8 simple ways to save energy (and money) while on vacation
July 23, 2019
Updated May 15, 2023
Out of office message? Set. Luggage? Packed. Thermostat? Cranked. Hold up - take a few minutes before you set off on your vacation to help ensure your appliances get a break while you're gone.
1. Adjust your air conditioning
An easy way to reduce energy use and save money is by turning your air conditioning unit down, or better yet, completely off during your summer getaways.
2. Program your thermostat
During the hot summer months, there’s no sense wasting energy and money by cooling rooms when there is no one home to chill in them. If you’re getting out of town in the winter, your thermostat should be set around 10° Celsius in order to keep pipes and appliances from freezing. With a programmable or smart thermostat, you don’t need to worry about forgetting to adjust the temperature. Smart thermostats can be paired with your smartphone and controlled with an app. Depending on the model, you can even adjust the temperature in your house remotely from the road, plane or beach.
3. Let your refrigerator chill out
You can save energy while you’re away by adjusting the temperature to higher settings on your refrigerator by one or two degrees. Your food will stay cold and you’ll save money. A win-win!
If you’re heading on an extended vacation, consider cleaning your refrigerator out and turning it completely off. If you decide to go this route, be sure to leave the refrigerator door propped open and some baking soda inside, which will leave your fridge as refreshed as you after your holiday.
4. Close blinds and curtains
While your blinds and curtains obviously aren’t consuming any energy, you can use them to keep the heat out during the summer and in during the winter. Be sure to close all blinds and shades to keep the sunshine out and reduce heat gain in your home during the summer. During the winter, closing shades and blinds will keep the cold air out.
5. Defeat sneaky power vampires
Chargers and computers and printers, oh my! While the spooky season should be in October, phantom power usage is a scary thought year-round. Before leaving home, be sure to unplug all of your electronics, including TVs, DVD players and game consoles, as well as microwaves, coffee makers, toaster ovens, etc. If this sounds like a bit of a chore, try putting your electronics on smart power strips, which automatically shut down power to products that go into standby mode. This will save you the trouble of hunting your home for sneaky power vampires or contorting your body into a pretzel to grab hard-to-reach plugs. Unplugging and powering down can also reduce the risk of electrical fires and protect your items from potential power surge damage. Just like you, your electronics and appliances need to unplug and unwind.
6. Turn down your water heater
Setting your water heater to "vacation mode" can help save energy when no one is home to use hot water. Check your user manual for details on how to do this.
7. Turn off the lights
While you may be tempted to leave a few lights on at home while you’re out of town, this is a waste of energy and can be a dead giveaway that no one is actually at home. If you’re not comfortable turning off all the lights, set them up with automatic timers to deter potential intruders while saving energy.
8. Give your fireplace pilot light the summer off
Many gas fireplaces have a standing pilot light that uses energy and gives off heat while the fireplace is not in use. Turning off the pilot during the warmer months or while you're away can help reduce energy use and extra heat in your home. A licensed gas contractor can turn it on again during your annual appliance maintenance, so it’ll be safe and ready for fall. Of course during the winter, fireplaces should be turned off while you’re away, but the standing pilot light can be left on so that you can cosy up by the fire as soon as you return from your trip.
Following these simple tips can help reduce your energy use, keep you safe and save you money (to put towards your next vacation, of course).
Take a few minutes to unplug, adjust and turn off your appliances, then kick back and enjoy