4 Tips to Save Energy at Home When You’re on Vacation

By Brooke Drake, March 7, 2014, Energy Efficiency, Save Money

4 Tips to Save Energy at Home When You’re on VacationWhen making travel plans, you go through a series of checklists. Confirm airfare? Check. Confirm accommodations? Check. Pack for yourself, your spouse, and your kids? Check. Great – you’re ready to head out the door – almost.

People often forget about preparing their house when leaving on vacation. Simply put, it’s what you leave undone that can end up costing you energy and money. So before you leave on that big trip, use these 4 tips from Bounce Energy to save energy (and money) while you’re away.

  1. Lights. Keep only one or two lights on (at the most) and put them on timers. This will keep them from being on the entire time you are away, plus it can help ward off prowlers. To increase your energy savings, use CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamps) in the lights that are left on. Regarding the outdoor lights, use motion sensors so they too aren’t on all day. Note: Lights that are left on all day and night can actually attract prowlers, so be sure to have these lights programmed to come on and off randomly as this can help protect your home and make it look like someone is there.
  2. 4 Tips to Save Energy at Home When You’re on VacationEnergy Vampires. Make a loop throughout your entire house and unplug all appliances and electronics. This should include but not be limited: to TV’s, stereos, chargers, computers, alarm clocks, hair dryers, irons, coffee pots, toasters, and more. Even though they aren’t being used, they are still consuming energy – especially anything with a digital clock, as they use power simply keeping those numbers displayed. Note: Be sure to unplug your washer and dryers too. They can draw power (models with lights), but in the event of a storm or accident, they can “short out” and be a fire hazard if surrounded by water (epud.org).
  3. Air Conditioner/Heater. There’s no reason to heat or cool your home if no one is there (though this doesn’t apply if you are leaving pets at home). During the winter months, lower your heater to 50 degrees, which is just warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing. On the flip side, during the warmer months, raise your thermostat to around 85 degrees for energy savings. Note: Don’t set the A/C for much higher than 85 degrees, as it can make your refrigerator work that much harder, which offsets your energy conservation (Rocky Mountain Power).
  4. Water Heater. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies to this appliance; however, it can be one of the biggest money savers while you’re away from home. It continuously uses energy to keep the water heated in it’s tank, so before you leave switch the setting to “vacation mode”. If you are going to be gone for more than a few days, turn the water heater off completely at the breaker box. Note: For natural gas water heaters, don’t turn it off – just switch to its lowest setting (Portland General).

What other tips might you have to help families save energy and money when they’re away from home on vacation?

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Comments (1)


  1. Debra Saccoccia says:

    When not @ home either out or on vacation…unplug appliances such as you’re coffee maker &/or toaster. People are usually surprised that when they are left plugged in, some small appliances still use some electricity 🙂