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Slipping in a last-minute vacation before school starts? Be sure to give your home’s energy use a vacation as well. Simple tips can save you money while you’re away.
Air conditioning: Set the thermostat to 85 degrees. If it’s a programmable thermostat, use the “hold” or the “vacation” setting. For every degree a thermostat is raised during the summer, you can save 2 percent on your electricity bill.
Electronics: Computers, CD/DVD players, TVs and chargers—these and other electronic appliances use electricity even when they are not turned on. Unplug them before leaving.
Lighting: Improve energy savings, and your home’s security, by using timers to operate lights at night. And by installing LEDs in those lamps, you’ll save more energy—up to 66 percent for each lamp—and the bulbs last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Water heating: Turn the water heater’s temperature to the lowest setting. Many water heaters have a “vacation” setting for this purpose. Leave a reminder to turn it back up when you return home.
Pool: Shorten the operating time for the pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep. A pool cover can save energy, too. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 70 percent of pool water loss is by evaporation.
Refrigerator: Set the fridge to 42 degrees and the freezer to 5 degrees. This increase is enough to keep everything cold and frozen but still save energy over the vacation period. As a precaution, it’s a good idea to clean out any leftovers and raw vegetables and keep only new foods that won’t spoil while the house is empty. If you’re going on an extended trip, consider emptying the fridge and turning it off. If you do so, remember to leave the doors open to prevent mildew.
For more information on how to use energy efficiently year-round, contact your electric cooperative.