Before you leave on your summer getaway, make sure that your home is set to save energy. Even if no one is there, your home can still use a surprising amount of energy. Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has created this to-do list of simple, no-cost steps to help you get the most energy-efficient use from your home when it’s empty.
- Your home computer(s), printer, stereo, TVs and set-top boxes, DVRs, and DVD/Blu-Ray players all use electricity, even when they’re not turned on. Unplugging these products or turning multiple electronics off with a power strip (as long as you’re not recording or downloading) before a trip can help you save energy.
- Set the thermostat higher than you typically do when you’re home. A setting in the low 80’s is ideal. A programmable thermostat can automatically hold this temperature setting. For optimum comfort and savings, set your thermostat to 78 degrees when the house is occupied. Also, make sure to close the drapes or blinds on windows facing south and west. This can help keep those rooms cool by shading them from the hot afternoon sun.
- Consider using timers to turn lights on and off each night to improve security by giving your home a lived-in look. Use compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs for inside and outside lights that will be on the longest. Make sure that the compact fluorescent or LED bulbs are compatible with the timers. These bulbs use about two-thirds less power and last up to 10 times longer.
- If a compact fluorescent or LED bulb is not compatible with the timer(s), consider using high-efficiency halogen bulbs, which can save about 30 percent of the energy compared to regular incandescent bulbs.
- If going on a lengthy trip, turn down your water heater’s temperature to the “low” or “warm” or “vacation” setting. Leave a reminder to turn it back up upon returning home.
- Turn off the icemaker before you leave. If going on an extended trip, consider emptying the fridge and turning it off (remember to leave the door open to prevent mildew).
For more information, as well as tips to improve your home’s energy efficiency all-year round, please visit your electric utility’s Web site.