Although the official start of summer isn’t for a few weeks, Memorial Day Weekend marks the official start of vacation season. From day trips to the beach to week-long excursions to the lake, people tend to spend less time in their homes during this time of year, which can lead to electricity savings, if you plan properly. Check out how these 12 helpful vacation settings can help you save when you’re out of town, as well as other steps you can take before, during and after vacation to keep your bill down.
Before You Leave
- See if your thermostat has a vacation setting and turn it on. If it doesn’t have a specific setting, turn your air off.
- Unplug everything that you can. That way you eliminate any standby or vampire electricity costs.
- Make sure all the lights are off. Once everyone is out of the house, send one person in to check all the lights. That way they can be sure no one else will turn on a light and forget about it during the packing process.
- Close your blinds or curtains. Open blinds and curtains allows the summer sun to enter your home and increase the temperature. That kind of temperature increase can trigger automatic thermostats to cool your home. Leaving blinds and curtains open also makes it easier for outsiders to peek in and notice you’re not home.
- Pick someone to have on call. Choose a trustworthy neighbor, friend or family member who lives close by, provide them a key and ask them to drive by the house and collect your mail while you’re gone. That way, if you notice your usage spiking while no one is home, you have someone ready and able to investigate.
While You’re Gone
- Monitor your usage. Be sure to keep an eye on your Payless Power usage texts, even while on vacation (keeping in mind that those messages run two days in arrears). That way, if you see an unexpected jump in your usage, you can contact a friend or family member at home and have them swing by your house to make sure no lights or air conditioning units are still running.
- Check in on your temperature. If you have a smart thermostat like a Nest, use the app to keep tabs on the temperature of your home. Even though these thermostats sense when you are home through your WiFi connection, they also learn your patterns and make adjustments based on them. That means your smart thermostat could be cooling your house out of habit, even though you aren’t home. Checking in every so often will allow you to correct the system if it automatically turning on.
- Take advantage of the free air conditioning. If you are staying in a hotel or resort of some kind, take advantage of the free AC! Use this time to live your best life by setting the thermostat at what you want it to be without having to worry about cost.
After You Return
- Don’t crank the air conditioning as soon as you walk through the door. Yes, it will be warm, but set the air to your normal summer temperature and wait patiently for your house to reset. Cranking the AC all at once can lead to wasted energy.
- Continue to monitor your usage. After vacation is a good time to monitor your usage alerts in order to truly understand how much electricity your family uses. You can sort of use your vacation days as a control group of data to compare your usage to. While temperature and weather can make it hard to make a one-to-one comparison, you can at least get a general sense of how your family impacts your kilowatt hour usage.
- Get your smart thermostat back to normal. If you manually change the temperature of your smart thermostat while on vacation, or make changes incorrectly, you can throw off the thermostat’s learned patterns for when you return. Make sure to keep checking in during the week following your vacation to make sure the system is back to normal.
- Consider implementing the previous tips in your day to day life. Every day, your family leaves home for large portions of time to attend school or work. By putting some of these tips into practice, such as closing blinds and unplugging what you can, you can take baby steps toward energy savings.
What other ways does your family prepare for vacation? Share with us on Facebook!