A summer vacation can help you reset mentally and fit in some much-needed relaxation. But all of that relaxation will be interrupted if you come home to a sky-high energy bill or an HVAC system that has quit on you completely. Thankfully, you can prevent most issues by taking a few steps to properly prepare your HVAC system prior to your getaway.
Set your thermostat.
Turning the temperature up in your home while you're away will accomplish two things. Of course it will keep your AC bills down, but it will also reduce the wear and tear on your AC unit while you're away, which will reduce the risk of a malfunction. If you live in an area where temperatures aren't brutal and you're not leaving any pets at home, you can probably turn your AC off completely. However, homeowners in hotter areas often prefer to leave their thermostats around 78 or 80 degrees while they're away so that their homes don't become absolutely scorching, causing damage to possessions.
Check for a surge protector.
Your HVAC system should be connected to a surge protector so that if the power goes out or there is a power surge while you're away, your system is not damaged. If you're not sure whether your system is properly connected to a surge protector, contact your electrician. Installing a surge protector for a large appliance like your AC unit is a job that must be completed by a knowledgeable electrician—in many areas this is required by law.
Change the air filter.
A dirty AC filter can cause a number of issues if you leave your AC on while you're away. It can lead to the buildup of debris on your AC cools, causing the unit to freeze over. It can also make your AC unit work harder than necessary, leading to high energy bills. So, change your filter out for a new one before you go away. In most cases, a cheap fiberglass filter from the hardware store is all you need, though higher-end HEPA filters are great for people with allergies. Just slide the old filter out of the slot, and slide the new one into its place.
You don't want your vacation to be ruined when you come home to a broken HVAC system or exorbitant energy bills. Follow the tips above; they only take a few minutes to complete, and you'll definitely get your money and time's worth in protection.
For more on air conditioning systems, contact an HVAC contractor.