Your vacation home is an escape from reality, but it can also cause unwanted stress. Namely, you might worry about the extra utility bills and waste your second property creates, whether you're there or not. The good news is that you can easily make this abode energy-efficient, saving you money and soothing any anxiety you feel about your budget. Here's how to do it.
Your vacation home could be costing extra cash in heating and cooling if it has cracks or unsealed seams. So, do a quick inspection of doors, walls and windows that face the exterior of your home. Close up any holes or cracks and repair any dents that could become bigger openings over time. On that note, you don't spend as much time at your vacation home, so finding and fixing the problem ASAP is even more vital. You don't want to come back to an even bigger issue — and one that'll decrease your home's energy efficiency, to boot.
At home, you probably swap out your air filters at a regular clip as suggested on the packaging. It's easy to let this chore fall by the wayside in your vacation home, since you're not there as often. You shouldn't let it get this way, though. A clogged air filter will require your HVAC system to work harder, thus wasting energy. So, bring a fresh filter with you the next time you visit your vacation home. In most cases, you'll need to swap it out every five to six months.
Your vacation home may have come with dated decor and fixtures. As you modernize the place, don't forget to swap out any incandescent light bulbs for the updated LED version. The latter bulbs operate at 90% efficiency, while incandescents only convert up to 10% of the energy expended into light. The rest goes into creating heat, which isn't what you're using your lights for anyway. As such, you can save up to 80% of your lighting system's energy usage by switching old bulbs for new ones.
Smart thermostats are an excellent addition to any home, but especially to your vacation property. Perhaps you worry in winter that your mountain house will get too cold, thus causing frozen pipes to burst. Or, you leave the air-conditioning on for the entire week because you know you'll be back for another beach getaway the next weekend. Either way, you end up wasting energy to control the temperature of a house you don't live in full-time.
A smart thermostat allows you to monitor and change your vacation home's temperature from your smartphone. You can set it so that, by the time you arrive, the place feels as cool or warm as you want it. Plus, smart thermostats save energy and money while you're in the house, too. You can set your smart thermostat so it's not running all night or while you're out of the house, for example.
After a day of traveling to your vacation home, all you want is a shower. Don't hop in without turning down the water heater from its factory settings, which usually hover at 140 degrees. At 120 degrees, your water will be hot enough, and the heater can keep things that temperature with more energy efficiency. When you leave the house, turn the water heater off so that you're not wasting energy to heat up water no one will use.
Before you leave the vacation home, make sure you've unplugged everything, including appliances. Even when they're not in use, plugged-in electronic devices can still use electricity — and cost up to $250 in bills. If you want to make this task simpler, plug all your electronics into power strips you can flip on and off when you arrive and depart. That way, you're not wasting power, and it's no sweat off your back.
With just these six steps, you're well on your way to making your vacation home more energy-efficient. Not only will you save cash, but you'll feel even better about your second abode — it serves to de-stress you without wasting any money or resources. Now, all you have to do is travel to your vacation property, plug everything back in and enjoy.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!