Environmental Protection

Tips Tuesday: How to Save Energy While on Vacation

Summer is the ideal season for vacations, and whether you plan to spend your days beach bumming, hiking with friends or visiting out-of-town relatives, National Grid has offered the following tips to help reduce your at-home energy consumption as much as possible while you are away:

  • Adjust the thermostat – Because you are not there to enjoy the air conditioning, adjust your thermostat accordingly. In the summer, a setting of 78 degrees is sufficent. While you're away, though, consider turning your thermostat up even further or turning your air conditioning off completely. Each degree above 78 will save on your cooling costs. Also, air conditioners cool a space at the same rate no matter what the setting. Adjusting the temperature control to 65 degrees will not help cool your home to 78 degrees any more quickly than if you leave the temperature at 78. But switching to the lower setting even for that short period may be costing you more money.

  • Programmable thermostats – Use of programmable thermostats optimizes air conditioning systems saving you both energy and money.

  • Change air conditioner filter – Check your air conditioner filter and replace or clean it if it is clogged.

  • Turn off ceiling fans, close the drapes – Ceiling fans don't actually cool your home; they only circulate air to make you feel cooler. Therefore, they are most effective when you're home to enjoy the benefits. Turn them off when you're not home, and save energy in the process. Also, closing your drapes or blinds will keep the hot sun out and cause your air conditioner to run less.

  • Manage your water heater – If no one is home to use hot water, why leave your hot water heater on? Consider turning it off at the circuit breaker. If you have a natural gas water heater, use the "vacation" mode. Just remember to run the hot water from a sink before turning the water heater back on to ensure the tank is not empty. Another option would be to install a natural gas tankless water heater.

  • Unplug electronics – Even though your television and other appliances are turned off, many electronics still draw electricity. Unplug any unnecessary electronics and chargers until you return home.

  • Use light timers, motion detectors – Many people like to leave a light on to indicate someone is home while they are away. Use a light timer instead. This also gives a more realistic impression of someone being at home. And, rather than leaving your porch light on the entire time you're gone, install a motion detector to be used both when you're at home and away.

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