These are the appliances you should always turn off properly before a holiday - and the important reason why

It's an easy thing to check off your pre-getaway to-do list

blue kitchen island with floral wallpaper
(Image credit: Future)

The days before a holiday involve all sorts of preparation at home. For example, most of us like to leave the house spick and span before leaving, so a deep clean is always in order, as are multiple loads of laundry, and the all-important safety checks, such as testing our home security systems.

And something many of us are likely do on top of this, is turning off all of our electrical appliances – because the last thing we want is to leave something on during our week away, using up needless electricity.

But interestingly, there are some household appliances that it is absolutely vital to turn off before going on holiday. And not only that, but it turns out that simply turning them off on your remote, or on the display, isn’t actually sufficient enough to reap the energy-saving benefits, either…

The appliances to turn off before a holiday – and how to turn them off properly

It’s unlikely that you’re leaving your hair straightener or hair dryer on before you head out of the door for a week or two. But there are a few household appliances that you may be tempted to leave on during your time away that you absolutely shouldn't, according to Ian Palmer-Smith, appliance expert at Domestic & General.

He explains that leaving certain appliances on at the plug is likely to suck up some electricity; which is the last thing any of us want during a cost of living crisis.

And that’s not all. More often than not, it's necessary to unplug these items too, for the maximum energy saving benefits.

'Some think that simply turning these appliances off is sufficient, but there are many electrical products that continue to use power when left plugged in; these are often called "vampire devices".'

Monochrome open-plan kitchen diner with black cabinetry, patterned floor and peninsula with open storage

(Image credit: Future PLC)

So which appliances should we make sure to unplug completely – rather than leave on standby – when going on holiday? 

'The most common vampire devices found in homes are washing machines, dishwashers, tumble dryers, TVs and microwaves,' says Ian. 'Computer monitors, printers, coffee machines and kettles are also energy-sucking.'

So why are these appliances particularly costly to leave on?

'Appliances that need to heat water use a lot of energy – which is why dishwashers, washing machines and kettles score so highly on energy consumption. They use more energy than others on standby as they need to be ready to heat water instantly, on demand,' explains Ian.

kitchen with white wall tiles, a wooden countertop and wooden shelf, dark grey cabinets and a silver kettle

(Image credit: Future PLC/JAMES FRENCH)

These appliances should be unplugged entirely, or at least switched off at the plug, because only turning them off via remote or on their display will still use up electricity.

'Any appliance that’s still switched on or that stays plugged into a live socket, is using an electric current,' Ian clarifies. 

'Even in sleep or standby modes, some items continue to use energy for updates, connecting to remote servers, and recording data. The only way to ensure you’re not using any energy is to turn it off at the plug – or pull it out.'

That being said, there are a couple of household appliances that should never be turned off when you're heading on an extended trip away from home – despite them using up a lot of electricity.

washing machine in kitchen area

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'Whilst fridge freezers contribute around 12% to a household energy bill, you shouldn’t turn off or unplug this before a holiday, as this will cause the fridge to defrost and also potentially result in a smelly kitchen,' warns Ian.

The same applies to TV boxes, where unplugging could prove to a bit of an inconvenience when you return home.

'If you’ve set your TV to record your favourite shows while you’re away, turning your TV off won’t affect your recorded programmes. However, turning your Sky box off at the mains will – so be sure to leave that turned on.'


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine