using your AC unit in winterIf you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the chilly days of winter, then a proper vacation is probably at the top of your to-do list this season. But be careful! Catching vacation fever might be great for you, but it’s definitely not great for your wallet. And, unfortunately, too many homeowners are wasting money on energy bills while they’re off on vacation.

Here are a few things you absolutely need to remember before you leave for someplace sunny and warm this winter.

Turn Your HVAC System Down
Unless you have pets in your home, it’s a smart idea to limit the amount of heating and cooling services you use while on vacation. Properly storing your AC unit and preparing your furnace are crucial to saving on energy costs while you’re away. The thermostat in your home should be set to at least 50 degrees to keep pipes and other important appliances from freezing, but other than that, there’s no need to keep the heat at 70 degrees while you’re gone.

Take Care of Your Pets
You might be uncomfortable with the idea of placing your pet in a boarding facility during your vacation, but even having them stay with a relative is better than leaving your pet at home alone. You could be wasting heat and money by leaving a dog alone in a large house. Before placing your pet in anyone else’s care or leaving them at home, consult with your veterinarian.

Unplug Everything
Even when they’re not in use, your appliances are using electricity just by being plugged into an outlet. If you take the time to unplug all of your non-essential appliances before you leave for vacation, you could end up saving a lot of money. Not only that, but you could be reducing the risk of a fire in your home as well. If there’s a power surge while nobody’s in the house, your plugged-in appliances could spark and cause serious damage to your property.

Above all else, you should make sure you’ve invested in AC repair and furnace repair before you stop using your AC unit in winter. Twice-a-year inspections can reduce soot buildup and other common HVAC systems issues, not to mention lower the cost of your heating and air conditioning bills. Because the only place you should be using your AC unit in winter is wherever you decide to vacation.