Smart Vacation Tips

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Out of town for Memorial Day Weekend?

Watt Integration has a few tips before you go.

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Summer is almost upon us, like it or not, with astronomical utility bills, outdoor entertaining, and planning for that summer trip. While this is very likely not your first summer in the Valley, it doesn’t hurt to recall some good ideas for your comfort, peace of mind and your return.

BEFORE YOU GO

Think about conditions here while you’ll be enjoying cooler surroundings. Set your thermostat or your smart house system for around 78 degrees. You may not use that setting while you’re home, but it avoids the double problem of too low a setting costing you money for air-conditioning you’re not there to enjoy and too high a setting putting extra strain on your AC as well as things which depend on moderate temps to function properly, such as your refrigerator. You don’t want to come home to find the refrigerator has taken a vacation too.

Other energy leeches include charging devices and devices left on standby instead of full-off. They may look like insignificant energy consumers, but they work at it 24/7 and that adds up. Unplug chargers and completely turn off electronics which are on standby.

Avoid your home’s being marked as unoccupied by notifying the post office to hold your mail until your return, or ask a neighbor to pick up your mail every day. Your neighbor can also remove those annoying fliers which magically appear on your door, advertising your absence to passersby.

With “smart” homes you can access and control your security system and monitor home security cameras from your mobile device wherever you are. If you have those functions make sure your system is ready and set up for duty before you go. If you have a smart house or interactive security system think ahead about how you want your home to look while you’re away: plan a schedule for indoor and outdoor lighting to turn on and off, varying the times if possible. If you have automated shades, set them to raise and lower at preselected times.

If your home is isolated or not on a frequently traveled street, ask your local police precinct for occasional patrols of the street. Most precincts in the valley will perform this helpful service. While it may sound obvious but remember to check that ALL doors and windows are secure, and set your alarm.

While you may love social media it’s not a good idea to let everyone know exactly when you’ll be out of town. Keep those communications private and limited.

STAYING HERE?

For those of us who take “staycations” entertaining in desert heat can be problematic. Plan a hot-weather meal or snack menu featuring lighter foods and a variety of cooling beverages or have a pot-luck with cold dishes and salads. While pool parties are a Valley standard, nothing says you can’t just hang out on your patio with a few friends, a mister and some nice background music. Water-resistant outdoor speakers are great for poolside entertaining, and can stream music wirelessly from your Sonos music system, and there are waterproof flat-panel TVs for patio game- or concert-viewing. If you’re old-school and plan to barbecue or grill, try a different spiced or sauce combination, such as Kansas City’s venerable Original Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue Sauce, sugar- and syrup-free and now available online. http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com/

And above all, stay cool, relax and have fun!

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Watt Integration would like to thank all those who have served.

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