It’s now officially summer, which means it’s vacation time for many Floridians. Countless Clay County residents will soon be leaving the heat and humidity of our sunny state behind for cooler climates. But while you might be able to escape the heat, your air conditioning unit cannot.
With a little planning ahead, you can travel with peace of mind that your home and AC unit are protected while you’re away. Here are 5 tips for safeguarding your AC system during vacation.
1. Adjust the thermostat
Homeowners might be tempted to turn off their AC systems while traveling – why cool the house when no one is home? While this approach sounds logical, it’s actually harmful to your home and AC unit. Remember, one of the main functions of an air conditioner is humidity control. Turning off the AC for extended periods of time allows moisture to accumulate inside your home. This moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, damaged appliances, and structural damage.
Instead of turning off the unit, raise the temperature 7-10 degrees warmer than your usual setting. If you have a programmable thermostat, schedule the unit to adjust to its normal temperature on the day you return for a cool welcome home.
2. Change the air filters
You might have heard us mention a time or two how important it is to change your air filters. AC filters prevent debris from clogging your air ducts and damaging your equipment. Clogged or dirty filters keep air from entering the unit, put unnecessary stress on the system, and lead to costly air conditioning repairs.
Since dirty filters cause many system issues, it’s best to change your air filters before you leave for vacation. This is especially important if you live in an area with poor air quality or have indoor pets, both of which can clog filters faster than usual. If you have more than one AC unit, don’t forget to change the filter in each unit.
3. Close the curtains
According to Energy.gov, over 70% of sunlight that falls on a standard double-paned window enters and heats your home. This is known as heat or solar gain, or the transfer of heat into your home through windows, doors, walls, and appliances.
Reduce your energy spend while on vacation by simply closing the curtains or blinds. This will combat heat gain in your home by blocking the sun’s rays and prevent your AC from cycling more often than needed.
4. Install a surge protector
If you’re traveling during Florida’s hurricane season of June 1 – November 30, protecting your home from extreme weather should be a priority. In addition to damage from flooding and powerful winds, power surges are a leading cause of air conditioner failure during and after a hurricane.
Power surges are most often caused by an inrush of electrical current after a power outage is remedied. This surge can damage the electrical components of your air conditioner, which cannot handle extreme power fluctuations. Installing a surge protector will help prevent excessive current and heat from rushing into your AC, protecting it from damage.
5. Schedule preventive maintenance
Just like a car, air conditioners need regular maintenance to function properly. While wear and tear is expected for any AC unit, regular preventive maintenance can prevent costly breakdowns and keep your system running smoothly.
Before you leave for vacation, schedule a preventive maintenance visit with your HVAC professional. The technician will check all electrical components, clean the condenser and coils, and measure your refrigerant levels. This will ensure your unit is working properly and efficiently when you return home.
DDI Southeast will get your AC vacation ready!
Our experienced team of HVAC professionals will inspect your unit to make sure it’s ready for whatever weather the summer brings. Call us today to schedule a maintenance visit, and return from vacation to a cool and comfortable home.