Lots of us will be packing our bags to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, or we’re planning our trips for Christmas or vacation. Your house might sit empty for days or a full week or two this holiday season. Here are a few things you can do to save energy while away:
1. Turn down the thermostat
You won’t be in your home so you don’t need it to be comfortable. You can keep your house as low as 60 or 55 degrees before you have to worry about pipes freezing. Decide what’s safest for your home and its contents. Space heating can account for almost half of your electric bill, so if you turn it down when you don’t need it, you can enjoy some pretty significant savings.
2. Unplug unnecessary appliances
Learn about vampire drain.
Your TV and other appliances draw power even when off. Unplug them or turn off the power strip that they’re on.
3. Lower your water heater
You won’t be taking any showers while you’re away and you won’t need hot water. Turn off or down your water heater. That appliance alone can account for 20 percent of your energy usage.
4. Close blinds and shades
Window treatments are very good insulators, both for heat and cold. In the summer, they block sunlight that can overheat and in winter, they can create a barrier, keeping heating energy in. If you keep your blinds closed, it’ll help maintain your home’s temperature. Also, it’s advisable to keep your blinds closed for safety purposes.
We also recommend putting some lights on timers while you’re gone. We know it will use and not save energy, but lights going on and off can simulate a presence in your house, which is proven to deter break-ins and crime.
It’s also important to enlist the help of a neighbor or friend who will be in town to keep an eye on your home. Home fires don’t wait until you’re there and crime is more likely when you’re not.