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Should You Flip Your Circuit Breaker Before Vacation?

Male Electrician Repairing Circuit Line 3lu682u

Getting ready to go on vacation can be a lot of work. The day you leave, it might occur to you that you could save some money by unplugging all the appliances. It may even be safer! After all, there will be less chance of an electrical fire. Right? But the thought of unplugging every device seems overwhelming. Why not just flip the switch on your circuit breaker as you head out the door?

There are several reasons why we would advise against that practice, other than in rare cases where you will be gone for several months at a time. Even then, there may be better alternatives. Here’s why.

The Circuit Breaker Itself

Every time you turn your breaker off and on again, it sustains a little damage. Over time, that adds up, and if it becomes too damaged, it can become an electrical hazard. While you will have to flip your breaker occasionally, it is best to avoid this practice whenever you can.

Another reason to avoid turning off your entire system is all of the things that are dependent on electricity that we take for granted. Depending on the time of year you will be away from home, the climate in which you live, and other factors that can often be hard to predict, having no power can lead to problems that will cost far more than what you would save flipping your circuit breaker.

Your Water Heater

Although you won’t need hot water while you are gone, water heaters don’t tolerate fluctuating temperatures well. The metal fittings will contract in the cold and expand in the heat. Over time this can cause them to become permanently too loose or too tight.

Turning off your water heater can also result in frozen (and burst) pipes if the weather turns cold.  

Your Sump Pump

In the rainy season, many homes are at risk for flooding, but thanks to sump pumps, their basements stay dry. If there is no electricity available, there is nothing to prevent you from coming back to a wet basement if the rain becomes heavy.

Home Security Systems

Home security systems are often dependent on electricity. Each system is different, but it is worth looking into how your home security system functions if the electricity was to be out for an extended time.

Your Thermostat

While thermostats are usually battery-operated now, furnaces are often ignited electrically, and your air conditioner certainly needs electricity. Even though you won’t be in your home, other things like plants, cosmetics, candles, and other items that are vulnerable to extreme heat or cold, will be. 

What is the Solution?

The night before you leave, unplug everything that you can live without for the night. Then, the morning of your trip, unplug the rest of your appliances. Keep the essentials plugged in, and have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and check in on things every couple of days.

If you need a commercial or industrial electrician, Landmark Electric is your trusted expert. Contact us today.