Before you set out to go on vacation, you have to decide what you will do with your air conditioner. Are you setting it on or turning it off?

There is a sweet spot between saving money and ensuring you don’t return home to a sauna or a meat freezer. Here, we will discuss the ideal settings for your home air conditioner when you’re out of time.

When you’re deciding to set your thermostat while on vacation, you should consider your animals that may stay in the house while you are away so they can be comfortable as well.

Consider These Items When Turning Your Air Conditioner Off or Not While on Vacation

The Efficiency of Your Home

To determine whether to turn off your air conditioner or keep it on, consider the efficiency and age of your house. So, if your home is an older one without new and efficient windows or an insulated attic, then you should not turn the air conditioner off because the house could heat up quickly.

However, if your home is new and efficient, having all the efficiency features, you can turn off the air conditioner because your home will stay cooler longer.

Weather Conditions

Weather is an important aspect when deciding to turn your air conditioner on or leave it off while you’re away from home. When the weather is mild, you can safely leave your air conditioner off while on vacation or out for a few days. However, it is best to keep it on if you travel during the hot summer, but put it on a higher setting.

Leaving it on during extra hot days keeps the unit from overcompensating to cool the home when you decide to turn it back on again.

Length of Your Travel

If you are looking to save money while away, turning your air conditioner off can help you conserve energy and save money. However, setting your air conditioner at a higher temperature instead of turning it off is more efficient.

Moreover, leaving the air conditioner off for a prolonged time could damage your home.

Things to Consider Before Turning Your Air Conditioner Off

Your Pets’ comfort

When leaving on vacation, you should leave the thermostat in a comfortable setting if you have a pet staying inside your home. You might also check with your veterinarian what temperature would suit your pets while you are away.

Mold/Mildew Buildup

The air conditioner’s main function is to cool your house. However, its other function is to maintain your house’s proper humidity level.

To properly dehumidify your house, the air conditioner pulls in warm air from areas in your home; then, the coolant coils draw the heat and the moisture from that air.

When turning off your air conditioner, the humidity will increase in your home’s air. When the inside of your home gets hotter, the moisture will remain and grow.

If the humidity in your home reaches 50% humidity or more, mold and mildew will start growing. Unfortunately, mold grows on many surfaces like insulation, wood, carpet, and even food.

Electronics Damage

If the indoor humidity levels exceed 60%, elements inside your home electronics start to break down and rust because most electronics can handle humidity levels from 30–50%.

Structural Damage to Your Home

Your home will experience many issues like warped wood floors, splitting and cracked plaster, peeling paint, and swelled doors and window frames when the indoor air gets hot and humid.

How to Maximize System Efficiency

Here are some easy tips to maximize energy efficiency while protecting your house while you’re away.

Ask a Friend to Check on Your Air Conditioner

When you travel, you might call on a friend or a neighbor to get your mail and tend to your pets daily. Also, ask them to check that your air conditioner is running correctly.

Change the Air Filter

Install a clean filter in your air conditioner before you leave on vacation. A clean filter will help the air conditioner run more efficiently while you are on vacation.

Do a Quick Inspection of the House

Check doors, windows, basements, and attics for drafts and air leaks. Take the time to seal any holes helps you save on your heating and cooling bills —not just when you’re on vacation, but all year long!

Close Your Window Shades

Closing your window shades blocks the sun, keeps your home cooler, reduces your air conditioner load, and maximizes your energy savings while vacationing.

Do Not Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

If you feel you should shut off your air conditioner entirely while on vacation, then here is why you should spend the money to heat or cool your house.

Excessive heat and cold aren’t suitable for your home, especially over extended periods. Major appliances like your refrigerator and freezer will work harder to keep the food cold, costing more energy and money.

What to Set Your Air Conditioner at Before Leaving for Vacation?

If you leave for a short vacation, setting your air conditioner thermostat to about 7 to 10 degrees higher than your typical setting will let it run while saving energy and money.

If you don’t run your air conditioner while away, you will run the risk of straining your air conditioner when it starts working again when you come back from vacation.

Set Your Thermostat to AUTO

Before you leave on vacation, do not set your air conditioner fan to ON or OFF. It is best to put it to AUTO. Set your fan to AUTO, then your air conditioner will only run when the temperature drops below the set point. The setting will conserve energy and save you money.

Find your Sweet Spot: Around +/-8 Degrees

To keep your home comfortable, set your Air conditioner +/-8 degrees from your usual settings. If you have gas, then you can usually go another 1 or 2 degrees higher.

If you typically set your electric thermostat to 72 degrees, you can safely adjust to 80 for the summer months or 64 for the winter. That way, you’ll get the most significant energy efficiency without risking damage to your appliances or houseplants.

It is also a great practice to set your thermostat to 85 degrees to keep your house from getting too hot and maintain the best humidity level. This temperature is warm enough to save you money on your cooling bills.

Consider a Smart Thermostat?

If you look forward to coming home to a comfortable home, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. You can set a programmable thermostat when you go on vacation. You may also set a schedule for the days you are away.

Furthermore, you can confidently set some programmable thermostats from your smartphone or laptop from anywhere.

Final Thoughts

You might get tempted to shut off the air conditioner when you’re out of town, but instead, set your thermostat to about 8 degrees higher than your typical setting during summer and 8 degrees lower during winter months. You’ll maximize your energy efficiency without damaging your home!

To save energy, set your thermostat in the low to mid-80s while you’re away in the warm months or the low to mid-60s in the cold months. If you have a programmable thermostat, then set it to adjust the temperature to your typical setting a day or two before you return home so it can begin to cool or warm up your home for your arrival. If you have a programmable thermostat, utilize the vacation setting for this purpose.

If you have any questions about what to do before leaving on vacation, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced in your San Diego home, contact Tarpy Plumbing, Heating & Air today for more information! We are available 7 days a week for emergency repairs as well as regular maintenance.

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