Don't Forget About Your Home's AC System When You Travel This Summer
Whether you’re taking the kids to Grandma’s for the night or headed out for a weeklong European cruise, don’t forget about your air conditioner while you’re away. Though this appliance is used to being overlooked, neglecting it while you’re out of town could leave you with an unnecessarily high-energy bill upon your return.
Save your money for a night on the town. Give your air conditioner the send-off it deserves.
Dirty air filters result in greater inefficiency.
Dirt destroys air conditioner efficiency. Change your air filter before you leave, and consider scheduling your annual professional cleaning and service before your trip if you haven’t already done so.
Make sure you shut it.
Properly close all doors and windows, as well as blinds, curtains and storm shutters. These are no-brainers for security but can easily rob you of energy if overlooked. Prevent energy waste and save money by ensuring your home is properly closed, sealed and shaded from the sun in your absence.
Reduce your heating and cooling load by disconnecting electronics and appliances while you are away. Even items that aren’t in use can generate heat, making your air conditioner work harder. Going away for a long time? Consider cleaning out and unplugging your refrigerator and freezer as well.
Consider investing in a programmable thermostat.
Don’t want to come home to a stifling house? Let your thermostat do the work for you. A programmable thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on your pre-programmed schedule and settings. Want on-the-fly control? Opt for a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat for just a couple extra bucks to monitor and adjust setting from any mobile device.
Consider how long you will be gone when adjusting air conditioner settings
Even when you aren’t away on vacation but simply out of the house, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends adjusting temperature settings on your thermostat to save energy. How much? In the summer when your home is not in use, a setting of 85 degrees, or about 10-15 degrees cooler than your preferred in-home temperature, is recommended.
Leaving on an extended stay?
Turn off your air conditioner before you go. Turning your air conditioner off while you’re away for extended periods doesn’t make it work harder when you return. It saves you energy and money. Why? Air conditioners are more efficient and offer better dehumidification at full speed. Cycling on and off and running for shorter periods at lower speeds to maintain temperature in an empty house will actually use more energy.
Merely a weekend visit?
For overnight stays or weekends away, split the difference between the recommended 85 degrees and your usual temperature. For instance, if you usual run temps in the low 70s, bump it to 80 when you leave.
When it’s 90 outside, the interior of your home could easily reach triple digits and soaring humidity levels. If you live in the deep south or other areas where heat and humidity are an issue, you may want to forego turning off your system entirely in favor of maintaining an 85 degree temperature in order to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. An 85-degree setting should also preserve temperature sensitive items such as artwork and wine as well.
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