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Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling While on Vacation

Posted by Chris Malvern on

When you're looking forward to a chance to fly south for a warm winter break, or the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks of festive fun at the beach, it's easy to forget about the concerns you'll be leaving at home. We all spend so much time worrying about what we’ll pack and how to get to the airport on time, that we frequently overlook issues like energy efficiency in our homes and condos.

It’s important to remember that many condo associations require their residents to make sure that the temperature in their property doesn't drop below 55-degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, you can't simply turn your HVAC system off for a few weeks and hope for the best. If you're going to be leaving your condo unattended, you need to make sure that you know how to keep your heating and cooling services running efficiently, to ensure you don't come home to a violation notice or broken pipes that froze.

Before You Go on Vacation

When you're heading away for a winter vacation, a good rule of thumb is to remove four degrees from your standard home temperature, provided this won't put you under the limit set by your HOA. Make sure you don't simply shut the entire system down while you're away. Not only can this get you into trouble with the association, but it could also mean that you risk damaging your HVAC system.

Allowing your property to cool down too much during the winter months could mean that your heater will need to work extra hard to re-adjust itself to your needs when you return home. This sudden additional pressure could be all an older furnace needs to send it spiraling into a state of malfunction. At the same time, allowing your home to overheat during a summer vacation can be a significant problem too, leading to stifling temperatures and problems throughout your home.

If you've had your HVAC system for a while, and it's been a few months since your last maintenance checkup, then it might be worth reaching out to a professional for a service before you go on your vacation. After all, the last thing you want is to return home to find out that your HVAC system stopped working the second day of your vacation. A quick tune-up, or some new AC parts will help you to pinpoint and fix any problems your heating and cooling system might have, so that you can enjoy your vacation with complete peace of mind.

In some cases, your HVAC maintenance team may recommend that you need to consider repairs, or even replacements before you go on your vacation. While this might not be a very convenient issue for you to worry about at the time, it's much better to deal with the problem before you go, than to come back to a home that's been affected by a broken heating and cooling system.

The Importance of Running your HVAC System While on Vacation

As we mentioned above, keeping your HVAC system running is important during a winter or summer vacation for multiple reasons. Usually, you should try to avoid turning your heating down to anywhere under 50 degrees, as there's a chance that low temperatures might increase your risk of frozen pipes and damaged appliances. You don't want to come home to a flooded basement or frozen dishwasher just because you set your thermostat system too low. At the same time, excessive temperature can cause your pipes to warp, and metal to begin changing shape during the summer.

Some experts recommend that 70 degrees is the ideal temperature for your heating system when you're trying to maintain safety and efficiency during the winter months, for the summer months, the ideal temperature can vary. However, it's important to take the unique circumstances of your home into account. If you know that your home won't be affected too much by sub-zero temperatures, then you might be safe dropping the temperature down a little further. On the other hand, if you're prone to frozen pipes, then you might want to get some advice from your HVAC maintenance professional.

If you're concerned about your thermostat re-setting itself, or your heating system working improperly while you're away, you could always consider investing in a smart thermostat system. Most of the time, you'll be able to control these systems from your smartphone, which means that you can check up on your property while you're away, and even turn the air or heat up on days when the weather gets particularly bad. You might even choose to crank the HVAC up to your preferred temperature when you're on the way home from your vacation, so you can walk straight into a great feeling home!

Remember that saving energy doesn't always come down to your HVAC system either. Most windows in any home will have blinds and curtains, and these can be closed during your vacation to keep heat or cold out, so that you can maintain the right temperature at all times.  

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