You know that feeling of anxiety when preparing to leave on vacation? You double-check the locks, make sure all your lights are off, and put a “Go Away” sign on your door. What if there was one more thing you could check off your list? One often-forgotten task that can save money and energy and give you peace of mind is prepping your air conditioning unit for vacation. Before you go away, here are a few steps to help ensure your AC works properly before you return from vacation.

1. Change Your Filter

The air filter in your AC unit captures dust and other particles, helping to maintain indoor air quality in your home. When left unchanged for an extended period, the filter can become clogged with dirt and debris, making it difficult for air to flow properly through the unit. A clogged filter can also cause the AC motor to work harder than necessary, leading to higher energy costs.

Additionally, a clogged air filter can lead to health problems such as allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments if not taken care of. A clean filter will help ensure your AC works correctly, even while on vacation. Additionally, it helps the air quality inside your home stay at its best, so you return to a fresh and comfortable environment. For this reason, schedule a professional HVAC technician to replace or clean the air filter before you leave.

2. Check the Thermostat

Thermostats help regulate the temperature in your home. If you’re leaving on vacation for an extended time, you’ll want to check that the settings are correct so you don’t have an unnecessary spike in energy bills.

Before you leave, adjust the thermostat to a higher setting than normal (around 85 degrees F). This will allow your unit to cool down less often while still maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the home. Additionally, ensure it is set to “Auto” instead of “On” mode when you leave. This ensures the fan doesn’t run continuously and wastes energy while no one is home.

3. Clean Around the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit of your AC system is responsible for dissipating heat from inside your home and circulating cooled air through its vents. To ensure that the unit can do its job properly, check for any plant growth or debris that may be blocking the airflow from the unit. Cut back trees and shrubs in the area, remove leaves and other debris, such as twigs or stones that might have gathered near the outside unit, and ensure nothing obstructs it from doing its job effectively.

Additionally, clean up any dirt or grime on the front of the AC using a soft cloth dampened with mild detergent and water. However, if you notice anything unusual or out of the ordinary, such as a loud noise coming from the unit, or foul smells, it is best to get in touch with a professional HVAC technician who can properly diagnose and address the issue.

4. Schedule a Professional Maintenance Appointment

Cleaning and checking the AC yourself may seem like a good idea. However, it is important to realize that some tasks should only be performed by a professional HVAC technician. By scheduling an appointment with a professional, you can know that your AC system has been properly checked and serviced before you leave on vacation. For residents of Dallas-Fort Worth, Bacon Plumbing Heating Air Electric provides quality AC maintenance and repair services so you can have peace of mind while away.

A qualified technician will also check for any potential issues, ensure the unit is working correctly, and recommend any necessary repairs or replacements if needed. They will also clean any dust or debris from the filters and coils of the unit, lubricate moving parts where applicable, and ensure all connections are secure and functioning properly.

5. Check for Leaks

Taking a quick stroll around the house to check for water leaks is a great way to protect your home from potential damage while you’re away. Look in and around your AC unit, inside cabinets, near windows, under sinks, and in other areas that might have been exposed to moisture or water damage.

Also, ensure all the hoses and other connections to the AC unit are secure and in good condition. If there is any visible water leakage around the AC, seek the help of a professional HVAC technician immediately as this could indicate a more serious problem with your system that may escalate even more as you are out on vacation.

6. Check Refrigerant Levels

Low levels of refrigerant can lead to poor cooling performance and decreased efficiency. Before you leave for your vacation, checking the levels of your AC’s refrigerant is important. This should always be done by a professional, as attempting this yourself could result in serious injury from exposure to toxic gases.

If your unit’s refrigerant levels are low, the technician can recharge the system with enough coolant for optimal operation during your absence. This will help ensure that your home stays at a comfortable temperature while you’re away without worrying about unnecessary energy consumption or costly repairs when you return.

7. Set a Timer

Once everything is in order, you can set your AC on a timer while you’re gone. This will allow the unit to cool down for short periods throughout the day and keep your home comfortable without running continuously and wasting energy. Make sure to check with your HVAC technician about their recommendation for settings before leaving to ensure your unit is working properly even when you’re away from home.

When setting the timer, give your AC enough time to cool down the house before it turns off again. A good example is to set it to run for two hours in the morning and again late in the afternoon. This should provide enough cool air throughout the day without using up too much energy while you’re gone. This will also ensure you don’t return home to an uncomfortably hot and stuffy environment.

8. Check Vents and Ducts

The vents and ducts contribute to the overall efficiency of your AC system. Before leaving on vacation, it is important to check that all vents and ducts are clear from dust, debris, or pests. If you find any blockages, it is best to contact a professional who can properly clean and inspect the area for further problems. Also, ensure all vents are open, and nothing has been placed on them that may obstruct airflow. This includes furniture, rugs, or other items that could be blocking the air from coming out of the vents.

9. Avoid Unnecessary Usage

As a final step, unplugging all electronic devices and turning off the lights before you leave is important. Electronic devices release heat while they’re plugged in, and this can cause your AC to work harder than necessary, which, in turn, will lead to a higher energy bill. It is also a good idea to keep your blinds and curtains closed while you’re away. This will prevent sunlight from entering the home and make the AC do minimal work to keep your home cool.

Leaving on vacation can be a stressful experience, especially when you have to worry about the safety and comfort of your home while you’re away. By taking these steps in preparing your AC before leaving for vacation, you can rest assured knowing that your home will remain cool and comfortable throughout your absence. From cleaning around the outside unit, scheduling an appointment with a professional technician, checking for leaks and refrigerant levels, setting a timer, and double-checking your vents and ducts, these tips will provide you with peace of mind on your trip.

Bacon Plumbing Heating Air Electric provides a wide range of services, including cooling, heating, plumbing, drain and sewer, and electric services. Our team of qualified technicians is here to help you with all your needs and dispel any concerns you may have. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

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