6 Ways to Save Energy At Home When You’re Away From Home!
When you go on vacation or away for the winter, you might think the electricity being used in your home drops to next to nothing. But that’s not quite right. Your empty home continues to use energy in several ways.
So, before you go away, here are a few simple things you can do to save energy in a vacant home. Consider these tips, if you’re going away for 2-3 weeks or longer.
Think About Heat
If you’re away from home during the heating season, one of the biggest factors that impacts the energy use in a vacant home is the temperature setting on your thermostat. For every degree set back during your time away, you can save about 5% on heating costs. But there is a limit to how low you should go. Setting the thermostats to 15°C is reasonable, but if your home has more drafts or dial thermostats, the temperature may drop lower than your thermostat setting, in that case you may need to increase the temperature setting. If it’s going to be really cold while you’re gone, consider shutting off the main water valve and draining the pipes before you leave. And make sure somebody is checking on your house during your extended absence.
Don’t Forget Your Water Heater
It’s out of sight, so it’s easy to forget about your water heater. Your hot water tank keeps water at 55-60°C, 24 hours a day. Switching the water heater off completely only makes sense if you keep it off for a week or more. If you have an electric water heater, you will need to shut the power supply off as well as the cold water supply to the water heater. This will save energy and also limit damage in the event of a leak.
When you return, do a visual inspection of the tank. Make sure the cold water supply to the water heater is open and the tank is completely full before you switch the power supply back on. Allow 4-5 hours to reheat the water in the tank.
Turn off all the lights in your home, including night lights. For security, set energy-efficient LEDs on timers or schedule them with WIFI-enabled smart plugs. Motion detectors are also great for outdoor lighting.
How About Fridges and Freezers?
Refrigerators and freezers will continue to operate to maintain preset temperatures. If you’re leaving on an extended trip, consider emptying your fridge completely and turning the thermostat to the warmest setting. Or empty it, unplug it or switch it off at the breaker, and prop the door open. If you empty your freezer, unplug that too. This tip is especially useful if you’re away during warmer summer months.
Small Appliances Matter Too
It’s simple – anything with a clock uses electricity. Your coffee maker, cable box, game console – they all use power, even when not in use. So unplug them before you head out.
Pull the Plug on Electronics
Many household electronics use power even when they are turned off. Unplug computers, laptops, hard drives, TVs, and portable devices, including cameras, before you leave.