With school about to end and summer break around the corner, this is the perfect time to plan on a trip out of town for a few weeks. A vacation will give everyone in the family some time to unwind, relax, and hopefully beat the heat. Planning a trip involves more than just deciding where to go, what to do, and how to get there, though. You also have to make sure that your own house will be secure and safe while you're gone. Part of that involves making sure that your air conditioner is ready for your absence. Here are a few tips for preparing your air conditioner before you go away for summer vacation.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don't already have one, this is good time to install a programmable thermostat in your home. That way, instead of just turning your air conditioner off for the whole time that you're planning to be gone, you can set it to run during the hottest part of the day and turn off completely at night.
Why would you want you air conditioner to run while you're gone, rather than saving money by turning it off completely? There are a few good reasons for that. Running the air conditioner during the hottest part of the day helps protect the items in your home. For example, setting thermostat for 90 degrees will still save you money on your energy bill while you're gone, but it will also prevent the temperature inside your house from climbing high enough to damage your computer and other electronic devices.
Your house plants, decorative candles, and wood floors and furniture will also benefit from allowing the air to run during the day while you're away – too much heat can ruin any of these items. With a programmable thermostat, you'll still be able to save money by keeping the air conditioning system off in the evenings when it's cooler, while protecting your possessions during the day.
Schedule a Tune-Up
The last thing you want is to go to the trouble of setting your air conditioner up to run while you're gone, only to have it break down while you're away. That could be a disaster. Not only could the temperatures climb too high and damage items in your home, you could also arrive home to some pretty bad smells – if the air conditioner malfunctions and you're not there to turn it off, it could overheat and fill your home with an unappealing burnt smell. If the air conditioner leaks, you may end up with mold and the smell that accompanies that.
The simple answer is to schedule an air condition installation and repair technician to give your air conditioner a tune-up before you go. They'll clean out the drain to prevent water backups and leaks, inspect and clean the indoor and outdoor coils to prevent overheating and the smell of burned dust or debris on the coil, and check your refrigerant to ensure that your air conditioner can cool the house as needed.
Maximize Your Efficiency
Aside from leaving the thermostat on a higher temperature than you'd normally use if you were in the house, there are a few other things that you can do to make sure that your unit is running at peak efficiency while you're away. That way, you'll spend as little money as possible on air conditioning energy while you're away on your summer vacation.
Change the air filter first. When you have a new filter in your air conditioner, you can be sure that there's no leftover dust blocking the air conditioner from operating at its highest level. Like having a tune-up before you leave, this also reduces your chances of a breakdown.
Right before you leave, go around the house and make sure that all of the windows are shut tightly and the shades are drawn or the blinds are down. The less light and heat you allow into the house the less work your air conditioner will have to do to keep the temperature stable.
With your home and air conditioner taken care of, you can go away on your summer vacation without a worry. When you come back, your possessions will be safe, your home won't be overly stuffy or smell strange, and you'll still have saved money on your energy bill for the month.