The last thing you want to come home to after a long, relaxing vacation is a massive energy bill. But if you don’t schedule your thermostat ahead of time, that may be exactly what’s waiting for you. Here at Peterman Brothers, we know the ins and outs of keeping your home comfortable and energy-efficient all summer long—even if you’re not there to personally enjoy it! That’s why we put together this quick guide for how to program your air conditioner while you’re away on vacation.
Why You Should Run Your AC While on Vacation
You may feel tempted to simply turn your AC off while you’re away. After all, who’s going to be there to feel the difference? The temperature inside your house plays a big role in its overall condition. As heat and humidity rise, damage can begin. Your drywall can begin to moisten and deteriorate. Biological hazards like mold and mildew will flourish. Pests like insects and mice also enjoy the heat and humidity. It’s best for your home if it’s kept cool and dry, even when you’re traveling.
While you’re away, you can, however, unplug or turn off peripheral appliances. Coffee makers, televisions, computers, and gaming systems will all suck up energy while you’re gone. We call this “vampire power,” and it can eat up a significant amount of electricity even when you’re not using any of the offending devices.
Best AC Temperature for Vacation
When deciding on the right temperature for your AC during your trip, follow the Goldilocks rule. You want a temperature that’s “just right,” instead of too hot or too cold. We already explored what happens when your house gets too hot, but setting the AC too low can also be disastrous.
Air conditioners naturally suck moisture out of the air, which is good to a certain degree. However, when too much moisture is removed from the air, it can damage your furniture and kill your plants. Anything made of wood, including furniture, floors, and door frames, can start to dry out and warp. Your home will also develop a gross, musty odor.
The ideal temperature zone for your AC is between 78 and 80 degrees. During very humid weather, you can get away with turning your AC up a few degrees higher to compensate for the extra moisture. Trips you take during cooler seasons, like spring and fall, may vary. As a rule of thumb, try to set the temperature a few degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature.
Let Your Thermostat Do the Work While You’re Away
If you don’t yet have a programmable thermostat, then you may want to consider adding one before your trip. They’re practical, affordable, and easy to install. A programmable thermostat allows you to set your cooling system on a schedule. You have complete control of the schedule, so you can customize it to your needs. On days you’re out of the house, you can program it a few degrees warmer than what you normally find comfortable. This keeps your home at a safe temperature and cuts down on your energy usage while you’re away. You can further help out your thermostat by closing the blinds before you leave for your trip. Curtains block out sunlight and naturally lower the overall temperature inside your home. That means your AC doesn’t have to work so hard to meet the programmed temperature.
Interested in installing a programmable thermostat? The AC technicians from Peterman Brothers would be happy to help you choose the perfect one for your home in Indianapolis.
Take Advantage of Thermostat Settings
Preparing your cooling system ahead of your trip is easy with a programmable thermostat. You can adjust the temperature for the entire time you’re away with just a few clicks. You can also schedule the thermostat to change throughout the day. For example, during the hottest time of the day, you can set the thermostat to drop one or two degrees. As nightfall approaches, you can have the temperature rise to one that’s more appropriate for cooler evenings.
The temperature setting isn’t the only important feature to consider. The fan setting also plays a role in how comfortable and energy-efficient your home is while you’re away. Setting the fan to “auto” gives the system leeway to turn off and on as needed. This is the most efficient and budget-friendly setting. The “on” setting will force the AC fan to run constantly. While it consumes more energy than “auto,” “on” can be a comfy middle ground for trips taken during spring and fall. Essentially, switching the fan setting “on” and the cooling setting “off” turns your AC into a giant house fan. It will keep the air fresh and circulating but won’t have any impact on the indoor temperature.
Make Adjustments With a Wi-Fi Thermostat
Some modern thermostats can connect to Wi-Fi. These are also known as “smart thermostats,” and you can monitor your cooling system and make adjustments via your smartphone. No matter where you are in the world, you can log in to your thermostat app to make sure everything is OK at home. This is an excellent way to safeguard against serious emergencies. Instead of waiting until you get home to discover the AC died while you were out, you can find out right away and plan for a technician to stop by ASAP. This is especially important if you have pets at home. You can also make adjustments as needed in case of major temperature swings, like a heatwave or cold snap.
Don’t Forget About Pets
If your pets are staying at home, consult with your veterinarian about what temperature is best. Some animal species will need to be kept cooler than 84 degrees to stay comfortable and healthy. Other species may have certain requirements for healthy humidity levels as well. In either case, be sure your pet has plenty of water available, especially if you keep them home at a temperature that’s warmer than usual.
Your AC Service Partner in Indianapolis
Here at Peterman Brothers, we’re happy to help you prepare your air conditioner for your upcoming trip. If you haven’t had an AC tune-up this year, we recommend scheduling one before your trip. A maintenance appointment will ensure your air conditioner is in peak condition while you’re away. Plus, we’ll catch any potential problems so they don’t become full-blown AC emergencies while you’re traveling. It’s our goal to make sure your AC is dependable and energy-efficient so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying your vacation.
At Peterman Brothers, we also provide top-notch plumbing and electrical services in Indianapolis. If you come home to a problem with your hot water heater or electrical system, you can count on us to get to the bottom of it. From repairs to maintenance and full replacements, you can rely on our expert technicians for quality service and long-lasting solutions.
To schedule air conditioner service in Indianapolis, just give the team at Peterman Brothers a call!