What home appliances to turn off when you go out of town
It’s that time of year when many are heading off for some well-deserved R&R or off to visit family or friends. The last thing you want to think about is whether you forgot to set the burglar alarm, turn off the water, unplugged the correct home appliances. You want to enjoy your time away and not worry about if you will be returning to a home catastrophe. Our vacation checklist guide will help you know how to turn off home appliances the correct way:
DO turn off
Water leaks are the most common domestic disaster and many vacationers and business travelers return home to them. Water can cause considerable damage to your floors and furnishings (not to mention expense) if left unattended, so remember to turn off your water supply at the mains. Your stopcock is the control tap for your mains water. The stopcock is usually located in the cabinet under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe comes into your home. A leak from a water tank or pipe could also damage the electrical wiring and even start a fire, so this is an absolute must.
Heating (except in winter, of course) Don’t forget to switch off your water heater or boiler as there’s little point keeping your central heating and hot water temperatures up when you’re not home. However, if you’re heading out during the deep winter months, it’s important to protect your pipes from freezing and bursting. Setting the thermostat to 50-55 degrees will keep prevent that, and save you money.Many modern boilers have a ‘frost mode’ that kicks in when the temperature drops below a certain level. Alternatively, you can program the heating to come on for an hour or so each day. Set it for early morning when outside temperatures are at their lowest.
"Vampire" appliances use electricity even when they "off" by going into standby mode. According to the Department of Energy vampire appliances and electronics account for 10% of energy used in an average home. When you include all homes in the U.S., that totals about 52 billion kWh per year or about 26 average-size power plants.
How to identify these energy vampires? They have:
- an external power supply
- a remote control
- a continuous display (including an LED) such as a clock
- a function of charging batteries
Here are the top 2 categories to pay attention to:
- TVs and computers
TVs, sound systems, computers and even routers continue to drain power if they’re left on standby. You want to unplug these appliances at the wall, before you head out of town. Consider using power strips that will turn off all of them with a single switch to make life easier.
- Kitchen gadgets
- TVs and computers
Coffee makers, toasters, microwaves, dishwashers and washing machines should all be switched off and unplugged to save electricity and protect your home from fire risk.
DON’T turn off
Fridge and freezerWhile you can switch off most appliances, you can’t usually turn off the electricity completely as you still need the freezer and fridge to run unless you’re going away for a long time.If you switch off a fridge or freezer, it will defrost and you’ll return to a very wet floor. The smell of rotting food isn’t pleasant to come back to either.
Automatic timersYou’ll need electricity to make your house look lived in while you’re out of town, so you don’t attract the attention of burglars. Use an automatic timer to turn lights on and off in the evenings at pre-programmed times. This gives the impression of someone being at home to ward off potential intruders.
Outside securityMake sure any security systems you have in place are working properly. Remember to set the burglar alarm before you leave home and check that the outside security lighting and movement sensors come on to dissuade any burglars from entering your property while it’s empty.
TV set-top boxDon’t want to miss an episode of Game of Thrones, Monday Night Football or 60 Minutes? Some satellite and digital TV recorders need to be left plugged in so they can record your favorite shows while you’re away. Use a separate socket or power strip so that all other appliances connected to it, such as your TV, DVD player or games console, can be independently unplugged.
Bathroom appliancesBe sure to unplug your hair dryer, curling iron, electric shaver and/or WaterPik if you’re not bringing these with you. Even when turned off, these devices can use electricity from your outlet costing you money.
Want even more practical tips? Check out this useful article.
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