What to Do If You’re Leaving Home

10 Energy Saving Tips When Going Away

vacation checklist wisconsin

If you’ll be leaving the winter wonderland of Wisconsin and spending time in a warmer climate for a while, here are 10 steps you can take to protect your home from frozen pipes and other damage.

A Vacation Checklist for Your Home

  1. Don’t turn off your heating system! Keep it running on the heat setting and don’t lower it below 60° F to help prevent pipes from freezing. You may want to adjust the thermostat setting a little higher if temperatures are forecasted to be especially frigid while your home is vacant.
  2. Invest in a Wi-Fi smart thermostat. This lets you manage heating (and cooling) remotely from your smartphone; it also sends you low-temperature alerts.
  3. Keep kitchen cabinet doors open to keep heat flowing to uninsulated pipes there.
  4. Make sure all windows and doors are closed and sealed. Close shutters and check locks on all windows and doors.
  5. Shut off the main water valve. The best way to prevent frozen pipes is to make sure there’s no water in them in the first place. Open up all your faucets to prevent pressure buildup from the little bit of water that remains in your pipes.
  6. If you haven’t done this already, you should locate your outdoor watering systems’ valves and turn them to the closed position. Then, drain any water left in the system. With no water left in the lines, you can be confident that ice will not collect. Several cost-effective items can reduce your risk of freezing pipes, including frost-free spigots and outdoor valve covers. These products are available at most home improvement retailers.
  7. Unplug appliances to protect them from power surges (which are common when power is restored after an outage) and reduce the risk of fire. You’ll also cut your energy bills by reducing the energy drawn from what are known as “vampire” appliances. Those are the ones that draw electric current even when they’re turned off. These include computers and computer-related equipment (modems, routers, etc.), cable or satellite TV boxes and surround sound systems.
  8. Close the flue on your wood fireplace. This will prevent snow, rain or animals from getting into your home. It will also prevent heat from escaping.
  9. Have someone check your home on a regular basis. That person can contact you if there’s a problem and give your heating oil company or HVAC professional access to fix a heating problem.
  10. If you get automatic heating oil deliveries, let your heating oil supplier know so they can revise their delivery plan accordingly.

If you think your furnace or boiler is not working properly, please reach out to your full-service heating oil dealer so they can put your mind at rest before you leave home.