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Save Energy, Save Money While on Vacation

Summer vacations can be expensive with travel costs, hotel accommodations, and other activities. The last thing you want is to be hit with an expensive power bill when you get home. When you’re on vacation, why pay for energy that you’re not using? Here are some tips to minimize your home’s energy use while you’re out of town.

Adjust the thermostat

Adjust your thermostat before you leave the house for vacation. During the summer months, every degree that you raise the temperature saves 2-3 percent on your electricity bill. If you have pets you’ll have to keep the system running to keep them comfortable, but you can raise the temperature to save money. If your furry friends are staying at a boarding home or you don’t have pets, consider turning off your cooling system completely.

Turn off your water heater

It’s easy to forget about your water heater, which is often tucked away in the basement, but these appliances consumer energy. If you shut off the water heater’s circuit breaker and gas valve you can save money. When you get home, however, don’t forget to run the hot water a bit before turning the heater back on.

If your vacation falls during the winter, you can still save money and reduce your energy use. Instead of turning off your furnace and water heater, just lower the temperatures to keep your pipes from freezing.

Shut the blinds

Keep your blinds shut and curtains closed when you leave the house. This will block the sun and keep the inside cool while you’re on vacation.

Program automatic lights

Consider investing in automatic lights. With this technology, you can still make it look like you’re at home, which protects your home from burglars, but you will reduce your energy use. Automatic timers allow you to program when the lights inside or outside your house turn on and off. While these systems are relatively inexpensive, if you don’t want to purchase automatic timers, enlist a friend to stop by your house and make it look like someone is home.

Unplug your refrigerator

Depending on how long you’ll be out of town, it might be worth unplugging your refrigerator. These appliances suck up a lot of energy. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, the food will go bad anyway so it’s worth cleaning to out and shutting it off. When your trip is for a shorter amount of time, consider raising the temperature a couple degrees. This will keep the food cool but still save energy.

Unplug electronics

Instead of leaving your coffee pot, TV, DVD player and other electronic devices in standby mode, unplug them. Even when they’re off and in standby mode these devices consume small amounts of energy.

To save money while you’re on vacation, go through your home to maximize its energy efficiency. This way you can recharge your batteries while you’re away without being charged for unnecessary energy use at home.