while, but turning down the settings before you leave can save you some extra cash when you pay your next electric bill. Since it’s still possible the temperature will be below freezing while you’re gone, you’ll want to leave the water heater on the lowest setting available (some water heaters actually have a “vacation” setting); this will prevent the water in the tank from freezing while also preventing unnecessary energy from being spent.
Don’t Just Turn Off—Unplug
You’d be surprised to learn how much energy your appliances and devices sap away while they’re plugged in, even if they aren’t running. As you and your family do a last-minute walkthrough after you’ve packed up the car to leave, unplug anything that won’t be necessary while you’re out; TVs, phone chargers, coffee pots, and toaster ovens are all things that can be unplugged with no problem while you’re out of town.
You may also want to consider changing your refrigerator settings before you leave. If you still have food inside of it you won’t want to unplug it, but if you clear out any old leftovers before you leave that won’t be good when you return and change your refrigerator temp to 42 degrees and the freezer to 5 degrees, this will be cold enough to keep the remaining items cold without expending unnecessary energy. Remember to readjust the temperature to your preferred settings when you get back.
Close the Blinds
Before you step out the door, be sure to give your home a little extra insulation while you’re gone by closing the blinds and drawing the curtains! If it’s cold out while you’re gone, this will prevent your home from absorbing the cold air and causing the heater to kick on. If your thermostat is set to automatically turn on the air conditioning once your home reaches a certain temperature, having your blinds closed will also prevent sunshine from heating up the inside of your home in case an unseasonably warm day arrives while you’re out of town.
Make Your Automatic Lights Energy Friendly
Understandably, many people set timed lights for their home while they’re on vacation to keep their home safe from people who might notice your home is darker than usual and take advantage while you’re away. If you plan to keep lights on while you’re gone, you can still save energy by making sure your electricity is working smarter instead of harder.
Keep your lights on a timer
While many people choose to leave a living room or dining room light on inside their home for the duration of their vacation, setting automatic lights will help you lower your energy bill and will also have your lights on only during the times of day when they would normally be on, making your power usage appear more normal to prying eyes. Explore your options and consider investing in an automatic timer. Timers can cost as little as $10 – $30 dollars, and the added peace of mind and potential energy savings will be well worth it.
Choose Energy-Efficient Bulbs
If you’ll have your lights on for part of or all of your vacation, a smart way to save energy is to replace the bulbs you’re leaving on with efficient LED lights. These lights appear just as bright as standard incandescent light bulbs, and they’ll put extra dollars in your pocket that would have otherwise been spent on your energy bill. It’s a good idea to switch over your bulbs to LEDs regardless of whether or not you’re planning to go out of town, but having your automatic lights changed to LEDs is a great first step.
By following these tips, you’ll be setting up your HVAC system and your home in general to operate smoothly and efficiently while you’re out of town. A little bit of extra planning before you leave on vacation will give you the ability to relax a little more while you’re gone, making your vacation more of a break and less of a chore. If you have any questions about how to take care of your HVAC system as the seasons change or you’d like to set up a seasonal tune-up for your system to make sure it works its best as we get closer to summer, contact the professionals at Wyckoff today and we’ll take care of you.