Energy Insight: Extended Leave Energy Saving Tips for Winter

Are you planning an extended visit for the holidays? Are you a member of the military and deploying soon? Whatever the reason for your extended absence, CDE Lightband wants to help keep your energy costs down while you are away.


When leaving, set all the home’s thermostats to 50°F – 55°F. This way, pipes won’t freeze, but energy won’t be wasted.

It’s important to note how a thermostat works. A thermostat does not turn OFF a home’s heating system. It is simply a controller to tell the heater when to come on. A heater will continue to consume electricity to keep a home warm, even if the home is empty. Heating is the largest consumer of electricity in the winter season. Be sure to adjust thermostats accordingly if the house will not be used for long periods.



A water heater’s usage can represent up to 25% of a home’s energy bill. A water heater’s heating elements will consume electricity to keep the water in the tank hot whether the home is occupied or not. So if the house won’t be occupied, turn off the water heater at the electric panel. Upon returning, flip the same breaker back on. Allow several hours for the water heater to recharge. In the winter, be sure to drain pipes that will hold water located outside the heated area of the home. Don’t forget to set the water heater’s thermostat to 120°F.


Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators and freezers are other household appliances that use energy whether the home is occupied or not. If the house will not be used, consider defrosting and unplugging the refrigerator and freezer. If this is done, be sure to prop the doors open so that there won’t be problems with mildew. If choosing not to defrost or unplug the refrigerator, consider placing gallon jugs full of water in it. This will help the refrigerator to run more efficiently. The water in the jugs will store thermal energy in the form of cold water. Also, consider lowering the temperature of the refrigerator, depending on the contents, while away.

Phantom Load

Many TVs, cable boxes, chargers, and other consumer electronics have “Instant-On” features or small clocks. These features are consuming energy all the time. This can be very deceptive because the device looks like it’s turned off. When being away, unplug these devices from the wall or outlets.


Yes, we said curtains! Opening the home’s curtains acts as an additional heat source. Take advantage of the free energy from our sun.


If choosing to leave lights on for security, install timers or photocell day/night sensors to ensure that electricity is only used when it is important for home safety.

Install LED lights in the fixtures that will be turning on often.


Please feel free to email our Energy Services Team or visit for more energy-saving tips and articles.


by Robert Denson



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