Taking some much-needed time away during spring break can be expensive. A great way to save money is to give your electric bill a vacation, too. There are several steps you can take to trim your electricity usage while you’re away:
Unplug some of your household appliances. Your house has many items that always use electricity when they’re plugged in, even when turned off. Unplugging these items not only saves energy but also can prevent fires during your absence. Some of the more common items are: TVs, DVD players, cable TV boxes, microwave ovens, toasters and other small kitchen appliances.
Adjust the refrigerator control to a warmer setting. The fridge can be set as high as 40 degrees without spoiling food; the freezer can be set at 5 degrees. On these settings, you can conserve up to 40 percent of the refrigerator’s electric usage.
If you are going on an extended trip, consider emptying the fridge and turning it off entirely. Remember to leave the door open to prevent mildew.
Set the thermostat higher (or lower) than the typical comfort level. In warmer weather, you can shut off the air conditioner during your absence, or at least consider setting it to a higher-than-normal temperature, 80 degrees or above.
If it’s still cold out, you should consider lowering your thermostat but to no lower than 55 degrees. Typically, you can save 10–30 percent on heating costs by doing this. A programmable thermostat can make these adjustments automatically.
Turn down the water heater. A large percentage of the cost of running a water heater comes from just keeping the water at the selected temperature. If you are going on a lengthy trip, turn down the temperature to the lowest setting. This can save you up to $10 a month.
Consider using timers to turn lights on and off every night. Timers can save energy and also give an appearance that someone is home. For the lights that will be on the longest—inside and outside—use CFL or LED bulbs. These use at least 75 percent less power than traditional bulbs and last longer.
Follow these tips while you’re away for spring break and put your mind at ease about your electric bill. Then you can enjoy that vacation even more!