You’ve been daydreaming about this day for weeks. Now your supplies is bought, your bags are packed, and you’re chomping at the bit, ready to start your sweet summer vacation.
We know better than to stand between you and your vacation, but we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you of some things to do before going on vacation that could reduce your monthly electricity bill.
1. Unplug Your Electronics
Even when they are not in use, your electronics are drawing power. You may have heard it called ‘phantom’ or ‘standby’ power. According to Hydro One, it could account for as much as 10 per cent of your home’s power use.
This makes unplugging your electronics one of the most important things to do before going on vacation. Things like your television, an electric kettle, your computer charge cord, or bedside lamps don’t need to be using up all that phantom energy while you’re gone.
Safety Tip: Electrical fires are one of the leading causes of home fires in Canada. Unplugging all of your electronics before you go on vacation will help reduce the risk that something will happen when you aren’t home. Remember to always be careful when plugging and unplugging appliances. And don’t forget that some appliances, like your fridge, should stay plugged in!
2. Have Your Water Heater On Standby
Normally you love that your water tank always has nice, hot water ready to use. But chances are, if you’re going on vacation, no one is going to be there to enjoy it. This means your water heater is drawing energy to warm the water for nothing.
Setting your water heater on standby mode will make sure that there is no unnecessary energy use, which will save you a little something on your next electricity bill.
Worried about leaks while you’re away? You could take the extra step of draining your water tank. Talk to a professional about the best way to prepare your water heater before going on vacation.
3. Don’t Cool An Empty Room
If you’ve spent any time in Toronto, you know that AC is an absolute must. You’re probably already doing everything you can to cut your AC costs while keeping the high temperatures at bay.
One of the things to do before going on vacation is to actually embrace those high temperatures - at least if you’re going to be out of the house. It doesn’t make sense to spend all that energy (and money) to cool a home that no one is in.
We’ve found that the sweet spot for your thermostat is 85 degrees Fahrenheit - that’s about 29 degrees Celsius. This way the electronics you have in the house won’t overheat, but you’ll be using the minimum amount of energy.
Is your thermostat on the older side, or are you looking for one that can do more for your home? We have several models that can do it all.
4. No Fans Necessary
Fans are great for cooling down people, but not so great for cooling down rooms. They essentially just blow the warm air around when you aren’t there.
Before you go on vacation, make sure all of your fans are off, and unplugged. This way they won’t be keeping the temperatures high or drawing phantom power.
5. Put Your Lights On Timers
One of the things to do before going on vacation involves keeping your home safe as well as conserving energy.
Instead of leaving one light on, put your lights on programmable timers that will cycle your lights on and off. This will save you energy while you’re on vacation, and also give the impression that you’re home.
We recommend getting timers that can be controlled remotely via your cell phone. That way you can adjust the cycle periodically. A regular timer will work for a few days, but it becomes a pretty recognizable pattern if your lights go on right at 7 PM and off at 9:30 PM every single day. A timer you can adjust from wherever you are will help eliminate any recognizable patterns.
6. Draw the Drapes
This tip is twofold: it will keep any prying eyes from investigating into your whereabouts, and it will help keep the sun from adding additional heat to your home.
There’s a lengthy, complex physics equation that could tell us exactly how much sun is required to heat up a room, but if you’ve spent any time inside on a hot summer’s day, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Remember: Dark colours absorb light/heat, while white reflects it. Use a layer of both light and dark curtains to keep the sun out.
The last thing you want to do when you go on vacation is worry about anything going wrong back at home. To avoid this, one of the things you should do before going on vacation is get a thorough HVAC checkup. That way, wherever you wander, you can relax while knowing that everything at home is running smoothly.