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Summer time can mean travelling and vacation for many. Here are some tips on how to save money and energy while you are away from your home this summer:

  • Set your thermostat to higher temperature than normal. Use a programmable thermostat to set back the temperature when you are gone from your home using programmed settings. Since you will be away for an extended length of time, it’s recommended to set your thermostat to 85 degrees or turn it off altogether. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by turning a thermostat back 7˚-10˚F for eight hours a day from the typical setting used. Also, it’s important to note that immediately setting the temperature cooler than normal when you return home does not cool your home any faster.
  • Don’t forget about your water heater. Turn your water heater to “vacation mode” before leaving for your trip. A large portion of water heater costs is caused by standby losses, which occur even when no one is home to use the hot water. Your water heater can turn on up to five times a day, just to maintain its current temperature setting.
  • Rid your home of vampire energy. Your electronics, such as a phone charger, toaster or microwave, still “suck” energy when they are plugged into the outlet, even if they aren’t being used. You can save up to $100 a year by plugging electronic devices into a power strip and turning it off when it’s not in use. Or, even better, use a smart power strip, which automatically cuts energy to appliances when not in use. You can get a free smart power strip with a free home energy assessment from ComEd, Nicor Gas or Peoples Gas. Sign up for your free energy assessment on the ComEd, Nicor Gas or Peoples Gas websites.
  • Turn off your lights. Do one last check to turn off lights as you are on the way out the door. This is an easy way to make sure you aren’t wasting energy and money while you are gone. If you use a security timer in your home, use a CFL or LED light bulb to reduce the amount of energy used.

 

Want to learn more about how you can save energy and money in your home all year round? Visit our website or contact Sarah Edwards at sarah.edwards@cookcountyil.gov for more information on smart meter and energy efficiency programs.