What Makes for a Truly Energy Efficient Vacation Home

A vacation home is almost every homeowner’s dream. It’s a perfect getaway from the stress and strains of our busy daily lives and a great long-term investment. However, if it’s not carefully planned and well maintained with a few energy efficient vacation home ideas; it can be a real budget buster.

A great way to reduce the costs and sleep more peacefully when you’re back home; is to upgrade your holiday home with practical energy-efficient solutions. Here are several energy efficient vacation home suggestions you should try.

What Makes for a Truly Energy Efficient Vacation Home

Maintain air filters

Spending time in your vacation home is all about comfort, fun and relaxation; which is quite hard if you have an inefficient HVAC system. Air filters are an important part of it and if left dirty or clogged; they would significantly reduce the quality of the air you breathe and might even trigger allergies. For occupied homes, the recommendation is to replace them every three months; while in a vacation home, doing so every six months would be sufficient.

A more eco-friendly option is having reusable filters that you can clean; but you can also stock up on disposable filters if you don’t feel like cleaning while you’re vacationing.

What Makes for a Truly Energy Efficient Vacation Home,Dining Room with Recycled Wood Ceiling in Los Angeles,california,usa,eagle rock
Dining Room with Recycled Wood Ceiling in Los Angeles: Photo on Flickr by Jeremy Levine / CC BY 2.0

Use a smart thermostat

In order to achieve the best energy efficiency and comfort of your vacation home; you need to have a way to control the indoor temperature in hot summer and cold winter months. The best option would be if you could do it remotely before you arrive; so you don’t have to spend your first hours upon arrival heating up or cooling down the place. That’s where the smart thermostat comes in.

A smart thermostat offers the option of seven day programming; so you can adjust the heat and air conditioning to turn on and off when you desire. Remote control options let you track the system when you’re not at the house; and regulate it when your guests leave, as they often forget to turn the system off.

Along with your heating/cooling system, pay attention to your water heater as well. Most of them are preset to 140F, but for maximum efficiency, it’s recommended you reduce it to 120F. It will save money in standby heat losses, decrease mineral build-up and pipe corrosion, which means the water heater itself will last longer.

When your vacation is over and you have no plans of returning for several months, it’s best you turn it off completely and shut off the water supply valves in order to prevent any energy loss or water damage from burst piping.

What Makes for a Truly Energy Efficient Vacation Home,solar power,germany
Solar Power in Germany: Photo on Flickr by Jimmy Baikovicius / CC BY-SA 2.0

Serious upgrades

It’s never a bad decision to bring your tool box with you and check the house for small cracks and leaks. It’s fast and inexpensive to seal gaps around pipes, vents, windows and chimney with caulk.

An even better solution is to consider more serious upgrades and retrofits such as additional insulation, double-glazed windows, storm doors and even solar panels. It might sounds quite expensive initially, but if you combine several upgrades, you can be eligible for PACE financing. Affordable energy improvement financing options like these are an easy and cost effective way to finance a wide range of upgrades. It requires no upfront payment, it’s added through your property tax and paid over a longer period of time.

What Makes for a Truly Energy Efficient Vacation Home,Thermal Mass Wall and Shade Panels, Los Angeles,california,usa,eagle rock
Thermal Mass Wall and Shade Panels, Los Angeles: Photo on Flickr by Jeremy Levine / CC BY 2.0

Switch to more efficient lighting

For security reasons, many vacation homeowners prefer to leave the lights on when they’re not in, but that also means higher energy consumption. If you have traditional incandescent lights, your electricity bill will skyrocket. With a small investment in halogen bulbs and LED lighting, you’ll have one worry less. These types of bulbs have a lifespan that’s 25 times longer than traditional lights and consume up to 80% less energy.

Don’t waste energy

A lot of household appliances are actually energy vampires that waste energy even when powered down. Before you leave your vacation home, make sure you unplug all devices, even the smallest ones, such as the coffee maker, toaster and lamps.

If this is too tedious and time consuming, you have the option of a smart power strip that even has remote controlling options so you can switch off all devices at once after you’ve left. The biggest contributor to power bills in vacation homes is wasted energy, so it pays off to inspect the home and implement these energy saving upgrades.

There are various options to choose from to convert your holiday home into an energy-saving system. Start with practical improvements and energy saving habits, implement affordable retrofits and upgrades and you’ll definitely see positive changes both in your energy bills and overall comfort.

About Lillian Connors

Lillian is an avid traveler and a passionate writer within this niche. She enjoys sharing her insights with others sharing a travel bug.

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