While vacations are a great way to unwind and escape from the daily grind, going on vacation also tends to be incredibly expensive. The average family of four spends nearly $5,000 on a vacation, and many people spend months saving and scrimping in order to afford it in the first place. Still, the saving doesn't have to stop when you walk out the door. By taking these few simple steps prior to leaving the house, you can dramatically cut down on energy usage to ensure you are faced with a smaller electricity bill when you arrive back home.
Check Your Thermostat
There is no need to keep your thermostat set at the same level while you're on vacation as you do when you're actually home. After all, what is the point of keeping the house nicely warmed or cooled if you are not there to enjoy it? No matter whether you will be away for a few weeks or only the weekend, you will want to make sure to adjust your thermostat before setting off. Of course, the adjustment depends on whether you're traveling during the summer or winter.
Long Island can have brutally hot summers, and your air conditioner is obviously key in helping to beat the summer heat. Still, you want to make sure that your A/C doesn't continually run when you are away. During the summer, it is generally best to set your thermostat no lower than 85 degrees or just shut the air conditioner off altogether. Still, you probably can't get away with shutting your heater off altogether in the winter, as this risks your pipes potentially freezing. Nonetheless, setting your thermostat as low as it will go will keep your pipes from freezing without seeing you waste too much energy on heating.
Unplug Your Appliances and Electronics
Experts tend to refer to plugged in electronics and appliances as 'electricity vampires.' The reason is that all electronics still use electricity even when they're turned off. For this reason, you'll want to make sure to go around the entire house and unplug all of your appliances and electronics to prevent wasted electricity while you're away.
Remember Your Water Heater
The water heater is generally the third greatest user of electricity in the average home. It takes a lot of power to constantly keep that big tank of water heated up, which means you can save quite a bit by making sure to turn your water heater off before leaving for vacation. Electrical water heaters can simply be shut off by switching the breaker in your main electrical panel. On the other hand, if you have a gas water heater, you'll either want to close down the main gas valve or switch the unit to pilot-only mode.
Close Your Curtains and Blinds
Improving your home's efficiency is the key to saving power while on vacation, and in this case, your window coverings can be a huge help. During the hot Long Island summers, keeping your curtains and blinds closed will help to keep the house cooler and thus ensure that your air conditioner runs less. Even if you set the thermostat to 85, the scorching heat outside means the A/C will still come on from time to time. Still, closing your window coverings is a good way to ensure that the unit comes on less frequently. Closing your window shades also provides benefits during the winter by adding another layer of insulation and thus helping to keep the home warmer. As with the summer, this will ensure that your heater has less work to do.
Smart Power Usage is Key
Most security experts recommending keeping a few lights turned on in order to hopefully deter thieves. Someone is generally much less likely to attempt to break into a home if they think that someone is home, which definitely makes this a useful option. However, leaving a few lights on throughout the duration of your trip will obviously add up to a higher electricity bill. For this reason, it is recommended that you put your lights on an automatic timer. This will allow you to gain the benefits of making it look like someone is at home without wasting too much power.
More and more homeowners are also turning towards smart home controls and home automation to improve efficiency and add another layer of convenience. Homeowners that take advantage of these smart home controls gain the added benefit of being able to control their thermostat, lights and other electronics remotely from their smartphone or other mobile device. In this way, you don't need to resort to automatic timers as you can simply turn the lights on and off from your phone—no matter where in the world you are.
If you have already had to spend months of saving up for your vacation, there is no point on wasting money while you are away. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take these few simple steps to cut down on power usage. In this way, you can enjoy the benefits of your vacation without having to worry about waste.