Where I work, we are expecting a four-day weekend break for Easter. I have been working on checklists of things that should be shut off to save on the utility bills during that time when there is no production.
Like many folks, our personal plan includes time away from home to visit family. It is a good idea to make an energy shutdown checklist for your home so items do not get forgotten during the last minute rush to pack the car.
An easy way to make a checklist is to tour the house with a pad of paper and pencil. Being a lazy old guy my method is more like a cool drink and a comfortable chair at a keyboard followed by a mental/virtual tour of the house. Yes, I’ll likely miss an item or two that a real walk around will catch. I’ll do the real walk around as a check to see what I missed OK.
Unplug the coffee maker
All the water faucets off
Slide the storm windows shut
If you have a chest freezer throw a couple of blankets or quilts over it
All the water faucets off
Toilet not running
Unplug the night light
Unplug cell phone charger and pack it to go.
Unplug the electric blanket from the wall outlet (We had a cat that would paw at the control until the blanket would come on)
Close storm windows
I do not unplug electric clocks
Unplug night lights
Look at each wall outlet and decide which items to unplug
Leave the telephone plugged in only if it has an answering machine that you want to work while you are gone.
Do not unplug anything that requires extensive reprogramming like a TV or cable box.
Do unplug other stuff like the stereo
Sorry, I can not make a list for the laundry room because I have been band from entering it. As long at the machines and lights are off I am happy.
If it will be above freezing, shut the heat off.
If it will be below freezing, turn it down to the lowest setting plus two degrees. (Some older thermostats would turn down to 55 so I’d set them at 57 to keep it off the low limit stop. Newer digital thermostats will turn down to 45. Forty-five is the bare minimum for water pipe freeze protection. I suggest 47.)
Shut that Air conditioner off in warm weather by sliding the switch to the off position.
It is a good idea to program your thermostat to return to the normal setting an hour before you expect to return.
Tank type Water Heater
If you have an electric water heater, I recommend that you switch off the circuit breaker that sends power to you water heater.
If you have a natural gas water heater, I recommend that you dial down the temperature setting. First, use a permanent marker to mark where it is normally set. Then turn the temperature dial way down so it will not waste so much heat.
Tank-less Water Heater
If you have an on demand water heater, you do not need to do anything. It will not use any energy unless there is water flow and we are about to prevent that.
If you have, “city” water shut the main supply valve off where it enters the house.
If you have your own water well, shut off the electric power to the pump. (Or the pump will cycle on and off while you are gone just to keep the pressure up)
Shutting the water off saves on your utility bills and prevents water damage from a leaky pipe while you are gone. My father had a leak start at an upstairs bathroom while he was away on vacation that damaged the living room ceiling below.
This list is fairly complete for our current home, but it is not right for your home. You need to start with this list and add to it or scratch out items to make your own list. The big money savers on the list are the thermostat, water heater and water supply.
by Birney Summers – 2009 All Rights Reserved