If you’re planning on taking a vacation, there are a few steps you should take before leaving to ensure your home will be fine while you’re away. This is true whether you’ll be gone for a few days or a few weeks. Setting your water heater to vacation mode is definitely something you should do if you’ll be gone for more than a day or two, as it prevents energy waste by ensuring the unit isn’t constantly heating while you’re away. You should also take all of the following steps to prepare your HVAC system before you leave.
Leave Your HVAC System On and Adjust Your Thermostat
No matter what time of the year your vacation is, you should always leave your HVAC system turned on when you’re away. You’ll obviously want to have your heating turned on during the colder parts of the year and leave your AC running during the hotter summer months.
If you don’t leave your heating on during the winter, the temperature inside your home could quickly get cold enough for your pipes to freeze. The temperature inside your home doesn’t even need to drop below freezing for ice to form in your pipes. Pipes can often freeze when the temperature inside drops below 55 degrees since the water temperature in your pipes is often only a few degrees above freezing in the winter.
In the summer, the bigger issue is indoor humidity. If you don’t leave your AC on, the temperature will quickly rise, and this will also result in much higher indoor humidity. Even if you’re only gone for a few days, the humidity level could easily get high enough to create major issues with mold, mildew, and water damage. To prevent this, you should make sure that the temperature never rises above 85 degrees.
While you should always leave your HVAC on when you’re away, you should still adjust the temperature so that the system isn’t constantly running. If no people or pets will be at the house when you’re away, there is really no point in keeping your home as hot or cool as you would normally. All this will do is waste energy.
Turning your thermostat up or down will help save money on energy costs while you’re gone while still ensuring that the temperature remains warm or cool enough to prevent issues with frozen plumbing and high humidity. During the summer months, it is recommended that you set your thermostat to 80 degrees any time you will be away for more than a day or two.
In the winter, you should leave your thermostat set to 60 degrees. You should also make sure to open up the cabinets underneath your sinks as this will help to circulate warm air and prevent pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes aren’t usually a major issue in Georgia. Still, there is always the chance of an extreme cold snap occurring while you’re away, which is why you should always be prepared by leaving the heat on.
Make Sure All of Your Vents Are Open and Unobstructed
You should also make sure that all of your supply and return vents are open and not clogged or obstructed. If any of the vents are closed, it will reduce the effectiveness and energy efficiency of your cooling or heating system. This will result in higher energy bills and your HVAC system running much more frequently.
If the vents in any room are closed, it will prevent the hot or cold air from flowing into that room. In the summer, this can lead to condensation forming on the walls and create the potential for water damage and mold growth. In the winter, it can result in the room becoming cold enough for any pipes in the wall to freeze.
Close Your Curtains and Window Coverings
It is always a good idea to make sure that you keep all curtains, blinds, and other window coverings closed whenever you’re away. This is not only for security purposes but also because it can reduce the strain on your HVAC system. Keeping your windows covered in the summer prevents sunlight and heat from streaming into the home and raising the temperature. If your windows aren’t covered, this heat gain will cause your air conditioning to need to run more often.
Keeping your curtains and drapes closed during the winter has the opposite effect and will help to keep the cold air out. Window coverings can essentially act as a layer of insulation that helps to trap any cold air leaking in around your windows from penetrating into the room. It also helps to keep all of the hot air from leaking outside. As a result, your furnace won’t need to run as often since the temperature will remain more consistent.
Have Your HVAC System Professionally Maintained
If you want to make sure your HVAC system won’t break down while you’re away, you should schedule a tune-up before you leave. You should have your heating system maintained every fall, and your AC maintained every spring to make sure they are ready once the heat or cold really sets in.
A tune-up includes a full inspection of your entire system and all of its components. This is important as it allows you to know if there are any issues that may need to be repaired. If you neglect to have your HVAC system professionally maintained, it greatly increases the chances of your heating or AC suddenly failing when you’re away. Should this happen, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise when you get back home.
Consider Investing in a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are great for a number of reasons. For starters, they can greatly improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and lower your energy costs. They also offer the convenience of being able to monitor and adjust your HVAC system remotely using the connected app on your phone or tablet. This is always useful, but especially so when you’re going to be gone for an extended period.
With a smart thermostat, you can have the peace of mind that your home’s temperature isn’t too high or low since you can easily check it whenever you want. What’s better, you can remotely return your thermostat to its regular temperature when you’re on your way home, so it’s comfortable the minute you return.
While you’re away, if any issues cause your HVAC system to stop working, a smart thermostat ensures that you will know long before you get home. This way, you can have a friend or family member go check on your house to see why your heating or AC isn’t running. You can then take steps to prevent the temperature from getting too high or too low.
At Gee Heating & Air, we specialize in air conditioning and heating maintenance. Our technicians work on all furnace and AC models and can help ensure your HVAC system is working as it should before you leave for your vacation. If there are any issues, we can also repair your system before you leave. We have more than 30 years of experience in HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair, and we proudly serve customers in Gainesville, GA and other nearby communities. To schedule an HVAC tune-up or any other service, give the experts at Gee Heating & Air a call today.