As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rise and travel restrictions ease, many people are planning their first big trip since the pandemic began. Just over 50% of Americans say they will definitely take at least one trip this summer while another 32% are considering it, according to the personal finance website ValuePenguin.com.
Saving energy while you’re away is just as important to your household budget and the environment as when you’re home. And with the proliferation of home offices and work computers as a result of the pandemic, there may be even greater opportunities to save while you’re away at the beach, mountains or other getaway destination.
Follow these simple tips to help save money while you’re away and put some dollars back in your pocket for your upcoming trip:
- Use a smart thermostat. If you have a smart thermostat, set it to vacation mode so that it knows you’re away. This will override your normal daily schedule and maximize energy savings. And if your plans change while you’re away, a smart thermostat allows you to make changes through a phone or tablet. If you don’t have a smart thermostat, visit the PSE&G Marketplace where instant rebates are available on popular models. If you have a standard thermostat, consider setting the AC to around 84 degrees or turning it off completely before you hit the road.
- Turn off lights and ceiling fans, or use timers. Even if you’re using LED lights, remember to turn them all off before you leave the house. Try a timer to turn a few lights on at night as a security measure to make it appear someone is home.
- Adjust the temperature on your water heater. If you have a natural gas water heater, you can set it to “low” or “vacation” mode. If you have an electric water heater, set the temperature as low as possible. Water heaters are among the top three energy using appliances in your home.
- Unplug appliances and turn off power strips. Even when they’re turned off, appliances continue to draw power, inflating your energy bill. Find anything that has a display screen or light like a TV, cable box, coffee maker or toaster oven and unplug it. Consider purchasing an advanced power strip that saves energy year round from the PSE&G Marketplace where you’ll find instant rebates on popular models.
- Don’t empty the refrigerator. Did you know a full fridge is more efficient than a half-empty one? You’ll save energy by getting rid of any perishables, and stacking the shelves with water bottles while you’re away. To conserve even more, adjust the thermostats to higher settings: 38 degrees for the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer.
- Close blinds and pull curtains down. This will block the sun, prevent radiant heat from warming up your home and keep your home cooler so the AC won’t have to work as hard.
- Change pool pump and spa settings. If you have a pool, set the pool pump to run less to save energy. If you have a spa, turn off the heater or lower the temperature before you leave.