Traveling for vacation is so much fun. But what happens while you are away? Your house is still using its resources and you will continue to have utilities you will have to pay. Today I am sharing some easy ways for making your home energy-efficient when traveling.
A lot of people don’t realize how much money you are potentially wasting if you don’t properly prepare your home while you are away. I get it, the excitement of being on vacation can cause you to overlook things. There are 4 main areas that you can save the most with energy-efficiency, and I will discuss them in more detail below.
Most people think that making your home energy-efficient when traveling is a drawn-out or expensive process. Actually, most of the things you need are already in your home, so you won’t have to spend unnecessary money on making these simple steps before you leave for vacation.
Making Your Home Energy-Efficient When Traveling:
AREA #1: Your Heating and Cooling System
- Adjust your thermostat. In the mid to high 60’s if you are traveling during the Winter, and the mid to low 80’s if you are traveling during the Summer. Since no one is there, having the ideal temperature isn’t a priority. The only exception to that is if you have pets at home or plants you don’t want to kill off.A great alternative is to have a programmable thermostat you can control from your smartphone. You can see on a daily basis what the temperatures are back home, and adjust the temperature accordingly.
- Make sure your heating ducts are clean. If you have super dusty ducts, now is a good time to take a moment to clean them out. If they are working hard to get past dirt and debris, you will be wasting more energy. This may be the one step in making your home energy-efficient when traveling that may cost you money. You may need to hire a professional to clean your ducts, but in the long run, it could end up saving you money.
- Use vent deflectors on your floor registers. This is a good way to make sure your heating or cooling is distributed wisely. If your system is working well, and you have it set at the temperature to maintain your home, using the vent deflectors will ensure you aren’t heating or cooling the curtains or windows.
- Turn off ceiling fans. Fans cool people, not rooms. So having them running while you are not home is just a huge waste of electricity.
- Close curtains and blinds during the Summer, and open them during the Winter. Even though you’ve already turned up your thermostat, blocking out the sun will keep your home at a more consistent temperature during the Summer and your HVAC will have even less work to do. Along the same lines, keeping them open during the Winter will allow the sun to come in and warm up your home.
AREA #2: Your Main Living Spaces
- Unplug your electronics. Most of the electronics in your home still use small amounts of power, even when they’re turned off. So make sure any computers, TVs, game systems, coffee makers, slow cookers, microwaves or other electronics are unplugged before you leave. We only really need to leave our internet plugged in because it controls our lighting system.
- Make sure you are using smart power strips. They help protect your electronics from power surges and are designed to be more energy efficient. Leaving things plugged in when we are not home is something I really need to work on. And get the kids on board as well. And probably hubby too!
- Clean out your refrigerator. If you can, completely empty your refrigerator and unplug it. Just remember to leave the doors open to prevent mildew. Since unplugging it generally isn’t a feasible solution for our family, I just make sure I throw away as much unused food items, turn down the temperature a smidge, and add a box of baking soda for odors.
- Adjust your water heater. Turn down your water heater to “vacation” or “pilot” mode. Having readily available hot water on tap can account for up to 25 percent of the energy used in your home.
- Use automated timers. It’s a good idea to have a few lights on at night to make your home appear occupied while you’re away. But it’s a better idea to put a few lights on timers so that they aren’t wasting electricity during the day.
Bonus Tip: If you have to leave lights on at home, make sure you are using LED lighting. It uses a fraction of the energy a normal bulb does AND costs just pennies over the course of your time away.
AREA #3: Outside Your Home
- Use an automatic timer for your pool. Make sure your pool filter is on a timer. Be sure proper chemical levels are maintained since the two go hand-in-hand.
- Consider installing motion-activated lights outside your home. These lights turn on when there is movement near your home.
- Cover outside faucets and outlets. Cold or warm air leaks from these items can cause your heating/cooling system to work harder. Remember to also use foam insulators around your electrical plugs to help maintain proper temperatures.
Making your home energy-efficient when traveling doesn’t have to be a major project. Simple steps done over a short period of time will allow you to enjoy your time away without worrying about wasting energy(and money) when you aren’t home. Doesn’t that sound good?
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How will you be making your home energy-efficient when traveling?