This Fourth of July, Unplug and Save During Your Vacation

Unused appliances can add about $100 to your electricity bill each year.

July 02, 2013 | By Nancy Rodriguez Casanova

If you are one of the five million Californians who have travel plans this Fourth of July holiday, don’t spend more money than you need to on wasted energy costs, especially for appliances you won’t be using while you’re away.

There are some appliances and electrical devices like computers and coffee makers that drain electricity even when they're not being used.

The average U.S. household spends about $100 per year to power devices while they are off or in standby mode, and adds up to $10 billion in energy costs annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Before you leave for your big trip this Fourth of July, take a few minutes to follow these simple steps so you can save money and energy while you enjoy your summer break.

Southern California Edison (SCE) has a few tips:

  • Remember to unplug. Devices like cell phone chargers, computers, printers, coffee makers, and battery-powered tools like a rechargeable toothbrush, account for about 20 percent of your electrical use.
  • SCE recommends customers turn off their power strips, use outlet timers or simply unplug their devices while on vacation.
  • Check and clean the coils on the back or bottom front of your refrigerator. Dirty coils can make it work harder than necessary.
  • Use a timer to run pool filtering and sweeping during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6 p.m.)
  • Shut off automatic settings in your AC system to help save.

If your family is planning a staycation, SCE reminds you to:

  • Give your appliances a break and use your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer and other appliances after 6 p.m.
  • At night, when it's practical to do so, use electric fans and open windows instead of air conditioning.
  • Set your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Close your drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight during hot periods.
  • Avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running.
  • Operate your swimming pool and energy-intensive appliances only during early morning and evening hours.
  • Limit the opening and reopening of refrigerators.
  • Keep your home cooler when cooking by grilling outdoors or using the microwave.

For more energy savings tips, visit

Topics: Customer Service