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Going on summer vacation? Try some simple ways to save energy at home while you’re away

6/26/2017 1:50:47 PM

SAINT PAUL – While on summer vacation, you don’t need to pay for energy at home that you won’t use. 

Whether you are leaving town for one week, two weeks or more, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce energy use in your home while saving money in the process. 

The Minnesota Commerce Department and U.S. Department of Energy recommend the following:

  • Turn up the temperature on your thermostat. It doesn’t make sense to cool your home if you’re not there. Set your thermostat at 85 degrees so the air conditioning system will occasionally turn on to remove humidity. Learn more about thermostats
  • Turn down the temperature on your water heater. Water heating accounts for about 20 percent of annual energy costs in a Minnesota home. Instead of the recommended setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the control knob to “vacation mode.” Find out how to cut water heating bills
  • Reduce standby power loads. Many consumer electronics and appliances use power even when switched off or in standby mode, costing the average U.S. household $100 per year. To cut standby power, use power strips and turn them off or unplug electronics when not in use. Buy ENERGY STAR® products, which consume less standby power. But keep the power on for some appliances such as refrigerators and freezers. There are 3 Easy Tips to Reduce Your Standby Power Loads.
  • Keep window shades and curtains drawn to block heat from the afternoon sun
  • Make sure all lights are turned off. For lights on a security timer, use energy-efficient CFL or LED lights.
  • Whether to turn off your refrigerator depends on how long you will be gone. If it is just a week or two, it may not be worth the trouble. If you plan to be away for a month or more, you can save on electricity, but you will need to clean the fridge and keep the door ajar to prevent mold. Consult your owner’s manual. GE offers recommendations for refrigerator shutdowns

For general energy-saving tips, visit the DOE Energy Saver website or check out the Home Energy Guide (pdf) offered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the Commerce Department’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

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