Before you hit the road this summer for a little rest and relaxation, follow these five simple steps to cut energy costs and have peace of mind while you’re away from home.

1. Lower the water heater setting. If you’ll be gone for several days, turn your water heater to the lowest setting or use the vacation mode, if it has one. Otherwise, you’ll be paying to heat water that no one will use while you’re gone.

2. Turn off your air conditioner or raise your thermostat setting to approximately 80 degrees or higher. Why cool an empty house? If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to vacation mode. It will conserve energy while you are away and automatically adjust your setting shortly before you return.

3. Your refrigerator is one of the biggest energy users in your home. You can save money by adjusting the thermostat on your fridge to a higher setting. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 40 degrees is cold enough to keep your food safe.

4. Common appliances and electronics are known energy hogs even when they are turned off. Digital displays on a stereo system, cable box or microwave and devices that wait in standby mode continue to use energy whether you are home or not. Unplug all electronic devices before you leave or use a power strip and flip the switch.

5. Be sure to close your blinds and curtains to block out heat from the sun.

Now that you’ve checked these off your list, we wish you safe travels and a happy summer!