You work hard all year, and that means you are due for some vacation time. The last thing you want on your vacation is to worry about whether your HVAC system will work when you get home. You certainly don’t want that system to cause damage while you’re away! As you put together your vacation packing checklist, there are several proactive tasks you can put into action to ensure that your HVAC system will be safe and ready for use when you get back from your trip.

Keep the HVAC On

Before leaving on your vacation, you turn off lights and unplug appliances. That’s a smart move. You might also think it makes sense to turn your HVAC off. After all, why heat or cool the home if no one will be there? Plus, that will save money. However, turning your HVAC off while on vacation might lead to costly repairs. A better approach would be to keep your thermostat set at levels just below what you consider to be comfortable. According to the Department of Energy, those levels should be 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. You might want to set it closer to 80 degrees for a summer vacation.

What happens if you shut off your HVAC system while away on vacation? If you’re going away in the summer, the stagnant air in your home could trigger higher humidity levels. That leads to mold, which tends to grow fast in humid conditions. Mold could appear in damp areas of your basement, attic, or bathrooms. In the winter, a home without heat can lead to pipes freezing and bursting. Imagine returning home to those kinds of disasters.

Additionally, your HVAC system also supports the health of your plants. They might survive for a week without watering, but those plants could be in peril without good air circulation.

Use a Smart Thermostat

How great would it be to check your home’s temperature and adjust the thermostat while you’re relaxing on the beach? That can happen when you use a smart thermostat. You can program your home’s around-the-clock heating and cooling schedules with a smart thermostat. The smart thermostat allows you to monitor your systems through a cellphone app. The app provides you with access to your system no matter where you go on your vacation. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can check your HVAC system, even on a plane.

A smart thermostat is also helpful when you return from your vacation. Instead of walking in the door and cranking up the AC or heat, you can gradually raise or lower the temperature via your app as you get close to home. It only takes around 10 minutes to get your home to your preferred levels. A gradual approach to heating and cooling reduces the strain on the system.

An upgrade to a smart thermostat is not a DIY task. You will need to hire licensed HVAC professionals for the job. They can recommend smart thermostat options and be able to assess the best match to conform with your system.

Swap Out the Air Filters

It would help to replace your air conditioning filters regularly, especially before you head off on vacation. A clean filter translates into more efficient airflow throughout the house, which prevents your air conditioner and heating systems from overworking. It will also mean the air quality in the home will be at healthy levels, reducing the amount of allergens that could accumulate while you’re away.

Check the Ductwork

All the warm or cool air your air conditioning and heating system generates goes through the ductwork. When dust or other obstructions build up in the ductwork, it impedes the airflow. That is another possible strain on your HVAC system that causes it to work harder. That leads to higher bills and a less energy-efficient system. That is another issue to avoid while on vacation. A good approach is to hire a professional HVAC crew to clean your ducts once a year. If you go on an annual vacation, the week before your trip is a good time for the annual cleaning.

Clean Vents

The last step in your HVAC airflow is all the vents in your home. Vents are built into floors or ceilings. No matter where the vents are located, they attract a lot of dust and dander. All of those particles blow back into your home when the air conditioning kicks on. A dust buildup can stop the flow altogether. Just as you would clean your fridge before your vacation, you should take a few minutes to wipe down all the HVAC vents in your home.

Close Curtains and Blinds

Closing the blinds keeps out the sun, which helps cool the house. This is always a good idea for your air conditioning in the summer. Without the sun bearing down, there won’t be any sharp increases in temperature on a hot summer day. When the blinds are closed, the home’s temperature stays even. Those closed blinds also provide additional protection when you’re away on vacation. You don’t want anyone to see an “empty” house.

Clean Up Debris

If your home’s central air conditioning unit is outside the house, you need to keep it clear of debris. That debris includes leaves, twigs, or grass clippings. Keeping your HVAC unit clean is another way to keep it running efficiently. It is also a safety issue. The debris that accumulates around that unit could be a fire hazard.

Get Extra Support From a Trusted Neighbor

It is also an excellent idea to tell a neighbor you trust about your vacation plans. That way, they can keep an eye out on your property. If you trust that neighbor with a key to your home, you should show them how your thermostat works. If you notice something is wrong with your HVAC system via your apps, the neighbor can go into your home and make adjustments.

Schedule a HVAC Tune-Up

Before going on a road trip, getting the family car tuned up is a good idea. You should take the same approach with your HVAC system. A maintenance service will ensure that your HVAC system is working as it should. That tune-up also helps to identify any potential problems that need attention. If you fix a potential problem before it occurs, it saves you money in the long run.

We Care can help with that HVAC tune-up session. We Care has provided homeowners and commercial clients in Southern California with quality heating and air services for over 20 years. Those services include repairing and installing HVAC systems in homes, offices, restaurants, and more. Additionally, We Care provides a full line of plumbing services that include complete drain cleaning, water heater repair, and faucet replacement. Best of all, the We Care team is available 24/7 for any emergency call. Call We Care today if you need to get your HVAC system ready for your vacation or need any of our other services, like indoor air quality! We’re standing by to help.

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