Roughly 6 out of every 10 Americans took a vacation during 2017. At the same time, about 75% of all of the homes in the United States have air conditioners.
This means that many Americans are facing the same question every year: what AC setting should I use while I’m on vacation?
Your first instinct might be to simply turn your AC unit off so that you can save energy and money while you aren’t in the home. Actually, though, this is probably the wrong choice unless you live in an incredibly mild and dry climate.
What’s the right AC setting when you’re away on vacation, then? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
Vacation AC Setting: Why Do You Need to Use AC When You’re on Vacation?
While it might be obvious to you why you would want to leave the heat on if you last for a vacation in the winter, it might not be so obvious why you would keep the air conditioning on during a summer vacation. One of the things that your AC does during the summer is that it helps to reduce the level of humidity in the air. Here are some of the issues that can occur if you completely turn your AC off when you leave the house for an extended period of time.
Mildew and Mold Growth
If you turn your AC off before a vacation, you might come home to find some unpleasant musty scents in the air. This is because your air conditioning helps to dehumidify the air in your home in addition to keeping your home cool. If the humidity gets about 50% in your house, there is a good chance you will start to see mildew and mold growth.
Mold and mildew can grow on all kinds of surfaces, including carpet, insulation, wood, and food.
If the humidity levels indoors exceed 60%, it is possible that some of the components of your electronic devices could start to malfunction or breakdown. Considering that, for many of us, we have invested quite a bit into our electronics, it makes sense to protect them even when you aren’t home.
Indoor humidity can also cause structural damage. This includes warped wood flooring, peeling paint, splitting or cracking plaster, and swelling doors and window frames.
Lastly, if you are leaving a pet at home, you’ll want to make sure to leave the thermostat on a comfortable AC setting. It is possible that you will need to set it for a lower temperature than you would if you did not have pets in the house. You’ll want to check with your veterinarian about what the most comfortable temperature would be for your pets while you are away.
What AC Setting Should I Use While I’m on Vacation?
It can be incredibly tempting to just turn your AC off when you go on vacation. Why wouldn’t you want to save some money on your cooling bill when the house is empty? However, as discussed above, you will not want to expose your home too high levels of humidity or heat while you are gone.
As a general rule, you should not set the indoor temperature setting to any higher than 84° when you are away during the summer and the outdoor temperature is in the 90s. This will help you to save some money on your cooling bill while also ensuring that your home is not damaged by humidity and extreme heat.
Before you leave your home, you can close the curtains in order to help reduce the strain on your AC unit. This can help to keep your home cooler by blocking the afternoon sun.
You’ll also want to make sure that your thermostat fan is set to “auto” rather than “on.” If you simply leave the fan on, it means that it will run constantly. This means that you will likely spend more money than you want to on your cooling bill while you are on vacation. By leaving it on auto, your air conditioner will no to only run when it needs to, which can help you save money and conserve energy.
Which Types of Thermostats Are Best For When You’re on Vacation?
One of the benefits of having a thermostat with Wi-Fi is that you can check and adjust the temperature remotely. This means that if you left in a rush and were not able to program your thermostat, you can do so while you are on vacation. This also allows you to check and make sure that a house sister didn’t make any unnecessary adjustments to the indoor temperature setting.
Are you wondering if it’s worth it to upgrade to a smart/Wi-Fi thermostat this year? Check out our article on the topic here.
Is It Time For You to Get a New Thermostat?
Having a thermostat you can control remotely is a great way to never have to worry when you’re away on vacation. Whether you’re worried that you forgot to change the AC setting or you want to check up on where your house sitter is keeping the thermostat, you don’t have to worry and wonder anymore.
These thermostats come with a number of convenient features. For one, these thermostats gather usage data to start programming themselves around your habits so that you always have a comfortable AC setting in the summer and a cozy house in the winter!
Is it time for you to get a smart thermostat? If so, contact us to get a free estimate today!