Can You Save Money on Utilities While Traveling During the Holidays?
Planning a big trip this holiday season? Vacations are expensive, but there are ways to make up that cost. For instance, while you're gone, many of your major appliances are still running as if you were there. With a few tricks, you can reduce that energy usage significantly, and actually save money while on vacation.
Unplug Your Electronics
A lot of modern electronics, such as TVs, Blu-Ray players, and computers, are what's known as energy vampires, which continue to use energy, even when they're turned off. They're designed to go into "standby mode," so they can still reactivate at a moment's notice.
The energy they use is fairly low, but it can build up over time. Therefore, if you want to save energy, don't just shut your appliances off when you go on vacation. Unplug them, or if they're plugged into a power strip, shut off the master switch.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Your HVAC system is one of the biggest users of energy in your home, and when you go on vacation, you're paying to heat an empty house. A programmable thermostat has special settings that allow you to switch automatically to a more energy-efficient mode while you're out of town. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, just turn the temperature down to about 50 degrees before you leave, so the HVAC isn't working to keep things warm.
Install Smart Lights
To leave your house dark while you're out of town is to let unwanted intruders know you're not there. Some people leave a couple of lights on when they leave, to make it look like someone's still home. This wastes energy. Instead, invest in smart lights. A smart system automatically turns different lights on and off at random, or as programmed, throughout the night to mimic an actual person wandering around the house. The lights can then switch off in the daytime to save energy.
Put Your Big Appliances in Vacation Mode
We talked earlier about turning off your major appliances to keep them from using energy. You might be tempted to empty out your refrigerator before you leave and turn that off too. Unless you're going to be gone for a month or more, don't do it. First, the moisture that builds up will foster mold and mildew. Second, it will actually take more energy to get it fully cold again than it would just to leave it running.
Instead, use "vacation settings" to save energy. Turn the refrigerator to 38 degrees and the freezer to 8 degrees. Also, a full fridge stays colder better than an empty one, so keep it stocked with things that won't go bad while you're away, such as water bottles.
Another major appliance that uses energy while you're gone is your water heater. Even if you're not using hot water, it's still working constantly to maintain the water's temperature. Look for a vacation mode on the device's controls, so it can save energy. If it doesn't have one, simply turn the temperature down or just turn the heater off while you're gone.
These are just a few of the things you can do to save energy while you're on vacation. The trip might be expensive, but the money you save while you're gone can help to make up for it and help you have a happy holiday, wherever you are.