Your summer vacation is supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating. If you come home to a sky-high AC bill, or worse yet, get a phone call from your neighbor that your AC unit has blown into their yard, that relaxation will be ruined. Thankfully, you can prevent most AC-related problems by doing a little preparation before you head to the airport or set off on your summer road trip.
Change Your AC Filter
A dirty AC filter makes your system work harder, raising your energy bills. When you're not home to vacuum up pet dander and dust your home regularly, more debris is going to make its way into your ducts and onto the filter. So, change your filter preemptively before you leave to keep your energy bills in check. This will also decrease the changes of your system freezing over while you're gone, as a dirty filter reduces heat transfer and can cause the system to super-cool itself.
Raise the Temperature
There's no need to cool your home to 68 or 70 when you're not there. In most cases, it should be safe to raise your home temperature to 76 or 78. Turning up the temperature not only reduces your energy bill, it also reduces how hard your AC unit needs to work. And less work translates to a lower chance of breakdowns and malfunctions while you're away. Household products are perfectly safe at these temperatures, and your home won't feel super-sweltering when you do arrive home. If you have a programmable thermostat that lets you adjust the temperature by the date, you can set it to lower the temperature back down on the day you plan to return.
Secure Your Outdoor Unit
Is your outdoor AC unit anchored securely to the concrete pad beneath it? If not, it could get blown to the side during a wind storm while you're away. You can secure the unit yourself with hurricane straps, which are metal slings that fit around the unit and attach to the concrete below. Find them in your local home improvement store, and then use a drill bit made for concrete to attach them. Your HVAC technician can do this for you if you don't have the necessary tools or DIY skills.
Your summer vacation should be a relaxing experience, not an HVAC nightmare. Follow these tips before you go, and your AC system will be just fine without you. For more tips, check out sites like http://www.smedleyservice.com.