If you’re getting ready to head out on an unforgettable vacation, there are likely many things on your to-do list that need to be crossed off before you can leave your San Marcos home. During your preparation, the HVAC professionals at Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning urge you not to forget one of the most important parts of your home: the HVAC system. While it may not be as critical as locking your front door or taking your dog to a boarder, preparing your HVAC system for your time away can still make a big impact on the transition you’ll enjoy when you return home. Here are the top HVAC preparation tips that homeowners miss when they leave for vacation.
Your HVAC System Does More Than You Think
You may think that all your HVAC system does is keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The truth is, though, that your HVAC system serves many more functions that help keep your home comfortable and in good working order. One function your HVAC system serves is to remove humidity from the air. Without humidity removal, your home would be a sticky and uncomfortable place to be. Another important thing your system does is circulate air around your home while filtering the air. This prevents foul odors from collecting in certain areas in your home. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s important to optimize your HVAC before leaving for vacation.
Think Through Temperature Settings
Understanding that your HVAC system is important for dehumidification and air circulation, your temperature settings affect far more than how warm or cool it is in your home. Since these settings determine how often your HVAC system runs, it’s important to think through the settings carefully. Check the weather forecast to determine the expected daily highs. Then, set the thermostat settings a few degrees lower than that to ensure that your HVAC system will cycle while you’re away. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can even set different temperatures for different days to take full advantage of your HVAC system’s capabilities.
Be Ready When You Return
Another great use of a programmable thermostat is to set it so that your system returns to its normal settings right before you come back home. This will ensure that you return to a comfortable home instead of having to wait for your HVAC system to catch up. Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning recommends installing a smart thermostat so that you can change your thermostat settings from anywhere in the world in case you forget to change them before you leave. When you’re setting your thermostat, allow for at least two hours for the system to get the temperature to a comfortable level.
Check Your Air Filter
While you’re away, you want to be sure that your system is operating as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, you want to help minimize the risk that your system will malfunction when you’re not nearby to quickly call Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning for help. To help with both of these matters, it’s important to check your air filter before you head out the door for your vacation. A clean air filter will allow the maximum amount of air to flow through your HVAC system, ensuring that it runs efficiently. Additionally, a clean filter will eliminate excess stress and strain on your system that can cause significant wear and tear. If it’s been more than two weeks since you last changed your filter, be sure to check it if you’re spending a significant amount of time away from home.
Remove Debris Around System
Speaking of preventing breakdowns while you’re away, another task you need to make sure you do is to remove debris from around the indoor and outdoor components of your HVAC system. You’ll likely find the indoor components either in a basement or utility closet. The indoor components include the furnace, blower fan, heat exchanger, and evaporator coil. Leaving clutter around these components can prevent the system from getting enough air, leading to poor system performance. Plus, since certain components generate heat when they operate, leaving any kind of debris around the indoor components presents a fire hazard.
You’ll also want to check the outdoor unit that houses the compressor for the air conditioner. Remove any leaves, sticks, animal nests, dead grass, and anything else that’s on or near the unit. This will ensure that the unit can properly shed heat when the air conditioner is operating.
Close Your Curtains
Your vacation can be a great time to reduce your energy usage and enjoy a lower utility bill. To make the most of your time away, you want to be sure that your home stays as comfortable as possible without the need for an HVAC system. One way to do this is to close your curtains tightly before you leave. Closing your curtains will help prevent excess heat energy from entering your home and raising the temperature of the air. This will ensure that your air conditioner only runs as often as necessary, significantly reducing energy use in the process. Of course, closing your curtains has the added benefit of maintaining privacy while you’re away.
Consider a Dehumidifier
Assuming that you’re able to leave your thermostat set at a higher temperature, your air conditioner won’t be running as often as it would when you’re home. One downside of this is that you won’t get the dehumidifying benefits of your air conditioner. To make up for this, Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning highly recommends running a dehumidifier while you’re away. You can set the dehumidifier to only turn on when the humidity rises above a certain level, so you don’t have to worry about wasting energy. Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning can install a whole-home dehumidifier if you’d prefer so that your entire home can stay dry and mold-free when your air conditioner isn’t operating.
Set Up Alerts
A malfunctioning HVAC system can cause multiple problems while you’re away. To prevent these problems from getting out of hand, you may want to consider installing sensors on key components of your HVAC system to inform you if something goes wrong. A smart thermostat can give you real-time information on whether or not your HVAC system is operating. Some newer air conditioners and furnaces can also provide real-time status updates to allow you to perform remote troubleshooting. Additionally, if your air conditioner condensate line runs to your home’s sump well, it’s a good idea to install a water leak sensor in case the sump pump stops working, and the sump well overflows.
Your HVAC Specialists
At Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning, we can help you optimize your HVAC system whether you’re at home or on vacation. We can install air conditioners, repair furnaces, and perform HVAC maintenance. Plus, we can install dehumidifiers, whole-house fans, smart thermostats, air purification equipment, and much more. For over 20 years, we’ve been working hard to exceed our customers’ expectations with professional service and integrity. That’s why we continually receive five-star customer reviews and maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. To learn more ways to optimize your HVAC system for vacation operation, contact us at Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning today.