Begin winter break by powering down your campus space
2:28 p.m., Dec. 13, 2011--As you leave your residence hall room, office, studio or lab this winter break, be sure to power down safely and properly to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.
The simplest tasks are to switch off your power strips or turn off computers, printers, photocopiers, lab equipment and, of course, lights. Make sure that blinds or shades are pulled down, and if you control the heat, reduce the demand while the building is not in use. Heating, however, should not be turned off, as this could result in frozen pipes or other mishaps.
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If your residence hall room or office has a refrigerator, now is the time to properly defrost the freezer so that the unit can be left unplugged for the duration of the break. To prevent a watery mess, be sure to give yourself ample time to defrost the freezer before you leave.
Instructions can be found from a variety of online sources, but the key steps are to remove all food, drawers and shelves, turn the refrigerator off and open the door(s) to allow warm air into the unit. Thick towels or many layers of newspaper will need to be periodically replaced as any ice that has built up melts. Boiled water can be used to speed up the process, but defrosting can take six to 12 hours.
Once the unit is defrosted, it should be cleaned with soap and water and allowed to dry to prevent mold and mildew.