19 Sep 9 Steps for Preparing Your HVAC System for Summer Vacation
In our last post we discussed nine important tips for preparing your plumbing systems for summer vacation. As we approach Independence Day, an All American holiday, we want to help you make sure your air conditioning system is prepared for your family’s getaway.
Below are nine tips for ensuring your HVAC is ready for summer vacation:
1) Check and Change Your Air Filters
Generally, standard one-half inch air filters need to be replaced every one to two months. When filters are laden with debris, airflow is restricted and your air conditioning unit has to work significantly harder to cool your home. When you are away for an extended period of time, you will not notice the signs of restricted airflow:
- Your HVAC system running more often or for longer intervals than usual
- Uncharacteristically loud noises from your air conditioning
- Warm air being supplied from your vents
- Excessive build-up of dust and dirt
2) Adjust the Thermostat by no more than Five Degrees
Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner does need to run while you are away. When the HVAC does not engage for long periods of time, your home is susceptible to moisture buildup and the development of mold. Your system is designed to run regularly, so when it does not engage for long periods of time, it can actually damage your equipment and shorten its lifespan.
Raise your thermostat as much as five degrees above the normal temperature. Programmable thermostats are helpful for maximizing efficiency while you are away. They can be set to avoid maximum engagement during peak hours, whether you are away for work or vacation.
3) Maximize Airflow to your Outdoor HVAC Unit
Airflow is key to ensuring your system works efficiently and effectively, whether you are home or away. Before you leave for vacation, check for debris that could restrict airflow to your outdoor HVAC unit. Make sure nearby shrubbery is well trimmed, allowing for at least two feet of clearance around your unit. Clear any leaves, limbs, or grass clippings from your HVAC system.
4) Check You HVAC Unit for Signs of Leakage
If your system is damaged and leaking, you should contact a professional HVAC technician immediately. The issue will be exacerbated the longer it goes without HVAC repair. You do not want to return from vacation to catastrophic HVAC failure.
HVAC maintenance plans help ensure that any leaks or malfunctions are identified early, and can help prevent costly, avoidable repairs. Additionally, maintenance plans ensure your system is running at its maximum efficiency.
5) Prepare for Storms and Bad Weather
Pop-up thunderstorms are a common feature during the summer months. If you have low hanging limbs or unsecured structures near your HVAC unit, have them removed before you leave for vacation. Though you cannot control nature, it is important to do whatever you can to avoid returning to a storm damaged HVAC system.
6) Close and Lock all of Your Windows
For safety and energy efficiency, make sure all windows are closed and locked. Check children’s rooms and seldom used areas of your home in case a window was opened by accident.
7) Close Curtains and Blinds
Closing curtains and blinds will help regulate the temperature of your home. If at all possible, make sure there is no direct sunlight on your thermostat. Direct sunlight may cause your thermostat to report an incorrect temperature to your air conditioning system, which can lead to your unit to engaging and disengaging too frequently.
You may consider leaving some curtains and blinds open in order to give the appearance that your home is occupied.
8) Open All Air Vents
Your system was designed to maximize airflow; therefore, even in seldom used rooms, it is important to make sure all vents are open. Before leaving for vacation, check every room to make sure vents are open.
9) Thoroughly Vacuum Your Home
Dust and allergens will collect while you are away, so it is important for your home’s air quality to vacuum before leaving for vacation.
Ultimately, the best way to prepare your HVAC system for vacation is to sign up for a Maintenance Agreement. Maintenance Agreements are the only way to stay cool and worry-free throughout the summer.