Many people assume they are automatically using less energy when no one is home. Even though no one is turning on the lights or running the dishwasher, the lights and appliances are still sucking electricity. The good news is that you can learn how to save on electricity when going out of town for the holidays with a few simple tips.
Turn off all of the lights. If you don't already have motion detectors or photo sensors set up for your outdoor lights, consider putting them in before your trip. For security purposes, put a few of your energy-efficient indoor lamps on timers so it will appear as though someone is still home. If you're going to have someone bring in your mail and take care of other home tasks while you're gone, you can also have that person turn the lights on and off periodically.
Televisions and Stereos
Unless you plan to record TV shows while you are gone, unplug your TV, stereo, and any related components, such as a Blu-Ray player and console gaming system.
Appliances with Clocks
You can unplug any appliance that has a clock, such as a coffee maker or a microwave oven to decrease the "phantom" or "vampire" electricity load.
Additional Devices and Electronics
There are quite a few electronics that use power even when they're in an off mode. Unplug anything that you will not be using while you're gone, such as cell phone chargers and the coffee grinder.
If you have an electric water heater, set it to the lowest temperature possible. Gas water heaters are equipped with a vacation setting that you can use.
Air Conditioners and Ceiling Fans
Turn off all of the ceiling fans and window air-conditioner units. Pull the window shades and blinds to decrease the amount of heat that will get in the home.
Refrigerator and Freezer
For shorter trips of one week or less, fill a few Tupperware containers with water to heighten the efficiency of the fridge. The emptier the fridge and freezer, the more energy is required to fill the space. If you're taking a longer trip, think about taking everything out of the fridge and freezer. Unplug it, leave the doors open, and place boxes of baking soda to prevent mold growth and to soak up the moisture.