Summer Vacations: Save Energy While You're On Holiday
Mark Williams of the Associated Press advises consumers to do the following before leaving the house for a vacation:
1) Shut off the air conditioner. At least, set the thermostat to 85 degrees. According to the utility Arizona Public Service, for each degree you raise the setting on the thermostat, you can knock off 2% to 3% of the cooling part of your electric bill.
2)Turn off your water heater at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Otherwise, it will keep the water warm the entire time you're gone, costing between $4 to $10 a month, according to the green living website.
3) Set the thermostat to a slightly higher setting inside your refrigerator. For an even greener shade of eco-frienliness, if you're gone for a month or more, shut down the refrigerator. Do the same for the freezer. Just make sure you clean it out before you prop open the door to prevent mildew from forming inside. You shoulnd't have to return home to discover that a thriving mold colony has moved into your fridge.
4) Turn off the lights except those needed for security purposes. For the few lights that you leave on to deter theft, use timers and motion detectors so they don't stay on 24/7.
5) If you have a swimming pool, buy a timer for it so that the filtering pump doesn't operate continuously.
6) If none of your video equipment is programed to record your favorite shows, unplug everything: TV, cell-phone and battery chargers, computers, microwave oven, digital clocks, printers, scanners, and cable boxes. This eliminates electronic vampirism because electronic devices (even toasters and coffee makers) have clocks and remote features which use electricity even when the machine isn't in operation. One study states that standby power can use up as much as 10% of your electric bill. Since every household has numerous electronic appliances, a bunch of items that suck up tiny bits of electricity adds up quickly. Why pay for electric consumption when you're not even home to use the electric devices?
So, if you're planning to be gone for awhile, do the above to save money, reduce energy waste, and be a good steward of your home and the earth.