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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

Going on Summer Vacation? Tips for What to Do With Your AC

summer-vacation-dogSummer is here, and you’re planning a summer trip. Although you have plenty on your mind about what to pack and how to plan, there are a few things at home you’ll need to think about before you go. One of these is your air conditioning in Lake City, FL. Is it better to shut the entire system off while you’re on the trip to save energy? Or should you let it stay on?

At first, it sounds odd to leave the AC on while you’re away from your home for more than a day. That’s just a waste of energy when nobody is in the house to enjoy the cooled air. If saving energy is your main concern, then shutting off the air conditioner is the best choice. However, in many situations, we recommend keeping the air conditioning system on—although with the thermostat at a higher temperature.

Keeping the AC On

For taking short trips of only a few days, keeping the air conditioner on helps maintain a cooler temperature for when you come back. If you raise the thermostat’s setting about 8°F warmer than you usually have it during the day, the cost to run the AC for a couple days to maintain a cooler home is minimal. In fact, you’ll probably save energy in the long run: keeping the air conditioner on not only assures you’ll return to a house that won’t need the AC blasting for a few hours to cool it back down, it also controls humidity. The circulation of air around the house is one of the ways to lower humidity levels, and the AC also has some dehumidification properties.

If you have a multi-day programmable thermostat, this is where it really earns its keep. You can program the thermostat to activate the AC during the hottest parts of the day, then only run the fan during the evening to circulate air.

Turning the AC Off

You can switch the air conditioning system off completely by either flipping its main switch (usually located under a lid near the outside cabinet) or flipping its circuit breaker. This prevents the system from accidentally turning on if the home gets hot enough.

Shutting the AC down like this is beneficial if you’re taking a vacation of more than a week. You’ll save the most energy this way, although you will come back to a hotter home.

The programmable thermostat can be a big help here. If you have programmable controls, don’t shut off the AC entirely. Instead, set the thermostat to turn the air conditioning system back on the day you return home—set it at the temperature you normally enjoy.

A Few More Things

Regardless of what you do with your air conditioner, shut all the drapes and shutters around the home to lower the amount of heat that comes in. Check the weather for your area while you’ll be on vacation to see how hot it will get—this can help you make the choice about keeping the AC on or off.

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