Appliance expert reveals the 3 'vampire devices' you should unplug before going on vacation

 A green kitchen with a range of appliances .
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Before we jet off on our vacation or ‘staycation’, there are always the final, pre-vacation checks to do. And while the first thing is to check our home security systems, we often forget the less obvious.

According to experts, certain household appliances should always be unplugged before going on vacation. These continue to use power even when turned off, and are typically known as "vampire devices" or "phantom power". Not only can this help to lower your energy bills this summer, but will protect your home from the risk of an electrical fire.

So what kitchen appliances should be unplugged before going on vacation? We asked an expert to reveal all.

If you regularly use your coffee maker to make your daily cup of Joe, you probably won’t even consider plugging this out (ever!). However, before you leave for vacation, you must unplug your machine.

In addition, some coffee makers and microwaves feature a digital clock, which will still use while not in use, so it’s fine to unplug and just reset when you get back. The same goes for other small appliances such as electric kettles and toaster ovens.

“Smaller countertop appliances such as kettles, microwaves and coffee machines should always be switched off before a vacation —at the plug.” states Ian Palmer-Smith, appliance repair expert at Domestic & General.

“These appliances continue to use power even when turned off and are sometimes referred to as ‘vampire devices.”

What’s more, this will also help to reduce your carbon footprint, and be more energy-efficient.

Large appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers should also be unplugged before going on vacation. “Appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers use a lot of energy due to their need for water,” says Palmer-Smith. “They use more energy than others on standby as they need to be ready to heat water instantly, on demand.”

In fact, experts suggest turning off your water supply if possible. “Returning home to water damage is a common concern for homeowners and so the easiest way to avoid this risk is to switch off your water supply temporarily. This step is often overlooked but is worthwhile, especially if you’re going to be away from home for longer periods of time. To do this, locate the stopcock - usually in the cupboard under the sink and turn it off.”

Whether you have a gas range or electric range, our stoves can still use power even when we’re not cooking up a feast. Experts advise to unplug stoves before going on vacation, to also minimize the risk of electrical faults. “You should turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical appliances, not only to save money but also to reduce the risk of a fire from electrical faults.”

Of course, there are appliances that should never be switched off or unplugged before going on vacation. “Do not switch off or unplug appliances like a fridge/freezer, as they defrost, they leak water which is a potential fire hazard and your food will become unsafe to eat.”

In addition, it’s advisable to deep clean your refrigerator and banish odors before jetting away. Plus, nobody likes coming home to gone-off food or bad smells. “Depending on the length of your trip, I would recommend clearing your fridge of any fresh food to avoid the development of moldy items.

Consider what food could be moved into the fridge freezer instead to avoid unnecessary food waste and wipe down all the surfaces with antibacterial cleaning products. This way you’ll arrive home to a hygienic kitchen, ready to fill your fridge with fresh food.”

So, don’t forget to add ‘unplug appliances’ to your pre-vacation checklist before leaving for your destination this summer!