Do you know what to do with your air conditioner (AC) if you are going on vacation? Here are a few measures to ensure the AC maintains its efficiency and safety when you are away from home.
Don't Turn Off the AC
Turning off the AC is not a good idea, particularly if you will only be gone for a few days. Don't forget that the AC also removes some humidity from the air, and turning it off may raise the humidity levels when you are away. High humidity encourages mold growth and can also damage the house's paint and furnishings.
You shouldn't turn off the AC, but you will also waste energy if you use the usual thermostat settings. You can compromise by raising the temperature so that the AC still runs, but it doesn't have to lower the temperature by a wide margin.
Perform Regular Maintenance before Leaving
If your AC maintenance is coming up soon or you haven't serviced the system for a long time, take care of the maintenance before you leave for vacation. Clean the coils, check the electrical connections, ensure the refrigerant level is optimal, and change the filters if necessary. Pre-departure maintenance reduces the risk that something will go wrong when you are away.
Program the Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, then input the right settings before you leave. This is particularly useful if you are going to be away for an extended period during which the weather might fluctuate. Make sure the warm days, cold days, and nights all have their correct settings. You don't want to waste energy running the AC at normal temperatures when the temperature is not that high.
Close All Window Blinds
Open windows and doors waste energy because they leak cool air outside the house. They also make the AC run longer than normal because it has to cool the extra warm air getting into the house. Your doors and windows are likely to remain closed during the vacation. Take it a step further and close all the window curtains to block sunlight. Allowing sunlight to warm up the house only makes the AC's task harder than usual.
Check the Home Weather Regularly
If you are on an extended vacation, check your home weather regularly to ensure the thermostat is on the right setting depending on the prevailing weather. Maybe you left when the weather was moderate, but then an unexpected storm has lowered the temperatures. In such a case, if you have a smart thermostat, you can switch off the AC to save energy.