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Ask the Expert: On or off? What you should do before leaving for your summer trip?

By: Brad Goar

Before hitting the road for your trip, take a few minutes to ensure that your home is as ready for your vacation as you are!

So, what should you leave on, turn off or unplug completely while you’re away? Here are some of the top things that can help you save money and keep your home safe: 

A/C: On

Leaving your A/C on, with its fan switch set to “auto” mode, will help to keep indoor humidity under control while you’re gone. A programmable thermostat will allow you to be more energy efficient than a manual one. But, each one has an ideal setting that can help you save.


Manual thermostat

Programmable thermostat

80 degrees: Homes and townhouses

77 degrees: Condos and apartments

72 degrees: Two hours before sunrise

82 degrees: The rest of the day


Ceiling fans: Off

If you’re leaving for months at a time, consider using a stand-alone dehumidifier which will help you save the most energy, while also preventing mold.

It’s tempting to want to leave your ceiling fans on thinking they will prevent mold. But, ceiling fans are not necessary since your A/C is already circulating air. Plus, fans cool people not rooms, so save by turning off ceiling fans when you’re not home.

Electronics: Unplug

Unplugging electronics before you leave for vacation will help you save because many of them use electricity, even while you’re not using them – something called phantom energy. Unplugging electronics will also help to protect them from lightning strikes while you’re traveling. Phantom energy, or phantom load, is electricity consumed by an electrical device when it is in the “off” mode.

Water heater: Off

A traditional, tank-style electric water heater keeps your water hot day and night so it’s available when you need it. If you’re not going to be home, you’ll save a few bucks by turning it off. If you’re going to be away for an extended period and don’t have an on/off switch, you may also turn off the unit using your home’s main circuit breaker.

Main water valve: Off

Turn off your home’s main water valve, unless you have an automatic fire-sprinkler system. In that case, you can turn off the water valves directly leading to your washing machine, sinks, dishwasher and toilets. This can help you avoid very costly repairs in case something happens, like an old hose bursting. 


  • For the best air flow throughout your home, keep bedroom doors and A/C vents open.
  • Consider leaving a light plugged in, but on a timer, to make it look like you’re home.
  • If your vacation is during hurricane season, have a plan for getting your hurricane shutters installed if a storm forms while you’re away.

And now, for the first time ever, you can know what it really costs to run your A/C, appliances and devices, plus get more customized tips on how to save on your bill.

Try the new FPL Energy Manager and take control of your bill today.