Summer is here. Do you plan to embark on a long-needed vacation in the next few months? Before you leave, be sure to prepare your home so that you don’t come home to a high electricity bill or something much worse, like water or smoke damage. We have created a checklist to perform before you leave so that you can relax knowing your house will be ok while you are gone.
Adjust your thermostat to a less energy-intensive setting while you are gone. Set your home to 80 degrees so that it doesn’t get too warm or stale. The same approach works for winter trips too. If you vacation during colder months, set your home to 60 degrees so that your pipes don’t freeze while you are gone. Of course, these settings are only applicable if you don’t plan on leaving your pets in your home while you are gone.
Adjust your water heater to either a lower temperature setting or the vacation mode setting if your water heater is equipped with this feature. There is no need for your water heater to continue to reheat the water in the tank while you are gone and no one is using water.
Shut off your water valve so that you don’t come to a water-filled home. If you aren’t sure where the main valve is located, find the water meter on the outside of your house and the shutoff valve should be close to the meter but usually on the inside of your home. Be sure to test if you have successfully shut off the water by trying to run the water from the faucet in your kitchen or bathroom sink.
Unplug appliances that don’t need to be plugged in while you are gone. This includes televisions, computers, stereo systems, and any device that draws even a small amount of power when it is turned off but not unplugged. Not only will you save energy, but you will reduce the risk of a power surge destroying those appliances or even causing a fire while you are on vacation. Of course, you don’t have to unplug the appliances if they are connected to a smart power strip that cuts power to devices when they are not in use.
Prepare your refrigerator by cleaning out any food items that may perish while you are out of your house. Throw away meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy items with expiration dates that fall during your vacation. But don’t stop there. After you have cleaned out your refrigerator, fill it back up with bottles full of water. This will actually help your refrigerator run more efficiently while you are gone, because a full refrigerator operates more efficiently.
Only leave LED lights on if you decide to leave some lights on for security reasons. To save energy, connect a few lamps to timers or smart plugs that allow you to control when the lights turn on, so they’re not on during the daytime. And regardless of whether you are going on vacation, your outdoor flood lights should always be on a timer or a motion sensor.