Let’s say the reason you want to go on holiday is to leave all your worries behind. The last thing you want to think about after you’ve hit the road is whether you should have unplugged the toaster before you left home. Here are five simple tips to ensure your house remains energy efficient while you’re away – and help you save some cash.
1. Switch off everything
Even when electrical goods are in standby mode, they continue to draw an electrical charge, which costs you money. Before you head off, take a few minutes to go around the house and unplug or switch off everything – TVs, computers, stereos, the toaster, the kettle. Yes, everything. To make a saving over the long term, consider investing in an energy-saving extension, which allows you to turn off all your appliances with one switch. You can do this every night before you go to bed.
2. Give your fridge a break
One of the largest consumers of energy in the house is the fridge/freezer. If you’re planning a longer trip, consider giving your fridge a holiday too. That might mean using up or giving away leftover food in your fridge, defrosting it, giving it a good clean and then, lights out. If you’re not heading away for long, you can still take measures to reduce your fridge’s energy consumption. Freezers operate more efficiently when they’re well stocked. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy extra food to cram in though – just pop in a few containers filled with water to fill up space. Then you can raise the freezer’s temperature a few degrees to reduce energy use (by as much as 25 per cent) while you’re away.
3. Hot water saver
In winter, we rely on our heating systems to warm our homes and provide us with lovely hot water. When you’re away, there’s obviously no point in leaving the heating on, but it’s also worthwhile checking whether your hot water system can be adjusted or turned off. This will depend on the make, so you need to do your research first.
4. Set an auto timer for lights
From a safety perspective, it makes sense to leave a light on to ensure your house looks occupied and deter burglars. But this is a huge energy consumer, and leaving lights on 24/7 sends as a clear a message to a burglar as no lights at all. Consider instead, having an electrician install an automatic timer, which will flick specific lights on and off at designated times. This gives you peace of mind to enjoy your holiday – as well as save money on unnecessary lighting.
5. Draw the blinds
This one might seem superfluous, but this is an underrated trick that can help keep the warmth in during winter and heat out during summer. Make sure the blinds and curtains are pulled down before you hit the road, so that you can return to a house that’s been well insulated in your absence. And of course, this has the added bonus of keeping snooping eyes away from your unoccupied property.
Do you have any energy-saving tips? Let us know in the comments.