Before you leave on vacation, here are a few ways to help reduce your energy use a little and, most of all, to help you rest easy while you’re away.
Set the thermostat lower
If you are going away for no more than a couple of weeks or so, it is recommended that you set the thermostat two to three degrees lower. If your thermostat is programmed for different times of day and night, it is suggested that you set it at your nighttime temperature. If you set it even lower, of course you will consume less energy while you are away, but then when you return, you will have to use more over several days to make up for the heat lost from the floors, walls and ceilings throughout the house.
If your thermostat is programmed, don’t worry: most programmable thermostats have a HOLD option that you can use to suspend the programming and maintain the desired temperature for an indeterminate period. Once you return from your vacation, just cancel the HOLD option to return your thermostat to its regular programming mode.
Your conventional storage-type water heater keeps water at 55 to 60 degrees, 24 hours a day because it takes less energy to keep water at the desired temperature than to keep heating cold water. Switching the water heater off completely is only more economical if you keep it off for several weeks. If this option is the best one, check your appliance user manual to find out what steps you should follow if you go away for an extended period of time.
Standard natural gas water heater
In general, if you have a standard natural gas water heater (connected to a chimney), it is very easy to switch it to “vacation” mode: just set the dial at the bottom of the appliance to VACATION. You can also shut off the cold water supply to the water heater to limit damage in the event of a leak from the tank. Once you return from vacation, do a visual inspection of the appliance. Then open the cold water supply and set the dial back to WARM, to the largest square for this option (see photo). A natural gas water heater will generally take a little over an hour to heat the water in the tank to the programmed temperature.
Power vented water heater
If you have a power vented water heater, just set it to “vacation” mode. Shut off the cold water supply to the water heater to limit damage in the event of a leak from the tank. Then simply disconnect the water heater. When you return from vacation, do a visual inspection of the appliance, reopen the cold water supply to the water heater, and reconnect the appliance. It will generally take a little over an hour to heat the water in the tank to the programmed temperature.
Electric water heater
If you have an electric water heater, you should shut off the power supply as well as the cold water supply to the water heater when you leave for an extended period of time. You will save electricity and limit damage in the event of a leak from the reservoir. When you return, do a visual inspection of the appliance. Make sure that the cold water supply to the appliance is open, and that the tank is completely full before you switch the power supply to the water heater back on. You should allow 4 to 5 hours to get the water in the reservoir back to the programmed temperature.
This is a perfect time to make the switch to paperless billing. Before you leave on vacation, sign up for paperless billing from all of your suppliers. This way, no matter where you are, you can keep track of all of your bills and make payments on time. To access the Gazifère paperless billing site, click here.
Pour plus d’information sur la sécurité concernant vos appareils à gaz naturel et sur la mise à jour de la situation des inondations émise par la Ville de Gatineau cliquez ici.
For more information on natural gas equipment safety and updates in French issued by the City of Gatineau, click here.