Jul 08 2015

vacation

You may be looking forward to your next vacation, but chances are you are not looking forward to a big energy bill when you return. As you plan those few days or weeks of fun and relaxation, keep in mind the following tips to conserve energy, and save a bundle on electricity usage costs.

General Energy Conservation Tips

Learning how to conserve energy while on vacation begins with handling the small stuff. The following are simple, but effective ways to reduce both your cooling demand and your energy costs during your vacation.

  • Drape and shade those windows: Closing blinds and curtains can go a long way toward curtailing heat energy that would otherwise infiltrate your home through windows. In addition, you should also consider adding exterior shade to all windows that receive direct sunlight. These measures can help give your A/C a break.
  • Change the air filter before you leave: Leaving a dirty air filter behind forces your A/C to work harder to pull air through, resulting in wasted energy and higher utility bills. A high-quality air filter is capable of lasting up to three months, depending on the type of filter and its minimum efficiency reporting value(MERV) rating.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated: Poor insulation can cause your home to slowly absorb heat energy, resulting in a home that is much hotter than it should be. Make sure your home has adequate levels of insulation in the walls, as well as in attic and crawl space areas.
  • Turn off and unplug small electronics: You would be surprised at how much TVs, computers, chargers and other small devices contribute to your monthly power bill. Remember to shut off and unplug these devices before you leave home.

Should You Leave the A/C On or Turn It Off?

There is a lot of conflicting information regarding whether to turn your A/C off or keep it running throughout your vacation. Of course, the last thing you want is to walk into a hot home. According to some, it takes less energy to maintain a constant temperature than it does to bring them back down to normal.

Trying to keep your home cool by leaving your air conditioner on a low setting does nothing but waste energy while you are away. The reality is that it is better to either turn your air conditioner off or at least raise the thermostat a few degrees. For instance, bumping the thermostat from 73 degrees to 78 degrees could help you save up to several percentage points on your cooling costs throughout your vacation period. In general, you should raise your thermostat by at least 4 to 5 degrees if you are leaving your home for at least eight hours. For long-term travel, you may want to consider turning your A/C system off, but only under conditions where your Annapolis home won’t become too hot or too humid. If temperatures climb too high, the heat buildup could negatively impact wood flooring, doors and cabinets.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat

If you travel often or want to conserve energy while on vacation, consider switching your regular thermostat for a so-called smart thermostat or programmable model. With a programmable thermostat, you can select desired temperatures for different times of the day throughout the week. The thermostat then automatically makes adjustments based on your settings while you are away.

Having a programmable thermostat means no longer worrying about whether you forgot to set your thermostat properly before you walked out the door. These thermostats even feature wireless connectivity that allows you to make adjustments from anywhere in the world simply by using your smartphone, tablet or other Internet-enabled device.

Programmable thermostats also provide a greater level of comfort and energy efficiency than a typical manual thermostat. Adding one of these thermostats to your home is a smart investment that can pay for itself in a short amount of time.

Learn more about how to conserve energy while on vacation, as well as Coastal Heating & Air’s air conditioning solutions, or call us today at 410-919-0110.

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