One of the most common concerns people have when going on vacation is what to do with their thermostat. If you’re going away in the summer, it might be tempting to shut down your A/C to save energy and money. Is this really the best choice, though?
Why You Shouldn’t Shut Off Your A/C Completely
You basically have three choices when it comes to setting your thermostat when you go away. You can keep it where it is, make a small adjustment or shut your system down entirely. There are a few compelling reasons that it’s not a good idea to completely shut down your A/C.
If your home gets too warm, it could cause damage to your walls, furniture or other belongings. Humidity contributes to the growth of mold and mildew. It can also cause indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde to spread. A humid environment is also the ideal breeding ground for dust mites. All in all, heat and humidity contribute to unhealthy and unsanitary conditions. Keep in mind, if you’re going away for more than a couple of days you can’t be sure how hot it’s going to get.
Aside from potential damage, you probably won’t be saving any money by shutting down your A/C. When your home heats up beyond a few degrees, it takes a lot more energy to get it back to a comfortable level when you return home. Hence, it’s not even economical to shut down your A/C.
What’s the Ideal Temperature When You Go Away?
While shutting off your A/C is not a good idea, there’s no reason to keep it at the same temperature you would when you’re home. This would be wasteful. Ideally, you should set your thermostat about four degrees higher than normal. This lets you save energy without your home getting too hot or humid.
What about heating your home in the winter? If you’re planning a winter getaway, you also have to choose the perfect temperature for your thermostat. If you live in an area that gets harsh winters, you wouldn’t even consider turning your heat off completely. This could cause serious damage, such as the pipes freezing.
Even if you live in a warmer climate you should be careful about keeping the thermostat too low. It’s a similar rule as for the A/C in summer. In this case, if you set the temperature too low, your heating system will have to work hard to get it back up again when you return. Setting the thermostat around four degrees below your normal winter temperature is a sensible choice. Just as heat waves can strike suddenly in summer, you never know when you might get a cold spell in winter.
Once you understand the importance of keeping your home at a reasonable temperature of around four degrees above or below normal, you can feel secure when you go on your trip. This strategy lets you maximize energy efficiency while avoiding any problems that can occur if your home gets too hot or cold.