When planning a summer vacation, it may be tempting to turn off your air conditioner to save money. However, this is not always the best choice.
Maintaining humidity levels in your home with air conditioning can help keep mold, mildew, and other invasive pests at bay. Not only does it save money on energy bills but it also promotes a healthy living environment in your residence.
Though it may seem like the ideal solution to turn off your air conditioning while away on vacation, doing so can do more harm than good. A hot, humid house can lead to serious structural damage like warping wood or cracking drywall, plus make furniture, walls, and floors susceptible to mold and mildew growth.
When determining how long to leave for vacation, several factors come into play – like how hot it will be outside and whether your AC unit can handle the load. For shorter trips, it may be best to leave it off unless the forecast calls for excessive heat.
When taking a longer trip, however, you’ll likely want to leave your A/C on and set the temperature between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit – this is known as the “Goldilocks’ rule” of AC settings and is recommended for both comfort and energy savings by the Department of Energy.
Particularly during summertime, when temperatures can soar well over 100 degrees outdoors and remain high for days on end. You’ll need your air conditioner running a few hours daily to dehumidify your home; therefore, be sure to check the local forecast and adjust accordingly.
One of the best ways to cool off while traveling is with a portable fan, which you can buy for under $10 on Amazon or any retail store. These lightweight devices are easy to transport and can be used at the beach or even in transit on trains or planes.
For a more powerful cooling option, window-unit air conditioning units may be cheaper than standalone models but offer greater versatility. Look for units with variable-speed blowers and high-efficiency motors to get the best performance.
If you’re on the search for an affordable solution, Frigidaire’s standard 5,000-BTU model is a great option. It’s popular among homeowners looking to cool one room and provides reliable performance and helpful customer service. However, if you need more features, consider upgrading to a high-end model with inverter technology and counterweights which help dampen vibration.
Length of Vacation
A vacation is one of the best ways to de-stress and unwind after a long, stressful day. It provides us with time for rest, connection with friends and family, as well as recharge our batteries. But it also requires careful planning and preparation – including taking some days off work to prepare your home for your absence.
No matter if you’re taking an overnight or week-long vacation, the length of your trip can impact both energy efficiency and utility bills while you’re gone. On average, air conditioning systems consume about half of a household’s annual electricity costs according to Arizona Public Services.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can save energy by turning off the air conditioning when away on vacation, though this may not be the most cost-effective strategy if your house is large or your AC system isn’t particularly efficient.
For instance, if your air conditioner can’t keep your home at an acceptable temperature while you’re gone, it will have to work harder when you return which could cause high temperatures and humidity that damage furniture and other appliances. Furthermore, it could cost more to re-cool your house after a vacation than if you had simply turned off the AC in the first place!
That doesn’t even take into account the additional energy your refrigerator will use after your air conditioner has shut off, which must work overtime to cool down your food after it’s been turned off.
Another factor determining the length of your vacation is how long you need to travel and get used to your new environment. Studies show that an ideal length for a vacation is 8-10 days, providing enough time to savor each location’s natural splendor.
However, the study also discovered that eight days is not enough of a vacation to reap all its rewards. After eight days, the happiness and wellness benefits start to fade and stress can build up as we adjust back into our regular routines. Therefore, experts suggest taking at least a week-long holiday for maximum relaxation and stress-melting benefits from your break.
Though some may be tempted to turn off their air conditioner while away on vacation, this is not recommended. Doing so can cause significant damage to your home and even lead to health issues. Furthermore, leaving your AC unattended for an extended period increases the chance of mildew or mold growth in your residence.
To prevent this from occurring, ensure your air conditioning is on while you’re gone and the temperature setting isn’t too high. Typically, the EPA suggests setting your thermostat to 85 degrees while away and programming it back to 72 degrees one day before you return. This will save your home from becoming damaged due to excessive heat while you are gone and keep energy bills from skyrocketing when you return.
Aside from setting the thermostat to a cooler temperature while you are gone, there are other steps you can take to reduce your home’s energy use while you are gone. These include turning off unnecessary appliances and electronics like mobile device chargers, TV/stereo equipment, coffee pots, and more to save on energy usage while away.
Furthermore, take the time to clean out your fridge before you go away. Doing so will keep your food fresh and stop the appliance from running excessively while you’re gone.
Before leaving for vacation, make sure your home is securely closed to the elements. Doing this can reduce air infiltration and allow your cooling system to function more effectively.
Another way to keep your home cool while you’re gone is by dressing for the weather. By wearing lighter clothing during summer and heavier ones during winter, you’ll ensure that your house doesn’t become too warm and energy will not be wasted while you are gone.
In addition to these tips, you should also consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This will give you full control over your home’s thermostat without having to constantly check its settings. Furthermore, these devices can save on energy bills while you’re away on vacation.
No doubt, taking a vacation is one of the most exciting experiences one can experience. You get to spend quality time with family and friends, explore new places, and engage in all sorts of enjoyable activities. However, there are some precautions you must take before leaving home for an extended period. Make sure all appliances, electronics, and other products remain secure while you’re gone.
Homeowners may be tempted to turn off their air conditioning system when away on vacation, saving money in the long run. However, this is not always a wise idea; there are several reasons why leaving your AC running when away from home is best for comfort and efficiency.
First and foremost, air conditioning keeps your home secure. By taking moisture out of the air, AC helps prevent mold, bugs, and other unwanted creatures from growing indoors. Furthermore, it prevents the paint from peeling and wood floors from buckling.
Another advantage to leaving the air conditioner on while you are away is that it helps cool your home, preventing heat buildup which could result in higher energy bills when you return.
It is wise to set your thermostat higher when away on vacation. Doing this will enable the air conditioner to remove excess humidity from the air in your home and protect it from harmful spores, mold, and other pests which are easy to spot while away.
If you own a programmable thermostat, various settings allow you to suspend your regular schedule and maintain the temperatures set to while away on vacation. This can be especially handy when taking an extended journey and not planning on staying in your home for any significant amount of time.