If you’re leaving for a business trip, vacation, or visiting family this summer, there are few things you need to consider when it comes to your HVAC and plumbing systems. The main thing you need to ask yourself is “What can I turn off while I’m gone?” You could save yourself a large chunk of money by shutting your house down.
Should you turn the A/C off? It depends.
For a short vacation (1-3 days) it’s more energy efficient to keep your central A/C on, but program your thermostat to be 7-10 degrees warmer than when you’re home. Go ahead and turn your A/C off if your vacation is longer than three days. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can start cooling your house a day before you get back.
Think about turning your water heater off, too.
You don’t need to have scalding hot water available at the turn of a knob while you’re on vacation. If you have a gas water heater, chances are, it features a “vacation mode” that you can turn the knob to before you leave. If you do not, you can slightly turn the heater down without shutting it off. A slight twirl of the knob is enough to create big-time savings on your next utility bill. Don’t worry; it’ll heat up again in no time when you return from your trip.
If it’s warm enough, you can turn the water off.
Aside from just turning down the water heater, you can consider shutting off your water completely. PLEASE note: only consider turning your water off in the summer. If you turn the water off during cold weather, your pipes may freeze and could potentially burst. You do not want to come back from a ski trip to bursting pipes. At each sink, toilet, dishwasher or washing machine there should be a knob for water flow used to turn off the water. To handle it all at once, you can go to your main water valve, which is typically located under a sink or near the water heater.
Unplug everything, even if it’s ‘off.’
If you want to save money on your utility bill, you should unplug all household electronics before vacation. Many devices still draw electrical power when they are turned off. Unplugging your electronics will prevent an electrical fire from starting while your home is unattended.