Should you unplug your appliances before you leave for vacation?

Image of someone unplugging a cord from a wall outlet

Going on vacation ideally involves leaving all your worries behind. No one wants to be worrying about things that can go wrong in their home while visiting somewhere new. And with the cost of taking a vacation often resulting in added stress, anything you can do to save money will ensure you can enjoy the most of your much-needed time away from it all. So, before you jet off on your holiday, take a moment to consider the electronic appliances in your home. By doing so, you can save money while minimizing the risk of something going wrong while you’re away. We’ll offer some tips so you can be sure you’re making the right decisions.

Avoid phantom consumption

You may already know this, but most electronic devices continue to draw some current – even when not in use. As long as they’re plugged in, the currents are flowing. Now, the current is much smaller than when actually in use. However, the energy used can certainly add up over long periods of time. Like when you’re away on vacation.

Unplugging unnecessary devices will ensure they don’t use any phantom energy while you’re away. Plus, this helps you enjoy a lower energy bill. Power bars make this much easier as you can simply shut power off directly on the bar. In turn, this cuts off power for all the devices that are plugged into it rather than unplugging each one individually. Additionally, larger appliances which have difficult-to-reach plugs can often be turned off more easily from your breaker panel including washing machines, dryers, and ovens.

Unplugging your devices also reduces the risk of a fire starting when no one is home. Therefore, this will ensure your home remains safe while no one is there to keep an eye on things.

Should anything be kept on?

Climate control systems oftentimes use the most electricity. Although it’s typically a good idea to turn these systems off while you’re away, you need to think carefully about your specific situation.

If your home is in a cold environment, turning off the heating can result in freezing temperatures which can cause damage to various parts of your home. For example, bursting water pipes. For this reason, you may need to keep this system on to maintain a high enough temperature in your home. On the other hand, you may have a home in an extremely hot climate. In this case, such an environment may require some cooling to prevent damage to materials in the home which weren’t optimized to withstand continuous high heat. It also reduces the risk of a fire starting while you’re away.

In addition to temperature controls, humidity controls may need to be kept on. Humid environments may require a dehumidifier to prevent damage to materials and mold growth while extremely dry environments may require a humidifier to reduce the risk of a fire.

Other appliances which may need to be kept on include sump pumps, refrigerators and freezers, home security systems, and garden sprinklers.

Make it look like someone is home

It’s common for people going on vacation to leave some devices on while away. Things like radios, TVs, and lights can be a deterrent for break-ins. Why? Because this creates the illusion that someone is home. This is a bit of an art so it’s totally up to you to decide what to leave on. To preserve energy and avoid high bills, consider installing a timer for your devices. Our residential electricians can optimize your space with self-timers to create a more realistic simulation of someone being home.

Should you shut off your main breaker?

Some people may consider making things easier by simply shutting off the main breaker for their home rather than unplugging individual devices. While quicker, very few homes can safely be left unattended with no electricity. For most, especially those who are unfamiliar with their home electric systems, it’s best to avoid shutting off the main breaker and instead unplug individual devices as needed.

Using smart home technology

Smart home technology can help control the devices in your home and allow you to keep an eye on things while away. You can also get your home to your desired temperature before you return without needing to choose between wasting energy to keep it that way the whole time you’re away or having to wait for your home to heat/cool after a long journey.


Want to install money saving systems into your home safely, quickly, and efficiently? Contact our team at BPM Electric for a quote on your services!