If you are like many Americans, you will be spending some time away to relax and have fun during your summer vacation. Spending time away from home is ideal for unwinding, but you should prepare your home for this time apart. As much as half of your home's total energy usage stems from heating and cooling, so ensuring your system is prepared for the time you will be away can conserve energy and save you money. Before you depart for your vacation, use these tips to prepare your home's cooling system.
Off or On?
One of the most common questions homeowners face is whether it is best to turn the air conditioner off or leave it on or off while they are on vacation. The answer to this question varies on a few factors.
To save the most energy, it is best to turn the system off completely, but you should also take into consideration the number of days and nights you will be away from home.
If you will be gone from the home for multiple days, a week, or longer, turn your system off completely. There is no need for your home to be cool while you are away for this extended period of time.
If you are only going to be away for a couple of days, consider leaving your air conditioner on, but setting it to a higher temperature. This will ensure your system does not continue cooling the home while you are away.
To set your AC while on vacation, you will need a programmable thermostat. Set the thermostat to a temperature that is a few degrees higher than your usual temperature. A programmable thermostat is also a smart investment for conserving energy while you are home.
Close Window Treatments
A large amount of heat will seep into your home through your windows during the summer. In addition, the ultraviolet rays from the sun can warm your home while fading paint and furniture.
Before you leave for vacation, close all of your window treatments to block the heat and UV rays. Pull drapes closed, lower your blinds and shades, and shut shutters on your windows to keep your home insulated while your AC is not running. This will prevent you from coming home to a hot and humid house after vacation.
If your system's filters are clogged with dirt and dust, air will not be able to flow into your home. Therefore, it is important to clean or replace filters if your system will be on while you are away for a short vacation.
Locate the filters in your wall or ceiling grills. Remove the grills and use a vacuum attachment to suction out visible dirt and debris from around the filter's opening. Replace disposable filters with a new one or wash your reusable filter in a tub filled with warm water.
Most professionals recommend changing your filters every few months. However, if you struggle with allergies, changing your filter monthly is best.
Install Surge Protector
Thunderstorms that include heavy rain, hail, and lightning are common during the summer season. You may not worry too much about storms at home while on vacation, but your HVAC systems could be severely damaged if struck by lightning. Fortunately, you can prevent damaging lightning strikes with a whole-home surge protector.
A lightning strike can cause enormous damage to your home's entire electrical system. Not only can it fry circuits that power your televisions and computers, but it can also affect your heating and cooling system. A surge protector will prevent this severe damage to your home, ensuring you come home without the worry of expensive repairs and costly replacements.
Vacations are meant to be fun and carefree, but you must prepare the home before leaving. With these tips and your contractor's help, you do not need to worry about your air conditioner while away this summer.