By using a checklist, you can minimize energy wasted by your empty house. That will save you a few dollars for your vacation.
- Check to make sure the kitchen stove top is off
- Check to make sure the oven is off
- Look at each wall outlet and decide which items to unplug like the coffee maker, can opener and microwave
- Turn all the water faucets off
- If you have a chest freezer throw a couple of blankets or a quilt over it
- If you are leaving for a short period, check the refrigerator thermostat setting, 38 degrees for the refrigerator, and 5 degrees for the freezer
- For longer trips (such as four weeks or more), consider emptying your refrigerator and unplugging it.
- In each bath room, shut all the water faucets off
- Check to make sure the toilet is not running
- Unplug the night-lights
- Close the storm windows
- Close the storm doors
- Unplug your 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)
- I do not unplug electric clocks, but you can
- In each room look at each wall outlet and decide which items to unplug
- Leave the telephone adapter plugged in only if you have an answering machine that you want to work while you are gone
- Turning off electronic devices is good to save energy, but remember digital displays, instant-on features, and remote controls use energy while not in use. Unplug most electronic devices while you are away. I do not unplug anything that requires extensive reprogramming like TV’s or cable boxes.
- Do unplug other stuff like the stereo
- In the laundry room make sure machines and lights are off
- Shut off laundry tub faucets
- If it will be above freezing, during the heating season shut the heat off.
- If it will be below freezing, turn your thermostat 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. Some digital thermostats will turn down to 45. Forty-five is the bare minimum for water pipe freeze protection. I suggest 47.
- During hot weather turn your air conditioner off or set the thermostat to 85 degrees or higher.
- If you have electric water heater with a tank, switch off the circuit breaker that sends power to your 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. If you have an on demand tank-less water heater, you do not need to do anything.
- 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. If you don’t, the pump will cycle on and off while you are gone just to keep the pressure up.
- Turn off all lights in your home before you leave.
- You may wish to maintain an outdoor or indoor light for nighttime security. Consider installing a lighting timer. That way the lights will only be on a few hours a day. Lights do help to make it appear as if someone is at home. The timer minimizes the energy used.
Build Your Own Checklist
This list is for our current home. It is not exactly right for your home. You need to start with this list and add to it or scratch out items to make your own list.
You save money when you use an energy shutdown checklist for your home. That way items are not forgotten during the last minute rush to get underway.
Use your checklist again when you return home. It will help you remember what needs to be turned back on.