What To Unplug And Turn Off When You Go Away For Christmas


You’re all set to leave for your well-deserved Christmas holiday when you realise you haven’t prepped your home at all. Here’s a list of all the energy vampires you should disable (or adjust) before you head out.

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Turn Off:

  • Air-conditioning: Your home doesn't need to be a comfortable 24C if you're not going to be there. If you have pets that you're worried about, or you'll be gone for an extended period of time, just raise your thermostat temp to about 29C so your A/C isn't cranked on max the entire time you're gone.

  • Water heater: Your water heater uses a lot of energy to keep a lot of hot water shower-ready. If it's gas, switch it to the "pilot" setting. If it's electric, turn it off at the breaker switch. If you don't want to do that, at least turn the temperature setting down. Make sure you turn it back on (or back up) at least an hour before you try to shower when you get back.

  • Main water supply: This won't save you money initially, but it could save you some if there's a potential leak. You'll also avoid a lot of grief. It doesn't take long to turn off and then back on, so you might as well be better safe than sorry.

  • Lights: Leaving the lights on the entire time you're on holiday is a waste of energy. If you're worried about security, put a couple lamps on a timer.

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  • Electronics with external power supplies or "power bricks": Laptops, video game consoles, stereos, smartphone chargers, and other similar devices constantly draw power into their power supplies. Unplug all of your chargers, whether it's for a tablet or a toothbrush.

  • Electronics with standby or "sleep" modes: Desktop PCs, televisions, cable boxes, DVD/Blu-ray players, alarm clocks, radios, and anything with a remote control is never truly "off." If the item has an "instant on" feature or has LED lights glowing when it's off, it's always draining small amounts of power. If items like this are all plugged into a surge protector -- which they should be -- you can just turn off the surge protector itself.

  • Modems and routers: These are literally always on and using power. Unplug them and you'll not only save some energy cost, but you'll avoid having your Wi-Fi hacked into while you're gone.

  • Small appliances: Toasters, blenders, rice cookers, coffee machines, food processors, microwaves, and so forth. Anything with a clock is a culprit. Space heaters and fans should be unplugged as well.

  • New washers and dryers: If you have a fancy new washer/dryer set with lights, digital timers, and the like, they'll drain power while they're "off" just like a computer or TV will.

If you're wondering about your refrigerator, there's no need to do anything with it unless you'll be gone a month or more. Most fridges cost around $10 to $25 a month to operate, so going through the process of removing food and tossing things out isn't worth the few dollars you might save if you're only going to be gone a week.


  • Air-conditioning: Your home doesn’t need to be a comfortable 24C if you’re not going to be there. If you have pets that you’re worried about, or you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, just raise your thermostat temp to about 29C so your A/C isn’t cranked on max the entire time you’re gone.

    Surely if you’re going to be gone an extended period you’d just turn the AC off completely? If you’ve got pets you wouldn’t be leaving them at home for an extended time anyway. If it’s a short time, (ie: less than a day) not sure changing the aircon from 24 -29 is going to save that much anyway.

    Same with a lot of the “trickle” devices like alarm clocks or TVs or computers. Most of them when turned off at the device, but not the wall use such a small amount of electricity it’s not really worth worrying about.


    First example is an LCD TV, on standby it’s probably costing around 0.06c an hour. So if you’re away for a fortnight you’ll save $0.20. While it’s true that every device contributes to that amount in realistic terms it’s saving less than the price of a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk for a fortnight.

    If money is so tight that you need to be saving such a small amount you should be completely turning the TV (and other devices) off at the wall every single time you’re not using them, not just when you’re on holiday.

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