Updated July 2023
The holidays are just around the corner, which means you may be planning to spend some time away from home. If you’re like many people, you’ll want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But before you can relax on the beach or hit the slopes, there are a few things you need to do to prepare your home for your absence.
One of the most critical things is prepping your HVAC system. Homes fitted with central heating and cooling are particularly vulnerable when no one is home to regulate usage. By following a few simple steps, you can rest assured that your home will be comfortable and energy-efficient when you return.
1. Check Your Filters and Replace Them if Necessary
If you haven’t changed your HVAC air filters recently, it’s important to do so before you leave. Dirty filters can lead to several problems, including reduced airflow, increased energy consumption, and decreased indoor air quality. They can cause your system to work harder than it needs to, which puts unnecessary strain on the system.
Depending on your filter type, it may need to be changed monthly or every few months. By replacing your filters regularly, you can help keep your system running efficiently and ensure that you return to clean, fresh air when you get back from vacation.
2. Set Your Thermostat to an Energy-efficient Temperature
While you may be tempted to shut your HVAC system completely off before you leave, HVAC professionals don’t recommend doing so. Shutting the system down before your vacation leaves your home vulnerable to temperature extremes while you’re gone. Instead, you want to turn your thermostat to a lower temperature so that the HVAC system can kick on if needed, but it won’t be running constantly when no one is home.
Deciding where to set your thermostat depends on a few factors. Will pets be in your home while you’re away? Are you planning on having anyone over to check on your house? Are there plants in your home? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to leave the thermostat set a bit higher than you would otherwise. Depending on the weather, you should set your thermostat between 5 and 10 degrees lower than the setting you’d have while at home. If there aren’t pets or plants in your home, you can go even lower, but you want to keep the setting at a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit to protect your home from the cold.
3. Clean the Vents
Like regular filter changes, cleaning the vents regularly helps to ensure that your HVAC system is running properly and your indoor air is clean. The first step is to remove any dust or debris accumulated on the vents. You can do this with a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth. Be sure to use a vacuum attachment so you don’t damage the vents.
Next, wipe down the vents with a vinegar/water solution to disinfect them and remove any lingering dirt. Finally, vacuum the area around the vents to pick up any dust and debris that may have been stirred up during the cleaning process. By cleaning the vents before you leave on vacation, you can rest assured that your home will be welcoming when you return.
4. Leave Your Vent and Registers Open
In addition to ensuring that your vents are clean, you also want to be sure that they are open and unobstructed. Some people are tempted to close vents in certain areas of their homes, especially rooms that are used infrequently. This is not a good idea, though. Closing vents can lead to several problems.
For one, it can cause your system to overheat, as it will work harder than usual to circulate air. This causes excess wear and tear and will drive up your energy bills. Additionally, closing vents can lead to stale air getting trapped in your home, creating an unpleasant smell when you return. Leaving vents and registers open will allow air to circulate freely and prevent poor indoor air quality.
5. Dust and Vacuum Your Home
Taking a few minutes to dust your home before you go can make a big difference for your HVAC system. Over time, dust can build up on your HVAC system’s coils and fan blades. This makes it harder for the system to circulate air, leading to increased energy usage and higher utility bills. A dusty HVAC system can even overheat and break down in extreme cases. A thorough dusting and vacuuming will reduce dirt and debris buildup on your coils, fan blades, and filter while you’re away.
6. Check for Leaks
Before leaving for vacation, check all the connections and valves for potential leaks in your HVAC system. Leaks can cause a decrease in efficiency and may even lead to water damage if they’re not fixed promptly. Look for moisture around pipes or fittings, and listen for a hissing sound coming from the system itself. If you find any leaks, be sure to have them repaired by a professional before leaving for vacation.
7. Invest in a Smart Home Technology System
With a smart thermostat, you can adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere in the world. This means that you can keep your home comfortable no matter where you are. If there’s a sudden heat wave or cold snap, you can adjust the temperature accordingly. You can also set up alerts to notify you if the temperature in your home drops below a certain level.
And if you have any problems with your system while you’re away, you can easily troubleshoot them remotely. A smart home technology system can help you save money on your energy bills. By monitoring your home’s energy usage, you can ensure that your HVAC system runs as efficiently as possible.
8. Schedule a Professional Maintenance Check
Before you head out on vacation, it’s important to schedule a professional maintenance check for your HVAC system. This will help to ensure that your system is running properly and that there are no potential issues that could cause problems while you’re away.
During a maintenance visit, our technician will clean the unit and perform a comprehensive inspection of all parts and components. They’ll also check for potential leaks and test the thermostat and controls to ensure they work properly. After getting an HVAC tune-up from the experts at Environmental Heating & Air Solutions, you can have peace of mind that your unit is in good shape and you won’t return home to any unpleasant surprises.
Rely on the Experts
Don’t let a broken-down HVAC system ruin your vacation. By following these simple steps, you can rest assured that your home will stay nice and cool while you’re away enjoying some well-deserved time off. If you have any questions or want assistance prepping your HVAC system for vacation, reach out to Environmental Heating & Air Solutions. We provide comprehensive heating and cooling services in Roseville, CA and the surrounding area. We also offer a full range of air quality and plumbing services, as well as home automation and energy-efficiency solutions. Contact Environmental Heating & Air Solutions for more information or to set up an appointment.