If you plan to vacation this summer, Safe Electricity has tips to lower your energy bill and keep your home safe while you are gone.
- Unplug some of your household appliances. Your house has many items that use electricity while plugged in, even when turned off. This is known as phantom power draw. Unplugging these items not only saves energy, but in some cases, can prevent fires in your absence. Appliances guilty of phantom power draw include: television sets, DVD players, VCRs, cable TV boxes, microwave ovens and toasters.
- If you choose to leave household lights on for security reasons, Safe Electricity suggests putting them on programmable timers so they do not run constantly. Not only does this save energy, but it also prevents lights from overheating and gives the appearance people are still home to ward against intruders.
- Adjust the refrigerator control to a warmer setting— the fridge can be as high as 40 degrees without spoiling food; the freezer can reach 5 degrees. On these settings, refrigerators use up to 40 percent less electricity. If you are going on an extended trip, consider emptying the fridge and turning it off (remember to leave the door open to prevent mildew).
- Set the thermostat higher than is typically comfortable, by doing this, you can cut heating costs by 10 to 30 percent. You can shut the air conditioner off during your absence, or at least consider setting it to a higher than normal temperature, such as 85 degrees. A programmable thermostat does these adjustments automatically.
- Turn down the water heater. A large percent of the cost of running a water heater comes from keeping the water warm. If you are going on a lengthy trip, turn down the water heater’s temperature to the coolest setting. This can save you up to $10 a month.
Safe Electricity hopes enjoy summer vacation, and keep your homes safe while you are away.