For many folks, summer means hitting the road and enjoying some time away from home. Whether you’re off to the beach, the big city or a tropical destination, taking steps to prepare your HVAC system before you leave can ensure you return to a fully functional home and not a costly repair bill. Here are some tips for getting your air conditioner ready for your summer vacation.
The Importance of Maintenance
The best thing you can do to prepare your air conditioner for an extended vacation is to schedule annual preventative maintenance before you leave. That way, you get the peace of mind of knowing your HVAC system has been inspected by a trained professional and confirmed to be running smoothly. Preventative air conditioner maintenance can include a number of important service items, such as:
- Inspecting and cleaning the blower assembly, condenser and other system components.
- Replacing the air filter, fan belt and any other wearable parts as necessary.
- Checking for leaks, corrosion and other issues that can potentially lead to system failure down the line.
- Confirming system performance against recommended air conditioning temperature settings, and making fine adjustments as necessary.
Every A/C unit has different service requirements — be sure to work with a technician you can trust, who has experience servicing your type of system.
Keeping a Clean Yard
Wear and tear aren’t the only threats to your air conditioner while you’re on vacation. Physical damage to external components is common when severe storms roll in, and can be expensive to remediate. The best way to avoid these problems is to make sure your lawn is free of debris that can cause damage in extreme weather. This includes branches, toys, garden implements and more. If the forecast calls for heavy winds and rain, you may also wish to ask a neighbor or pay a handyman to check up on your property while you’re away.
Choosing the Right Air Conditioner Temperature Setting
Setting your air conditioner temperature while you’re away can be a delicate balance — while you don’t want to pay to cool an empty home, you want to be sure your system will kick into action when temperatures reach levels that could damage your property. In addition, having the A/C cycle periodically can deter theft by making it look like the home is occupied.
Typical recommended thermostat settings for summer range anywhere from 70-80˚F. While you’re away, setting your system higher than normal will avoid unnecessary cooling, while still ensuring your system turns on when temperatures rise past a given threshold.
There are many different types of thermostat on the market today that allow you to program complicated cooling schedules with ease. Check your owner’s manual to find the best way to input the appropriate temperature setting for summer.