When you leave your home for an extended period, it’s good to prepare it for your absence to keep energy costs down while you’re away.
Adjusting the temperature
Don’t turn your HVAC system completely off when you leave for vacation. It might seem like a good idea, but there’s a reason to keep a minimally high/low temperature set even when there are no people inside.
In warm weather
Keeping a temperature set about 5 degrees higher than normal is a good practice because it protects your home from:
● The growth of mold and mildew
● Heat intense enough to cause peeling paint
● Warming of wood floors, furnishings, and door frames
● Development of musty odors
When temperatures get too high inside, food will spoil more quickly in the pantry, and your refrigerator/freezer has to work harder to keep things chilled. Extreme heat for extended periods can also be detrimental to sensitive electronic equipment.
In cold weather
You want to program the temperature to be about 5 degrees cooler than your normal comfort level. This will protect your pipes from bursting (as will keeping bathroom cabinet doors open) if temperatures happen to drop below freezing while you’re gone.
In any weather
No matter when you’re planning to be away, plan to leave all your interior doors open. This allows the air to circulate properly throughout the house, and avoids hot spots which might kill plants, or cold spots which might burst pipes.
Also, make sure all your vents and registers are open before you head out. Blocking off certain areas can cause efficiency issues with your HVAC system.
Adjusting the water
There’s no reason to spend energy maintaining heated water that you won’t be using. Go ahead and adjust the temperature on your water heater – keeping it warm enough to avoid freezing in the lines if you’re away during the winter time.
A ‘peace of mind’ measure might be to turn off the water lines that supply your washing machine and toilets. This will ensure no unexpected leaks spring up while you’re on vacation.
Unplugging the electronic vampires
We all have ‘vampire appliances’ that continually consume energy. If no one is at home, no one is using the television, lamps, or other electronic equipment, so go ahead and unplug them to save energy.
Do NOT unplug your refrigerator/freezer or HVAC system — but do use surge protectors on valuable equipment you leave plugged in. This will protect it from an unexpected storm or power surge.
For more tips home tips, contact a local HVAC service provider for expert advice.