Energy Conservation Strategies While On Vacation

When planning a vacation, it’s crucial to consider how to manage your home’s energy consumption in your absence. This article provides comprehensive strategies for both summer and winter vacations, as well as general tips applicable throughout the year. 

Managing Air Conditioning During Summer Vacations

A common concern is whether to turn off the air conditioning while away. If your primary goal is to conserve energy and save money, turning off the air conditioning entirely is an option. However, this isn’t advisable if pets will remain in the house, as they could overheat. Consult with your pet’s veterinarian to determine a safe and comfortable temperature for them.

In many cases, it’s more energy-efficient and less stressful for your air conditioning system to set your thermostat to around 85 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re away. This is particularly true for short vacations. Each degree increase in the thermostat setting can save up to 7% in energy costs.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can schedule it to lower the temperature on your return day, ensuring your home is comfortable when you arrive. Additionally, closing curtains and blinds before leaving can help reduce heat gain from sunlight. 

Heating Considerations for Winter Vacations

For winter vacations, it’s essential to maintain some heating to prevent water pipes from freezing and bursting. A thermostat setting no lower than 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) is recommended. Closing curtains and blinds can also slow heat loss through windows.

Year-Round Energy-Saving Tips

Unplugging all electronics can result in significant energy savings, as these devices often consume power even when not in use. If your devices are connected to power bars, simply switch them off.

Timers can be used to control indoor and outdoor lighting, creating the illusion of occupancy without wasting energy. Leaving lights on constantly can signal to potential intruders that you’re not home. Timers can also be used for holiday lights, with LED lights being the most energy-efficient option.

If you’ll be away for more than three days, consider lowering your hot water tank’s temperature. Consult your owner’s manual for information on the “vacation setting.”

Managing Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators consume a significant amount of energy. If you’re planning an extended vacation, consider lowering the fridge temperature to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. This will maintain safe temperatures while conserving energy. However, ensure that no spoilable foods are left in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, you can empty and unplug the refrigerator, place a box of baking soda in both compartments to absorb moisture and prevent mold, and leave the doors open to air out. This option is only suitable for extended absences.

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