From Madison Gas and Electric
No matter when you're planning on taking a vacation, you don't want to be worrying about whether everything is
okay at home. Here are some steps to keep your home safe while you're gone.
If possible, have someone check your home. A water leak, failed heating system, or frozen pipes can be costly.
Any Time of Year
• Set gas water heaters to "pilot." Turn off electric water heaters at the breaker or fuse box.
• Refrigerators typically cost between $4 and $15 per month to run. Madison Gas and Electric Company (MGE)
doesn't recommend unplugging refrigerators during humid summer months because mold may grow. If you
choose to unplug your refrigerator, clean it out and wedge the doors open to prevent mold growth. Make sure a
child or pet can't get trapped inside.
• Unplug all electrical appliances except those that must remain on. Keep in mind you may need to reset clocks
when you return. Unplugging devices protects them from damage in the event of a lightning strike and
eliminates any standby power consumption.
Preventing Water Damage
Call your water utility for advice. The Madison Water Utility telephone number is 266-4661. The main shut-off
valve for your home is normally near the water meter indoors. If you have hot water or steam heat, talk with your
heating contractor before shutting off all water to the house.
• If you shut off the main valve, open the kitchen sink faucets to drain the pipes.
• Unplug the water softener so it won't regenerate.
• If you do not shut off the main valve, shut off individual water supplies to the washer, refrigerator (if it has an
ice maker or water dispenser), water heater, etc. Shut off the ice maker if the water supply is shut off.
• Turn off air conditioners.
• Set the thermostat to a lower temperature, but be careful not to freeze pipes. 55°F is generally considered safe.
However, some homes have problems with freezing pipes even at 72°F, while some well-insulated homes have
no problems at thermostat settings lower than 55°F. Some furnace manufacturers require temperatures no lower
than 60°F. Check the owner's manual. If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure it's holding a constant
temperature and not running its programmed settings.
• Open cabinet doors below sinks to keep water pipes warmer.
• Freeze alarms can be purchased. Some alarms dial a phone number you select. Others simply turn on a lamp to
alert a neighbor.
• Close the damper and glass doors on fireplaces.
• Close and lock windows and doors.
MGE doesn't recommend shutting off the heat entirely if outdoor temperatures will be below freezing. If you choose
to do so, call your water utility or a plumber first.
For more information, call MGE's Home Energy Line at 252-7117 or visit mge.com.
Things to do before your trip