How to Save Money and Energy While You’re Away

Space Heat
Your heating system cycles on and off even when no one is home. So, lower your thermostat to 50 or 55 degrees (Farenheit). Your home may be chilly when you return, but not so cold that you will find pipes frozen or the plants damaged. During a winter vacation, shut off the water at the meter and drain the faucets, just in case there is a lengthy period of near zero weather while you’re away. Note: always turn off your water heater at the circuit panel when you turn off your water.

Water Heater
Your water heater uses energy to keep the tank warm even when you’re not home. Switch off the water heater at the circuit panel when you plan to be away for a month or longer. Remember to turn back on your water heater when you get home and be prepared to wait for three hours for a hot shower. Remember: If you turn off the water at the main valve to the house, turn the water back on before you switch the water heater back on.

Washer and Dryer
Unplug these appliances before leaving. These have been known to “short out” and cause fires when, because of some freak accident or storm, they’ve become surrounded by water. Also, disconnect the hoses leading to the automatic washer in unheated areas to avoid freezing. Insulate exposed pipes in the garage.

Television, Gaming Systems and Computer Equipment
Disconnect these electronics before taking off for an extended time. Unless unplugged, these devices have “instant on,” memory and standby features that continue to use energy. These “vampire electronics” can cost you hundreds of dollars a year, even if you never turn them on.

The typical 750-watt frost-free refrigerator consumes around 200 kwh monthly. Switching it off on a long holiday will cut back your monthly energy bill by more than $5. But before switching it off, empty and clean the refrigerator and freezer compartments, place a box of baking soda on the shelf and prop open the refrigerator door. Left closed, a refrigerator that is switched off develops bad odors.

A fully packed freezer represents a big investment. Usually it cannot be emptied to accommodate a vacation. Better to leave it switched on. Ask a neighbor to check it at regular intervals to make certain the power remains on and the compressor is working. To avoid accidental switch-off, place a home freezer on its own circuit.

Unplug toaster, coffee pot, irons, kitchen range, and microwave oven. Portable heaters Never leave a portable heater plugged in, even if it is equipped with a thermostat.

During the winter, turn off at main valve. Drain the faucets to avoid frozen pipes that could break and flood your home. Remember to turn the water heater off before you turn the water off at the main valve.

Leave lights off except for lamps that are on a timer. The timer can also be used to switch a radio on and off – another deterrent to vandalism.

More . . .
Read the electric meter before you leave, and again when you return home to know exactly the number of kilowatt hours of electricity used during your absence.

Contact Member Services at 360-376-3500 to arrange to pay your bill. The easiest way is to sign up for online bill and AutoPay by using our SmartHub tool. With SmartHub, you can view your bill from any computer and track your usage.

For more information
Use our Vacation/Unoccupied Home Checklist
Read about Vampire Electronics


To learn more, contact us.

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