If you’re planning to take off for summer vacation this year, it’s essential to get your home ready before you go. Proper preparation will not only reduce energy costs while you’re out of town, but also make sure your home is safe and sound when you return.
- Hot Water: Shut off your water at the emergency cut-off valve. Turn off the water heater at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box. Some water heaters also have a lower-heat “vacation” setting if you prefer not to turn it off completely.
- Air Conditioning: Some homeowners unplug their air conditioner before they leave for summer vacation, but this creates a risk of heat damage in some climates. To be on the safe side, leave the A/C plugged in, but set the thermostat around 85 degrees. That way, you can avoid heat damage without running up a high cooling bill.
- Refrigerator: If you plan to be away for a month or more, you can empty out the fridge and unplug it. Just be sure to leave the door propped open to avoid mold and mildew. If you’re taking a shorter vacation, you can simply dispose of highly perishable items and leave the fridge running on its highest temperature setting.
- Electronics: Unplug any unnecessary electronics, including your computer, television and stereo. These devices draw power just by being plugged in, which is a waste if no one’s around to use them. Any electronics you decide to leave on should be plugged into a surge protector.
- Dishwasher: Prop your dishwasher door open to keep mold from growing inside.
- Lighting: You may prefer to leave lights on for security purposes, but there’s no need to have all the lights in your house blazing 24/7. Just choose a few lights and connect them to a timer or motion sensor so they only come on when you need them to.
- Swimming pool: If you turn off your pool pump, there’s a good chance you’ll come home to something that looks more like a swamp than a swimming pool. That being said, the pump doesn’t need to run around the clock either. Set it on a timer so it only runs for six hours a day.
Perhaps most important of all, give a spare key and your phone number to someone you trust, who can check on your house periodically and contact you while you’re away.