Vacation & Seasonal Use FAQs

Are fireplaces good energy savers?

Not really. In most fireplaces all the energy (heat) from the burning wood, plus some of the home’s other heat, is lost up the chimney. Open fireplaces act as a vent to the outside of your home. Therefore, even when the fireplace is not in use heat can escape through the chimney if the damper is not tightly closed.

Can I install my own emergency generator?

The National Electric Code (NEC), Article 700-6 and Article 230-83, requires that for safety reasons a “double-pole, double-throw transfer switch be installed.” It is SVEC’s recommendation that the transfer switch be installed by a licensed electrician for safety reasons as well as for proper application.

Can I eliminate electricity usage when my house is vacant?

If you are determined to use no electricity during your vacation, turn off the main breaker in your home. But remember, when you do this the automatic appliances and lighting will stop. Your refrigerator and freezer will defrost, your water heater will not have hot water ready for use upon your return, and your home may experience freezing problems or be very cold when you return.

How much will my refrigerator or freezer use when I’m gone?

If refrigerators and freezers are not emptied and turned off while you are away they will continue to operate in order to maintain preset temperatures. Other electrical appliances like clocks, security lights, water heaters and televisions with an “instant-on” feature will continue to use electricity if they are not unplugged or shut off at the panel box.

Will my electric hot water heater use electricity when I’m away?

If you have an electric water heater it will use less electricity when you are away than if you were home using hot water. If an electric water heater is left energized during your vacation it will continue to maintain the tank temperature, even if you’re not using hot water.

Heat is lost through the insulation and copper pipes that come out of the top. If you are going to be away for more than a few days, you might want to consider turning your water heater off at the panel box.