Winter is a season for getaways. Some people may make a seasonal move to warmer climates, while others may just take long weekends to enjoy winter sports. If your winter plans include time away from home, you may want to plan ahead and find simple ways to save money on your home while you’re away from it.
Here are some ways to manage your home finances during a winter getaway.
“Winterize” Your Home
According to an article from MSN Real Estate, making sure your home is ready for winter — or “winterizing” it — can help save significant money. Particularly useful projects, prior to winter travel, include cleaning out gutters, blocking leaks around the house and wrapping any pipes that aren’t insulated. These minor projects can help prevent major water damage that can occur while you’re away from home, saving considerable clean up costs.
Automate Your Heating
According to Nest’s website, setting up a programmed thermostat could save you an average of 20% on heating and cooling bills, which translates roughly to savings of $200 a year. If you’re interested in shopping around, there are other smartphone-operated thermostats including ones from ADT, Comcast, Verizon and Vivint.
You may also want to investigate a set-back thermostat. According to the Consumer Energy Center, set-back thermostats allow you to automatically turn down the heat when you’re away from home, and then boost it back up when you need it.
According to the Energy Commission, it takes less energy to warm a cool house than to maintain a warm temperature all day. Properly using your set-back thermometer could cut your heating costs by 20 to 75 percent.
Before leaving for a winter trip, don’t forget to unplug electronics, like your computer, printer, TV and DVD players. According to U.S. News Money, your devices continue to suck power even when they’re not being used. And these inactive periods can make up 10 to 20 percent of electric bills. Make sure you’re not paying for energy you’re not using while you’re away from your house.
Consider Trading Spaces
If you’re going away this winter and want a unique experience that can also lead to savings, consider a home swap. According to Money Crashers, home swapping can offer a number of benefits like the chance to live like a local while enjoying the amenities of a real house (for example, a kitchen for cooking). Plus, as Money Crashers notes, home swapping is often less expensive than long-term stays at a hotel.
Do you spend time away from home in the winter? What steps do you take to keep your home finances in check while you’re out of the house?