October 23, 2018 How to Prepare Your HVAC Systems Before a Vacation There’s so much to do before heading on vacation. You have to figure out the best way to get there, make a list of things you might need, pack your bags, get your bills in order… It’s a lot to handle. What you should do with your HVAC system before you leave may never even cross your mind! Contrary to common belief, there’s a few more things you should do besides just “turning the heat and AC off.” (By the way, don’t let anyone tell you that that’s a good idea). But don’t get stressed, preparing your HVAC unit before a vacation isn’t hard; just consider the following. Get a Check Up Having a professional HVAC technician do a routine maintenance check on your system is the easiest way to ensure everything will be running as it should when you return. Small problems that go unfixed only get bigger (and more expensive) the longer you leave them. The tech will make sure your coils are clean, refrigerant levels are good, electrical components are functional, and the air filter isn’t clogged. It’s also beneficial to have a professional give you advice on how to otherwise prepare your home before going away. Clean Up Giving your home a good vacuuming will lower the chances of dust and other debris from clogging up your filter or re-circulating through your HVAC system and causing other issues. You’ll also want to make sure to clean up outside as well, as leaves, sticks, excessive dirt, or other debris can obstruct or clog your outside unit. Clogged vents can put a lot of stress on your unit and cause more wear and tear on the device. Plus, coming home to a tidy home is always nice. Close All of Your Windows and Curtains Not only does this prevent bugs, random animals, or burglars from getting into your home, but it also ensures that your AC will work more efficiently. Contrariwise, if you’re traveling in the winter, it will ensure you aren’t letting all of the heat escape, causing frozen pipes or a seriously high energy bill. Get the Temperature Right Although the exact temperature will vary depending on where you live, and when you’re going on vacation, you’re going to want to either raise or lower your thermostat by 5 degrees. If you’re traveling in the summer, you’ll want to set your thermostat 5 degrees higher than usual (around 85 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended). You’ll also want to keep your HVAC unit on. Setting your thermostat higher will save you on bills, and keeping the AC running will keep your home from getting too hot (the kind of hot that comes with excessive humidity and can be damaging to wooden floors or furniture). If you’re traveling in the winter, you’ll want to set your thermostat 5 degrees lower than usual. Do not turn the heat completely off. This could result in frozen pipes and a series of problems you don’t want to deal with. Block Out the Sun Before leaving, make sure that the sun doesn’t shine directly on your unit’s thermostat. This could trick your system into thinking it’s hotter in your home than it actually is, and result in wasted energy. A good way to do this, and something you should do anyways, is to close your curtains. Closing curtains and blinds will help keep sunlight out, lowering the temperature in your home, and thus reducing how hard your unit has to work. Open All Vents HVAC systems are designed to work most efficiently with the most airflow possible. Making sure all of your vents are opened, and that nothing is blocking them, will ensure your unit is working as efficiently as possible. Check Your Air Filter Dirty or clogged filters mean your system needs to work harder than usual to do the same job. Not only is this inefficient and potentially harmful to other parts of your system, but it also wastes a lot of electricity (causing you to waste a lot of money). Invest in Surge Protectors Power outages and power surges can do massive amounts of damage to your HVAC unit and any other electronics you may have plugged in. Heating and cooling systems are an investment, so protecting them to make sure they last a long time is important. Having surge protectors installed is an effective and inexpensive way to keep your system from being damaged by any unexpected electrical issues.