During the summer months, when many of us are away on vacation, we often assume that our power bill will automatically be lower without taking a few things into consideration.

Even though you are on vacation or away from home for an extended period, certain appliances continue to operate and use kilowatt-hours unless they are turned off.

Refrigerators, freezers, and water heaters are large power users that continue to use electricity whether you’re home or not. Computers, automatic lighting, air conditioning, and dehumidifiers will also use electricity when you are away.

Also, remember that many times before leaving on vacation, there is a lot of laundry to be done so the family can have the clothes they will need. And, of course, when returning home, washing, drying, and ironing must be done again.

Here are some energy-saving tips to follow before leaving on vacation to help you conserve on your power bill:

  1. Set the thermostat to 85 degrees. If it’s a programmable thermostat, use the “hold” or “vacation” setting to keep it at that temperature.
  2. Check the temperature settings of your water heater, and if you’re going to be gone for a lengthy period, you may want to adjust it to a lower temperature or turn it off.
  3. Use timers to operate lights each night.
  4. Make sure all windows and doors are closed tightly so cool air is not escaping. Closing blinds and shades will keep sunlight out and help keep the house cooler.
  5. Unplug computers, television, gaming systems, and other electronic devices before leaving.

So, when your electric bill isn’t as low as you anticipated because you’ve been away for a week or two, remember, many of the appliances in your home didn’t take a vacation.