With summer in full swing, many people are leaving their homes to go on vacation. If you are one of those people, you probably have a whole list of things to do and a hundred thoughts running through your head. One of them is most likely the nagging question: Should I turn my AC off during my summer vacation? The team at OnTime Service is here to answer this commonly asked question.
Answer: Leave it On.
We know turning it off makes sense. After all, it will save you some money and electricity. While there are many opinions on whether you should leave your AC off or not, the team at OnTime Service advises you to leave it on at a slightly higher temperature than usual.
According to the United States Department of Energy you can save 10 % on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat up 7 to 10 degrees higher for 8 hours a day. If you have a programmable thermostat, maintaining your home’s temperature and saving energy will be even easier for you. This type of thermostat allows you to change the temperature before you even return home.
Leaving the AC on during your vacation might seem wasteful, but completely turning it off can lead to damaging conditions like extreme temperatures or high humidity. Here are some other reasons why you should leave your AC on during your summer vacation:
Moisture and Mold
The Alabama heat is starting to hit, which means turning your AC off could lead to high temperatures inside your home. Your AC also removes humidity and turning it off would make your home stuffier and more humid. High moisture and humidity inside your home can lead to pealed paint, stained walls and ceilings and bad odors.
Moisture can also lead to the growth of mold, which is a common type of fungus that primarily grows in damp areas. The humidity in your home is supposed to be within 30 to 60 percent. Anything more than that for an extended period can lead to mold growth. Not only is mold a nuisance but it has several health problems associated with it.
Leaving your AC on will allow humidity to be well-maintained and will prevent the collection of moisture and the growth of mold.
Insects and Bugs
Some insects are attracted to damp areas and even attracted to mold. Pests such as flies, cockroaches and dust mites are attracted to moist areas. Leaving your AC off for a long period of time can attract bugs that you probably don’t want to deal with after a relaxing vacation.
Leaving your AC off can increase the heat in your home. While your refrigerator is insulated, excessive surrounding heat might make it work overtime and provide cooling for a longer duration. This can lead to an increase in electricity bills as well as wear out your fridge.
How Can I Save Energy While I’m On Vacation?
You might think that turning off the AC while on vacation is probably the only effective way to save energy. However, there are other ways you can ensure your electricity bill does not see a sudden spike.
Unplug before you go
Make sure all your electronic devices such as common kitchen appliances, televisions, and computers are unplugged before you leave. These devices are called “energy vampires” because they continue to draw power from electrical outlets when they are not in use. Before you rush out the door, take a minute to scan your house for these vampires.
Invest in light timers
Many people leave a couple lights on for safety reasons. If security is a worry, you can invest in automatic lights or timer settings. With light timers you can time your lights to turn on only at night to deter intruders and save energy.
Lower your water heater’s temperature
Water heating accounts for 18 % of your utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To save some energy while you’re gone, lower your water heater’s setting by positioning it between the “low” and “medium” settings. Read up on some water heater energy saving tips to learn more about the optimal setting you should lower your water heater to.
Consider Programmable or Smart Thermostats
A programmable thermostat helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature while reducing your home’s overall energy consumption. Using a programmable thermostat will allow you to turn on the heating or cooling according to a preset schedule. For example, during the summer your thermostat can be programmed to be at a higher temperature when you’re not at home and start cooling before you return home. A pre-set schedule like this would save energy and ensure you return to a comfortable home.
Similarly, smart thermostats are also a great energy saving option. These thermostats and some programmable thermostats give you full control of the temperature of your home. Smart thermostats come with apps that allow you change your indoor climate remotely.
Follow this guide to ensure you have a fun, relaxing vacation free of any AC related worries! Keep in mind that it is important to keep your AC well maintained, so it doesn’t cause troubles in the long run or worse, right before you go on vacation. The professionals at OnTime Service are here to make sure your home’s AC is well-functioning and maintaining a comfortable indoor climate for you. Don’t hesitate to contact OnTime Service for expert AC tune-ups and repairs.