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Take a Break from High Energy Bills this Summer

Jul 6, 2012

Would you keep paying for your newspaper delivery while away on vacation? Or, for that matter, your magazine subscriptions when you know you’re not going to be around to read an issue?

Well, you probably wouldn’t, would you? So why pay for electricity that you’re not using? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing if you don’t prepare your home accordingly before you go away for the summer.

When vacationing away from home, it’s easy to neglect simple things that can cause your energy bills to soar. Everyday household appliances can consume high amounts of energy, so it’s important to make your home energy efficient while you’re away to avoid returning to bloated energy bills.

You may not know it but at this very moment, there are vampires lurking in your home. These are your HVAC system, home theatre system, and refrigerator, all of which consume electricity even when they’re not actively used. They have aptly received the label of being “vampire appliances”. Some appliances, such as your water heater, can consume 400 kWh/month on average. Reducing energy consumption with such devices can lower the cost of your energy bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American household spends $111 monthly on energy bills and the average price of residential electricity in December 2011 was 12 cents/kWh (Kilowatt Hour), although this cost differs from state to state (7.5 cents in Idaho to 36 cents in Hawaii). These costs are expected to rise throughout the country.

Now just imagine how much money you could save by simply taking a little time before leaving for your vacation to prepare your home to be as energy efficient as possible! Here are a few tips to help you do it right.

Energy-Saving Tips

  • Keep your thermostat clear of heat (heat producing devices cause your thermostat to misread the true room temperature and turn on the AC, resulting in wasted energy)
  • Increase your thermostat setting when at home (when leaving set it even higher; cooling the house when you return costs less and can save you 10% or more on your cooling costs)
  • Turn off your lights! (Use timers where necessary and remind temporary guardians to turn off lights they are not using)
  • Don’t set your refrigerator/freezer temperature colder than necessary (36F – 42F for fridges and -5F – +6F for freezers are sufficient)
  • Clean your refrigerator unit (removing dust from fins, motors, coils help the unit to run more efficiently)
  • Set the water temperature to 120F (it requires less energy to heat water to a lower temperature; for safety reasons with electric heaters, turn off the water heater at the circuit breaker/fuse before changing the temperature)
  • Repair dripping faucets immediately (one drop a second can waste 48 gallons of water a week)
  • Remove moisture with a dehumidifier (less humidity makes you feel cooler and requires less work from your AC)
  • Turn off/Unplug Electronics (TV’s, computers, video game consoles, DVD/Blu-Ray players, home theatre etc. can consume energy when left plugged in)
  • Turn off/Unplug Office Machines (printers, scanners, fax machines, PC, Internet modems are all high consumers of electricity)

For more energy-saving tips, go here.