It's time for summer vacation, which means shutting up your home for a week or more while you enjoy some much-deserved relaxation. The following tips can help you prepare your air conditioner for the time you will be away.
1. Clean the Unit
You don't want to come home to a malfunctioning AC. Taking the time to clean out the unit before you go can prevent damage from overheating as well as water damage. At a bare minimum, you need to change out the air filter and check that the condensation drain hose and drain pan aren't clogged with mold or algae. If you have the time or skills, it is also a good idea to remove the housing from the exterior unit so you can remove any leaves or other debris that have collected inside. The final step is to rinse off the outside coils with a hose so there is no dust or dirt impacting the cooling ability of the AC.
2. Install a Surge Protector
Power surges can destroy an AC unit, and power outages with their resultant surges are more common during summer thunderstorms. Since you won't be home to turn off the AC in the event of a power outage, be proactive and call in an HVAC service ahead of time. They can install a surge protector on your AC that will prevent damages in the event the power goes out.
3. Adjust the Thermostat
Turn up the thermostat before you leave. Not only is there no need to cool an empty house, but it will also save you a bit of money. If hot weather is expected, don't turn off the AC completely. Heat and the resulting humidity in a closed-up house can cause damage to wood furniture, electronics, and other components in your home. Instead, turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees or so. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to cool your home back down to comfortable levels on the day of your arrival back so you won't have to walk into a hothouse.
4. Close the Drapes
Don't leave the drapes and blinds open. Not only is this a bad idea from a security standpoint, it will also heat up your home so that your AC has to work harder. Make sure all windows and doors, along with their window coverings, are closed up tightly before you leave so that no excess heat is leaking into your house.
Contact an HVAC systems expert if you need assistance with any of your pre-vacation AC issues.