As you plan to leave for summer vacation, you may want to prepare your system for the warm season ahead. Leaving your AC running with the regular settings could raise your utility bills. But switching it off is not always a good idea either. Read on to find out what configuration settings are best when you are away on vacation.
Reasons to Keep Your AC on While You Are Away
When going on a vacation, we are advised to unplug electronics to avoid wastage through vampire power. Appliances can draw electrical power even when they are not in use. While it may be tempting to switch off your AC to save energy, there are several reasons to keep it running.
The sweltering summer heat in Irving can damage valuables in your home. Temperatures that hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit could impact the function of sensitive electronic devices. The fluctuating temperatures may cause wood and concrete to crack, weakening structures in the process.
Furthermore, food in the cupboard will degenerate much faster with high temperatures. Your refrigerator will work harder in extreme heat, consuming substantial amounts of energy.
Other than high temperatures, another major issue is humidity. Your AC can eliminate moisture in your home through the action of the evaporator coils. Even though your AC has some limitations for humidity control, it can draw out the water vapor.
According to the EPA, the ideal moisture levels should be between 30% and 50%. Above 55%, wooden furniture will warp, and the coating on the wall will begin to peel. Humidity is often responsible for microbial growth. So, you may want to keep your AC on while away on vacation to prevent mold and mildew infestation.
Is 78 Degrees the Ideal Setting for Summer?
According to the Department of Energy, the best AC setting for summer is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A setting of 78 degrees is often ideal because it offers the best of both comfort and energy savings. However, this temperature setting is for when people are at home. While away on vacation, you may want to increase the temperature setting slightly since your comfort is not a risk.
If your only aim is to save energy, then turning off your AC is one possible option. But since that will not protect your home, the best thing is to turn your thermostat up. A building that does not have adequate insulation will heat up faster. Furthermore, your house will experience more adverse effects from the high summer temperatures.
You can set your thermostat at around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on how long you will be away and if you have pets, however, even that temperature might not work. The weather will also determine the best setting for balancing your comfort needs and energy savings. With that said, a thermostat set to 80 to 82 degrees is a good starting point for most situations.
Length of Your Stay and Ideal Settings
Another factor you have to consider is the length of time you will be away. If you’re leaving for two to three days, you can raise the settings by 5 to 7 degrees. The higher configuration will allow for some conditioning of interior temperatures.
Your AC will also get rid of humidity with those settings. Keep in mind that the higher the humidity, the more uncomfortable it is in the summer heat. A 78-degree setting with over 55% humidity will feel like 84 degrees at normal moisture levels.
The human body regulates temperatures through perspiration. If the atmosphere is humid, then you will have to take extra efforts to stay cool during Irving’s hot summer months. Depending on the level of moisture in your home, you may require a dehumidifier.
Therefore, you should consider a dehumidifier, especially if you will be away for a week or more. A dehumidifier can improve the performance of your AC and enhance your comfort when levels are over 60% in Texas. You can consult Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating comfort specialists for a wide range of indoor air quality solutions in Irving.
Ideal Temperatures for Pets While You Are Away
You could turn up the thermostat’s settings while on vacation to save energy and maintain the interior conditions. But that also depends on whether you have cats and dogs. Pets are sensitive to extreme temperatures and can suffer a heat stroke.
It is also worth noting the settings will vary depending on the animal’s physiology. Dogs regulate body temperatures through panting. When it is hot and muggy in your Irving home, they may struggle to remain cool.
The interior conditions in summer will be much worse for pups with double coats. For most dogs, the temperature shouldn’t be over 80 degrees. Furthermore, you may want to ensure cold water is available to help keep your pet cool.
Cats and birds have smaller bodies that lose heat at a much faster rate. They can tolerate warm interior air better than dogs. Since your feline is much more sensitive to lower temperatures, thermostat settings between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit are recommended.
Also, note that the ideal settings for summer may vary among dogs and cats of different breeds and sizes. You ought to double-check the temperatures for your pet from your veterinarian or other credible sources. All in all, keeping the AC on is the best approach to interior comfort for pets when you are away.
Why Use a Smart Thermostat?
Temperatures can vary throughout the season and even within the same day. The best way to balance indoor temperatures and energy consumption is by using a programmable thermostat. The device allows you to create multiple profiles for different situations while you are away on vacation.
Programmable devices can learn the patterns of your movements and adjust accordingly. For example, if you are going away for two days, the thermostat will raise temperatures to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Hours before you return, it will start cooling so that your home is comfortable when you step through the door.
The advantage of a programmable thermostat is that it maintains interior temperatures and avoids overworking the AC. Smart devices can also incorporate weather data to balance air conditioning and energy consumption.
Some systems have a vacation mode that makes configuring your cooling systems more convenient. With Wi-Fi capabilities, you can check on the configurations to determine if the conditions are ideal for your pet. Because your AC only runs when it has to, you can cut down your energy bills and prevent premature breakdowns.
Tips for Maximizing Energy Savings
Other than using a thermostat, you can maximize energy savings by taking a few practical steps. Keep the blinds and curtains closed to prevent ambient heat from sunlight in summer. Unplug other electronics so that they do not increase indoor temperatures when running.
Additionally, the efficiency of your air conditioner is essential in managing consumption and maintaining comfort. At Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating, we recommend tuning up your air conditioning unit at least once a year in Irving. Ideally, that should be in spring before the warm season begins.
You can rely on our BBB-accredited team for quality maintenance, repair, and installation solutions for HVAC equipment. We are a Lennox Premier Dealer and can troubleshoot virtually any brand of HVAC equipment. We also provide indoor air quality solutions and services for smart home systems. Contact Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating today for more information or to schedule an appointment.