PhotoIt’s no secret that the end of the year can be costly on consumers’ electric bills. Cranking up the heat to stay warm and putting up festive lights comes with a cost, after all.

However, there are some consumers who take time at the end of the year to visit family for holiday celebrations, and there are ways they can be saving money in the process. For those leaving town in the coming weeks, Duke Energy has provided a list of steps you can take to save on energy and lower your electricity bill at the end of the month.

5 steps to lowering your electricity bill

Lower your thermostat before leaving: Before leaving home, be sure to lower your thermostat to save money. If you have a programmable version, you can set it to “vacation mode.” For those of you with a manual unit, adjust your thermostat to no lower than 55° F to keep your pipes from freezing. Duke Energy points out that adjusting the temperature by as little as 3° from your normal temperature for 24 hours can save 30% on heating costs. Additionally, setting the fan to “auto” instead of the “on” setting will help reduce energy consumption.

Turn off the electric water heater: Consumers should turn off their electric water heater at the breaker if they’re going to be away from home for more than a few days. It only takes about an hour for the water to be heated back up for most models, and it will save a lot of money on “standby” losses.

Stock your refrigerator: Most consumers might want to empty their refrigerators before going away to ensure that no food spoils, but having a fully stocked fridge can actually lower energy costs by keeping the unit colder. Duke Energy suggests tightly packing items in the fridge or freezer before adjusting the internal thermostat so that the items can keep each other cold. However, if you’re going to be away for more than four weeks, consider emptying the refrigerator and freezer completely and unplugging the whole unit.

Unplug electrical devices: It might not be something you think about too much, but every electrical device that you keep plugged in consumes energy. Before leaving home, be sure to unplug devices like radios, DVD players, TV’s, coffee makers, cable boxes, gaming consoles, and computers. Remember that unplugging any unnecessary device will save on energy.

Turn off lights and fans: It might seem like common sense, but make sure to do a full sweep of your home and turn off any lights or fans before leaving the house. For homes that are integrated with smart technology, you can even set timers to make it seem like the house is occupied to deter burglars or thieves. 


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