When you’re planning to be away on a vacation there are many things to remember, like getting caught up at work and putting a hold on the mail. There are also a few things to take care of around the house and having a checklist may be helpful for saving a few energy dollars while you’re gone.
If you don’t use it, you lose it: set your temperature level accordingly to conserve energy while you’re away. An empty home doesn’t require optimal comfort levels, so program your thermostat to keep a temperature of about five degrees higher than usual while you’re away. You don’t want it to get too warm, though, because you’ll want to protect your wood floors, frames, and furnishings from heat warping.
Before you take off, it might be worth your while to lower the setting on your water heater as well. There’s no need to heat water you won’t be using, so save that energy cost.
While you’re at it, go ahead and turn off the water at the source. That way you won’t have any unexpected leaks while you’re away. The washing machine and toilets won’t need that water while no one’s there to use them.
A great way to save a little energy while you’re gone is to unplug electronics, lamps, and certain appliances (although that does not include your refrigerator or air conditioner). Things that are plugged in (especially electronic equipment) leak energy even when they’re not being used. Unplug for a little while and save a little.
Interior (and exterior) light timers keep everything looking “normal” while you’re away. Lights that come off and on at the appropriate times during the day and night will give the appearance of someone being home. A perpetually dark house practically announces your absence. If you do have an alarm system, just double check it to make sure the motion detectors are in good working order.
It goes without saying that you should close and lock all your exterior doors when you leave — just double check your list to make sure you got them all. Naturally, a locked door discourages a break-in (as does an alarm system), but it also ensures your HVAC system will operate as efficiently as possible.
Exterior doors shut — interior doors open. Leaving all your inside doors open allows a free flow inside and keeps the air circulating properly throughout the house. Otherwise you might create hot room pockets where plants die, and things melt.
This checklist should help with energy efficiency around your house while you’re on vacation. However, if you’re unsure about anything, such as which taps to turn off or how to change the setting on your water heater, just contact a local HVAC company for expert advice.