Should You Turn Off Your Air Conditioner While on Vacation?

With the end of summer approaching and Labor Day right around the corner, vacation plans are in full swing. And often a hotly debated topic before hitting the road for your end-of-summer hoorah is whether you should turn off the air conditioner. And if you leave it on, what AC temperature should you set while on vacation? Our plumbing and HVAC services manager Joe Nguyen says if your primary goal is saving energy and money, then yes, turn off the AC (unless you’re leaving pets behind). But according to Nguyen, there’s more to it than that.

Vacation Length

If you’re making a quick weekend getaway, turning the AC off won’t realize big energy or cost savings. After all, the system will have to work harder to reach the desired temperature once you return. For longer vacations, consider the following.

Temperature and Humidity

When the temperature is mild, turning off your air conditioner isn’t a problem. However, high temperatures and humidity levels can quickly heat a home, causing other cooling appliances (refrigerator, freezer, etc.) to work overtime. And a malfunctioning refrigerator will cost more than leaving your air running.

Vacation Temperature Recommendation

Nguyen says the widely held recommendation is to just turn the air conditioner temperature up rather than powering it down. He recommends setting the thermostat between 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, using a programmable thermostat with WiFi capability, set the thermostat to cool the house to a comfortable temperature prior to your arrival home.

Nest thermostat on wall
Photo via Nest

Home Vacation Prep Tips

Now that the air conditioner dilemma is sorted out, protect your home appliances with these tips:

  • Close the curtains and blinds. This will keep your home cooler, giving your appliances a break!
  • Turn off the water to your home and home appliances. No one wants to come home to a leak or flood!
  • Put your refrigerator in vacation mode if you have that option.
  • Crack open the dishwasher and washing machine doors to air them out.
  • Turn your water heater down to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Last but not least, enjoy your vacation!

Do you turn off your AC before leaving on vacation? Why or why not?

Categories Air conditioning, Budget-wise, Energy Efficiency
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