Guest Post Written for ECOS by Uma Campbell
Before you leave the house, you probably go through a mental checklist of remembering to lock the door and unplug the iron, but there’s one thing you need to add to the list: remembering to save energy while you’re away. Before you leave to go to work, hang out with friends or run errands, make sure you follow these tips:
Do a walk through to unplug devices.
As you do a final walk through of your home to make sure you didn’t forget anything, take a look around and unplug any devices or appliances that won’t need power while you are out. Some devices, known as vampires, consume energy even when they turned off as long as they remain plugged into an electrical outlet. Although you might not want to unplug every device in the home, you can unplug devices such as computers, coffee makers, and other appliances that have no use while you’re out.
Adjust the thermostat temperature.
You don’t need to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home when you’re not there, so don’t leave the air conditioner running when you leave. If you have a programmable thermostat in your home, don’t forget to change the settings before you exit the house. Turn the furnace temperature down and your air conditioner up so neither turns on while you’re out.
And the refrigerator temperature.
But, that’s not the only temperature you should adjust before you leave. If you want to keep your refrigerator running while you’re gone, there is still a way for you to save energy on this appliance without completely powering it down. Adjust the refrigerator temperature to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer temperature to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not enough of a change to impact any of the food inside, but it is enough of a difference to help you save energy.
Use automatic lights.
Are you one of the many people who likes to leave lights on in your house so other people in your neighborhood don’t know you’re not home? If so, consider using automatic lights, which will automatically turn on at a certain time everyday, instead of leaving standard lights on at all hours. Automatic lights will serve the same purpose as standard lights—scaring off prowlers—but they won’t use as much energy while they do this, so it’s a win-win situation for homeowners and the environment.
Turn off the water heater.
As you head out the door, make a pit stop at your hot water heater and turn it off before you go. This appliance usually accounts for between 15-20% of your bill every month, so turning it off every time you will be gone for a few hours will make a huge difference on how much you have to pay during the next bill cycle. If your tank is electric, turn it off right at the breaker, but if it’s gas, just switch it to the pilot setting.
Print out these tips and keep them handy so you can use them as a last minute checklist before you leave the house!