HVAC Maintenance Tips to Save while on Vacation
One troubling aspect for many homeowners going on vacation is maintaining their homes at a reasonable temperature when they go on vacation. They may also look into other ways to reduce their energy costs that aren’t related to their HVAC systems. Although heating and air conditioning account for the lion’s share of your home energy budget, some things you can do will maintain your home’s environment while reducing your energy consumption.
If you are going on vacation during the cold season, you can’t simply turn your heater off. You will have to maintain a minimum temperature to ensure water pipes don’t freeze. A programmable thermostat can be beneficial for long periods of time, but for some it may not be an option. Turn the thermostat to the lowest level to maintain sufficient heat in the home, as low as 60 degrees, and you will cut that bill.
Additional energy-reduction methods can include making sure all of your doors and windows are closed tight before you leave. Not only will this provide home security, it will also prevent air from leaking into the home. In the winter, open windows will cause the heater to operate more than necessary and in the summer your air conditioner doesn’t need any more reasons to run.
Consider your windows while you’re gone and the effect the sun has on the internal temperature of your home. Typically, the east and west facing windows get the most sunlight in the mornings and afternoons and by closing the drapes on those windows you can reduce the need for any extra air conditioning. In the winter, the extra heat can help the furnace run less frequently, but probably not enough to warrant leaving them open while you’re gone.
Before you leave, contact your furnace service company and have your systems checked, if you haven’t already done so. This will offer some assurance that the system won’t quit while you’re away. Taking all of the energy-saving steps can be for nothing but you can encounter a lot more problems if your heater or air conditioner quits working and no one is around to realize it.
If you have a friend or neighbor picking up your mail and/or newspaper, ask them to simply check on the home’s temperature when they put them in the house. Obviously if something is amiss they will contact you, so make sure you have your furnace service technician’s phone number with you when you travel.
One energy saving tip that is often overlooked is to unplug all of your electronic devices and appliances. Often called phantom loads, many devices today use a small amount of electricity even when they are turned off. Consider all of the little indicator lights that tell you the device is in stand-by mode and you can see how you can easily trim a little power use by unplugging them.
On top of that, by unplugging your electronic devices there is no danger of them being damaged in the rare event of a lightning strike. Devices maintain this mode to make start-up quicker when you turn it on but you’re not going to be home using it so having it in stand-by mode is a waste of power.
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