About "Ask the Energy Expert"
Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.
Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here
Asked on: June 30, 2015 by Debbie C., Virginia Gardens
We’re going on vacation. What are the best A/C settings, and what other steps can I take to save while I'm away?
Before hitting the road for your trip, take a few minutes to ensure that your home is as ready for your vacation as you are!
My tips below will help you if you’ll be traveling for about a week or two. For extended vacations, such as a few months, check out the useful tips in this seasonal customer blog.
So, what should you leave on, turn off or unplug completely while you’re away? Here are some of the top things that can help you save money and keep your home safe:
Leaving your A/C on, with its fan switch set to “auto” mode, will help to keep indoor humidity under control while you’re gone. A programmable thermostat will allow you to be more energy efficient than a manual one. But, each one has an ideal setting that can help you save.
80 degrees: Homes and townhouses
77 degrees: Condos and apartments
72 degrees: Two hours before sunrise
88 degrees: The rest of the day
Ceiling fans: Off
If you’re leaving for months at a time, consider using a stand-alone dehumidifier which will help you save the most energy, while also preventing mold. We cover this, and information about humidistats, in our seasonal customer blog.
It’s tempting to want to leave your ceiling fans on thinking they will prevent mold. But, ceiling fans are not necessary since your A/C is already circulating air. Plus, fans cool people not rooms, so save by turning off ceiling fans when you’re not home. Read my ceiling fan blog to learn more.
Unplugging electronics before you leave for vacation will help you save because many of them use electricity, even while you’re not using them – something called phantom energy. Unplugging electronics will also help to protect them from lightning strikes while you’re traveling. Phantom energy, or phantom load, is electricity consumed by an electrical device when it is in the “off” mode.In this Ask the Energy Expert video, my colleague shows you an easy way to determine what you should unplug.
Water heater: Off
A traditional, tank-style electric water heater keeps your water hot day and night so it’s available when you need it. If you’re not going to be home, you’ll save a few bucks by turning it off. See how to look for your tank’s on/off switch. If you’re going to be away for an extended period and don’t have an on/off switch, you may also turn off the unit using your home’s main circuit breaker.
Main water valve: Off
Turn off your home’s main water valve, unless you have an automatic fire-sprinkler system. In that case, you can turn off the water valves directly leading to your washing machine, sinks, dishwasher and toilets. This can help you avoid very costly repairs in case something happens, like an old hose bursting.
- For the best air flow throughout your home, keep bedroom doors and A/C vents open.
- Consider leaving a light plugged in, but on a timer, to make it look like you’re home.
- If your vacation is during hurricane season, have a plan for getting your hurricane shutters installed if a storm forms while you’re away.
- We also recommend combiningFPL Email Bill® and FPL Automatic Bill Pay® for the easiest way to receive and pay your FPL bill while you’re enjoying your trip.
Have a question I didn’t answer? We’ll consider it for a future blog post. From all of us here, have a great vacation!
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