Preparing Your Home For Vacation
As spring break nears and summer being just a few months away, many families and friends are starting to plan vacations. It is important to take precautions before leaving town for a week or two to ensure appliances in your home are not still running and thereby adding to your energy bill while you are away.
Summertime means fun in the sun, time with family, and vacations! We want to make sure your time away is relaxing and full of great memories. Vacations should be a getaway from everyday worries, like high utility bills.
Check out this list of tips for homeowners to help save money and keep your home safe while away on vacation:
A Household Check List
In addition to ensuring your air conditioner and heater are turned off before you leave on vacation, there are a few other items you should take care of as well. Things like cleaning out your refrigerator, leaving select lights on inside your house so it’s not pitch black at night, readying your pets and locking all of your doors are key aspects to add to your to-do list. With nearly 10,000 home invasions in Orange County in 2014, you want to make sure your home is as protected as possible when you leave town.
Sometimes having nosy neighbors is a good thing! Ask one of your neighbors to keep a watchful eye while you are away. Before you leave, give them a schedule of any expected visitors, make sure they have a house key, ask them to pick up your mail/newspaper, and provide them with current emergency contact information if they are pet-sitting. This will ensure that your home is just the way you left it when it’s time to return.
Don’t forget to add unplugging electronics and appliances to your checklist before you leave. Appliances that are plugged in, especially those with clocks, continue to use energy even when they are not turned on. Unplugging benefits the environment and saves you money!
If you plan to be away from home for several weeks, you may want to consider turning off your main water valve. Not only will you be drought-friendly by conserving water, but you will also avoid coming home to an unexpected flood.
Most appliances, especially water heaters, are equipped with a “vacation setting.” Since no one will be showering at your house while you are away, you can give your appliances a break, save some money, and buy yourself a fun souvenir instead. While you are basking in the warm sun on vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is a potential problem at home. Make a checklist before you leave your house with things to do such as: switch your water heater to vacation mode, turn your thermostat off (this is an easy one to forget and big money waster) and turn off all water valves to the dishwasher, sink and washing machine. More often than not, a problem with your water heater or air conditioner typically occurs when you are not home because no one is around to monitor the house regularly. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you are away, just in case something happens.
Turn Up the Temp
One of the steps that most homeowners forget to take before setting out for a trip is turning the thermostat to a higher temperature than usual. We don’t mean anything crazy, it should still be safe for pets and plants. If you are concerned, you may want to install a programmable thermostat. It can be set for varying temperatures throughout the day. Many models even have apps that connect to your smartphone, meaning you could adjust the temperature while you are away in case of any inclement weather.
Unplug Phantom Wasters
When we are at home, we use our appliances every day. Turning them off after each use, although cost-efficient, isn’t always high on our priority lists of things to do. Because a lot of our appliances and electronic devices are phantom energy wasters, meaning they use energy if they are plugged in even if the power button is off, you should double-check everything in your house to make sure it is all unplugged. Toasters, microwaves, blenders, computers, cell phone chargers, lamps, laptops…all these things will slowly add to your energy bill over time.
We recommend scheduling an appointment with a technician during every season change, but it may be a good idea to schedule one before leaving on an extended trip in order to avoid repairs later.
By following this checklist prior to your departure, you can ensure that your time away will be fun-filled and budget-friendly. At ALPS HVAC, we want to make sure you have peace of mind while you are on vacation.
If you would like to schedule a pre-vacation maintenance check, give us a call today!