How To Lower Your Utility Bill While On Vacation
Your home is consuming energy all day, everyday — whether you're there or not. A home's idle load, also known as phantom power, can actually account for as much as one-third of your annual energy usage, according the NRDC. That's a lot of money for utilities you don't even use!
Unfortunately, you can't take your home completely off the grid before leaving for vacation — homes do rely on constant power to maintain essential systems — but you can limit your idle load and lower your utility bill with a few super-simple steps.
Unplug Household Appliances
Energy.gov estimates as much as 10% of your annual utility costs comes from "vampire energy" used by household electronics. Large and small, electric appliances draw power even when they're not in use, accounting for more than $26 billion in wasted energy in American households annually.
Simply unplugging televisions, computers and printers, lamps and other electronics that draw power even when they're not in use will prevent vampire energy usage, lower electricity costs by as much as 10%, and protect your devices in the case of a power surge. Once you get home, plug everything back in as needed and you're all set!
Moderate Water & Lighting
You don't leave your faucets running while you're away but that's not the only way to save while you're away. Consider turning off the water line to your home right before you leave, and drain the remaining water in the pipes. Cutting off the water supply to your home may sound a little extra, but it can help avert costly disasters. Water remains in the pipes at full pressure when the main line is on. If one those pipes burst while you're away, there's a never-ending supply of water just waiting to flood your home. Take a look at your water heater, too. Lowering the temperature settings, on your water heater (or even turning it off all together) while you're away can save you up to $30 per month, according to Angi.
For lighting, timers are a great way cycle lamps on and off for home protection without a second-thought. Angi says putting indoor and outdoor lighting systems on timers for 2 hours per day can cut kilowatt-hours costs by more than 50%!
Give Your HVAC Some R&R
A whopping 51% of household energy usage comes from heating and cooling, according to the Energy Information Administration. You may want to turn your furnace or air conditioner off completely when you're away, but that can lead to a number of other issues like frozen pipes and moisture buildup. Instead, lower your thermostat to 55-60 degrees to keep the air moving and reap some savings. Installing a smart thermostat can give you total control of HVAC system while you're away, too, in case you need to make any adjustments to your settings.
Unplugging electronic appliances, moderating water and lighting, and giving your HVAC system a rest makes lowering your home's idle draw is easier than packing a suitcase, and can result in substantial utility savings while you're away. What's a better welcome home gift than extra money in your pocket?
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