When you go on vacation this summer, don't forget that your house needs a vacation, too. If you're not home to enjoy all of the comforts of home, you should be able to set your house's energy consumption very near to zero.
Here's a checklist of items to keep in mind when you're getting ready to leave:
- Set your thermostat to 90°F. It is possible for your house to get too hot, so keeping your thermostat to a reasonable temperature will save you lots of money while still protecting your most valuable asset.
- Set up your lights on timers to come on and off at reasonable times to convince any burglars that you're actually home — but keep the lighting reasonable. Just because your kids leave every light on when you're actually home doesn't mean that every light needs to be one while you're not home.
- Close all blinds and curtains to reduce solar gain, unless doing so would compromise your security.
- If you actually know how to turn off your hot water heater safely, turn it off — and if you don't, set the temperature on your hot water heater as low as it will go without turning it off.
- Turn off all ceiling fans. If there's no one there to enjoy the breeze, you really don't need to have that breeze blowing.
- Unplug your computers, TV, and other sensitive electronics from the wall, in case there is a lightning storm while you are gone. As a pleasant side effect, the vampire power drain that most of these electronics uses will stop while they are unplugged.
- Unplug everything else that is plugged in. Most people leave their clocks, nightlights, coffee maker, and so forth plugged in, regardless. (It is a matter of moments to reset those clocks when you get home.)