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If you’re leaving for vacation – or any trip – and your house will sit empty, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not wasting energy unnecessarily and that your property and belongings are safe. Here’s a few things to consider doing before you take off.
Adjust your Air Conditioner / Heating and Ceiling Fans
You’ll want to turn your AC up, but not off (or vice versa for your heater if it’s winter and you live in a very cold climate). Since no one will be home, comfort level is not important, but you still want to make sure your house has air circulating and that the temperature is low enough so that humidity does not take over and begin to cause any damage – air conditioners can help dehumidify your home. Also, make sure all your interior doors are open. This will also help with airflow. I live in Florida, so this is a must to help fight off mold growth from the high humidity. But, even if high humidity is not a worry, it’ll save you money to run your AC or heater less when you’re not home to enjoy it.
Ceiling fans, on the other hand, should be turned off. No sense in wasting the electricity if no one will be in the room to enjoy the breeze.
Turn off Most Lights While You’re Away
Most lights should be turned off to save electricity while you’re away – and this really applies to any time you’re not home, not just vacation, but I digress. Some people prefer turning off all lights, and that can be ok, but I believe that some light can help deter crime. This is especially true if you live in an area with neighbors, traffic, etc. Most burglars aren’t interested in working under a spotlight.
At our house, we have a motion sensing light at the beginning of our walkway and a porch light at the front door. And our kitchen has a window, so we also leave our stove light on to help light the interior of the house. All are LEDs so they use very little energy. There’s also lights you can purchase that mimic the glow of a television. I haven’t bought one of these yet, but they seem super cool and are on my list. And if you use a timer, it can all seem that much more believable.
Turn off the Water Until you Return
Turning off the water is a good idea while you’re on vacation. The last thing you want is to come home and find that a leak has damaged your flooring. It will kill your vacation glow long before you even go back to work! One exception to this would be if it’s, say middle of summer, and you have inground sprinklers that use the main water supply. I’m not sure I would chance turning them off for a full week or more and having the lawn die – it can be expensive to replace sod and foliage. For more tips on preventing water damage while you’re away, take a look at this list from USA Today.
Pause or Reschedule Deliveries while on Vacation
An overflowing mailbox or stack of packages at your door is like a neon sign that no one is home. Here are some steps you can take to avoid alerting the world that you’re away:
- For mail, simply fill out the Hold Mail form on the USPS website
- Package deliveries can be rescheduled by contacting UPS and FedEx directly
- Newspaper subscriptions can typically be put on hold by contacting the newspaper’s subscription department or
- Ask a friend or trusted neighbor for help. They may be able to hold any deliveries until you get back. Plus, they can help alert you if they see something odd happening with your house.