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Taking a vacation—it’s lovely, and you may be surprised that it’s the opportune time to reduce energy costs, too. With no one at home to run the air conditioner, watch TV, or constantly use the lights in your home, you will most likely save a bit of money on your next utility bill.

Simply being away will save you money, but there are several additional steps you can take to maximize the amount of money you’ll save. Use these tips to save as much energy as possible while you’re on vacation

Heating and Cooling

There’s no reason to keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit if there’s no one home to enjoy it. If you’re traveling during the summer, you should set your thermostat so that your house is hotter than your normal average temperature. In the winter, set it so that your house stays slightly cooler than your average. Just a few degrees difference for a few days can save you several dollars.

Of course, there is one caveat: If you have pets in your home, you shouldn’t make severe changes to the temperature. Instead, simply adjust the thermostat slightly so that you save money without increasing the risk of harm to your pets.

During the summer months, you’ll save around two or three percent on your typical utility bill for every degree higher your thermostat is set. So, if you normally keep your thermostat at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and you raise the temperature to 90 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re gone, you’ll save about 32 percent on your utility bill during your vacation. If you prefer, you can turn your air conditioner off completely while you’re away to maximize your savings.

During cold winter months, you can reduce your ambient heating temperature by a few degrees, but be cautious of reducing temperatures too far. Doing so can cause your home to become too cold in the winter, and that can lead to frozen or busted pipes. Set your thermostat lower so that the heat doesn’t kick on as often, but make sure you aren’t setting it below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or turning the furnace off completely.

Hot Water Heater

Did you know that your hot water heater consumes enough energy that it adds up to between 15 and 20 percent of your monthly utility bill? There’s no need for your hot water heater to maintain a supply of hot water while you’re on vacation. Shut your hot water heater off at the breaker to save both money and energy or greatly reduce the maintenance temperature instead. When you get home, turn it back on and wait about an hour before using hot water to make sure it’s properly heated.

Unplug Unnecessary Items

When you have appliances plugged in, they’re drawing energy from the outlet regardless of whether they are in use. To save money while you’re away, make sure everything in your house is unplugged. This means electronics, lamps, smartphones, cordless phones, and yes, appliances, too.

It’s also a great time to clean out your fridge. Get rid of as much food as you can, and set your refrigerator’s temperature a bit higher while you’re away. If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, unplug it completely; just make sure you stick baking soda in the fridge, first, and prop the doors open to prevent odors. If you are planning to unplug it, make sure that all food has been removed from the fridge and freezer to prevent a nasty surprise when you return.

When preparing for vacation, you probably think about things such as packing a step up or step down voltage transformer to ensure your electronics charge properly while you’re traveling. While it’s good to be prepared, you don’t want to concentrate on packing so much that you forget about preparing your home.

The information in this article is an excellent reminder to focus on both your needs while away and your needs at home. For more information on all types of voltage regulators, feel free to browse our site for the latest products to help you as you travel around the country, or around the world.