How to Set Your HVAC System for “Vacation Mode”

Summer vacations are a necessary break from routine to keep us refreshed and recharged. But we’re not the only ones that need the time to recharge—your getaway is also an opportunity to give your HVAC system a bit of a break. The following tips for giving your HVAC system some much-needed R&R while you’re out of town will help you save money on energy costs and improve your system’s performance in the long run.

Raise the thermostat – Since you’re not there to appreciate it, there’s no reason why your home needs to remain at a comfortable 72 degrees while you’re off soaking up the sun somewhere else. Setting your thermostat as high as 80-85 degrees will save on energy costs while still keeping humidity levels low and allowing air to circulate through your home.

Close curtains and blinds – Blocking the entry of sunlight into your home will keep your home drastically cooler rather than making your air conditioner work harder to compensate for those hot summer rays. Keeping your curtains and blinds drawn while you’re away also improves security. Would-be thieves are unable to scope out your valuables through first-floor windows.

Lower the temp on your hot water heater – Again, since you won’t be home to benefit from hot water, changing your hot water heater to a lower temperature setting while you’re away will minimize unnecessary energy usage and contribute to cost-savings.

Unplug electrical devices – Nonessential devices that don’t need to remain plugged in while you’re away include your TVs, coffee maker, lamps, and any other device that won’t be “in use” when the house is empty (an exception being your refrigerator). These devices consume what’s called standby power while they’re plugged in, even if they’re not actively in use. Standby power can account for up to 10% of your energy bill! Before you unplug on vacation, make sure you unplug these energy-draining devices.

Surge protection – A surge protector is a smart idea even when you’re home, but is especially important when you’re out of town. Severe storms are not uncommon during the summer, and a sudden power surge caused by a lightning strike has the potential to damage your entire HVAC system and any plugged-in devices (another good reason to unplug!). Installing a whole house surge protector is an important security measure to prevent costly damage to your system.

General inspection – Even if you’re only going out of town for a few days, it wouldn’t hurt to have an HVAC professional perform a routine inspection before you go, just to rule out any potential problems brewing that could erupt while you’re gone. A burst pipe, for example, can do a startling amount of damage in mere hours, let alone in the few days it might go undiscovered until you get home.

For more advice on how to prepare your HVAC system for summer trips or to schedule a whole house surge protector installation, contact Bonfe today.

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