Many people look forward to getting away from the stress of daily life with a much-deserved vacation. While vacations may be relaxing, there are many things to be considered prior to your departure. Among those things to consider is how you should set your AC prior to leaving.
If you are only going to be away from home for a day or so, you may find that leaving your home’s AC at the usual setting is not a problem. However, if you are going to be gone for longer than a couple of days, it’s typically a good idea to adjust the temperature of your AC to avoid coming home to an issue that could turn out to be quite expensive.
Why You Shouldn’t Shut Off Your AC
It might seem as though it would be a good idea to simply turn off your air conditioner since you won’t be at home anyway. Although this might even seem as though it would be a cost-saving and energy-saving move, you may not want to completely shut off your AC while you are away from home for a few days.
If your home gets too hot, it could lead to some unpleasant consequences and actually end up costing you more money in the long run. The last thing you want is to come home from a fun-filled vacation only to find some nasty surprises.
Many people mistakenly think that air conditioning is only needed to keep a home cool. While that is certainly an important reason for having air conditioning in your home, it is not the only reason. Air conditioning is also responsible for the control of humidity. Your air conditioning system works by pulling warm air from your home. That heat is absorbed by refrigerant coils along with moisture from the air.
Ideally, humidity levels should not be higher than 50%. Once humidity levels rise above 50%, you may experience problems with condensation and other issues, such as:
- Musty odors
- Paint peeling
- Warped wood floors, furniture, etc.
Certainly, no one wants to come home from vacation only to find that their home has suddenly developed a nasty odor or that mold has begun to grow on everything from food and the carpet to the wood and insulation. Keeping your air conditioning running, at least minimally, can help to combat such problems.
You might not realize it, but your appliances are designed to operate in certain temperature ranges. When placed outside such temperature ranges, your home’s appliances experience stress and that stress can lead to a number of problems. For instance, when placed in an overly warm environment, many appliances will begin working overtime. This can lead to such issues as:
- Increased energy bills
- Spoiled food
Damage to Electronics
Most homes today are filled with a variety of electronics, such as televisions, computers, alarm systems, video game systems, and more. All such electronic items contain sensitive circuitry. In high temperatures, the soldering that is intended to hold this circuitry together may begin melting. Ultimately, this can result in fried circuits, cracked screens, and damaged motors.
Physical Damage to Your Home
Excessive temperatures in any direction are not good for your home. While your home might be able to survive temperature extremes in the short term, over a sustained period of time, your home may experience damage when exposed to temperatures that are too hot or too cold. For instance, high levels of heat and humidity can lead to damaged sheetrock or cause paint to peel.
Finding the Right Balance to Set Your AC at Before Going on Vacation
Clearly, simply shutting off your air conditioner when you go on vacation is not a good idea. Yet, at the same time, you probably do not want to leave your AC set to the same temperature that you would have set while you are at home. Therefore, it’s important to find the right balance to avoid potential damage while keeping energy costs low.
Generally speaking, the best course of action is to adjust the temperature of your air conditioning by about five degrees what your normal setting. For example, if you typically set your thermostat to 70 degrees, then you could adjust it to 75 degrees while you are on vacation with no worries. This will give you the flexibility of taking advantage of energy efficiency without worrying that you will come home to damage to your home’s structure, appliances, or electronics.
At the most, however, you should not adjust your thermostat to more than 85 degrees. At a maximum of 85 degrees, you will be able to ensure that your home maintains a safe humidity level without worrying that your home will become too hot.
Setting Your Thermostat to Automatic
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your fan is set to the automatic mode rather than having it set to run continuously. By setting your fan to Auto, your air conditioner will only run when necessary to maintain the temperature at which you have set your thermostat. This gives you the ability to save money and energy.
What If I Have Pets?
If you have pets that will not be traveling with you and will instead remain at home while you are on vacation, the first course of action is to consult your veterinarian regarding the best temperature to protect your pets and ensure their comfort. Depending on the type of pet you have and their individual health considerations, they may require a specific temperature range. If you’re away for a while, you may want to compare the cost of boarding them with the price of keeping your AC on a very cool setting.
Programmable thermostats are a great option for conserving money and energy while you are on vacation without worrying that your home will suffer any type of negative repercussions. With a programmable thermostat, you have the option to set your thermostat to a vacation schedule. Rather than coming home to a temperature that is too warm, you can still come home to a comfortably cool environment. It’s even possible to use your laptop or phone to control some programmable thermostats. This option is ideal if you happen to have someone pet-sitting or house-sitting because you have the flexibility to adjust your thermostat while someone is occupying the home. More sophisticated models even provide the ability to control the temperature for specific zones.
Are you interested in receiving more advice before leaving for your vacation? If so, contact Air Docs of the Treasure Coast for more information about setting the right temperature for your home in Vero Beach or the surrounding area before you leave for vacation or to discuss the benefits of a programmable thermostat. Our team can also schedule an annual AC maintenance visit to ensure your system is operating as it should and help to prevent any issues, such as leaks, while you are away.