3 ways to cut your electric bill while you’re away from home over the holidays

The holiday season is a busy time for travel. And as temperatures drop and the demand for energy rises, it’s also a time when many families see a spike in electric bills.

There are some ways you can cut costs while you’re away from home, whether it be for a short day trip or weeklong getaway. From resetting your thermostat to double-checking your appliances, here are some tips from Duke Energy to help save energy during vacations.

1. Program your thermostat

“If your home will be unoccupied, setting your thermostat at a higher or lower temperature than usual will be among the biggest energy savers,” a Duke Energy blog post says. “A change of just 3 degrees for 24 hours a day can save 30 percent on your heating costs.”

If you have a programmable thermostat, you should turn it to “vacation” mode while you’re away. But for manual units, consider turning its fans to “auto” blow or completely off if the weather isn’t too extreme.

[RELATED: What’s the best thermostat setting to stay warm and save money this fall and winter?]

2. Keep window coverings closed

According to Duke Energy, about 30% of a home’s energy is lost through windows.

So if you’re out of town, you could cut costs by keeping windows covered with closed blinds, shades or curtains to maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

3. Turn off fans, lights, electronics and appliances

Turning off unnecessary electronics (including lights and fans) is one of the biggest ways to save energy in your home, especially when you’re gone for an extended period of time.

Electrical appliances take up about 10% of an energy bill, even when turned off, so turning off or unplugging anything that won’t be used while you’re away can be beneficial.

Bonus tips: Cutting off your water heater while on vacation and keeping your fridge partly full can save energy.

You can find more information about how to save on your energy from Duke Energy online at duke-energy.com.