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?

Save Energy While Running AC

You need an air conditioning unit to save your own energy, but how do you save consumable energy?

Heat burns us out. We have to stay cool to maintain physical and mental health, but it’s hard to be comfortable when you’re stressing about energy usage.

Warners’ Stellian is an expert in heating and cooling, and we know some tricks to prevent energy bills from racking up. Now, we’re going to share them with you.

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Before the season starts

First of all, have your unit inspected and ensure it gets its maintenance each year. If it needs cleaning out, it will work 10 times harder to produce normal results. This is especially important if you live around trees.

You should also check your ducts to be sure the areas they cool are well insulated.

While your AC unit is running

Sunlight gives direct heat when it beats in through the windows. Keep the drapes closed so the AC can do its job. This also encourages you to go outside more! Andy Lindus, COO of Lindus Construction also cautions not to skimp on the quality of your windows.  “Triple pane windows that are specifically designed for the extreme Minnesota temperature swings can help prevent your HVAC system from failing prematurely due to overexertion.”

Misplacement of furniture can block the pathways for which cool air travels through. Rearrange your furniture so that it’s not in the way of any vents.

Remember that electric lights create heat. Try to keep them off unless they are needed. Another suggestion would be to switch to LED lights. 

Don’t underestimate fans. Fans will support your unit and help regulate air so it fills the room better. Fans do produce a cooling effect as well, so they can make an impact when your unit is running low or turned off.

Learn to use the “sleep mode” properly. Some of us get hot in our sleep, but your unit should be turned down at some point to prevent overuse. It’s best to adjust to a cycle where the unit runs low when there’s no natural sunlight. If you currently don’t have this feature, you can contact your energy company to install a saver switch that will cycle your unit.

Need help with your A/C? Fill out this short form to set up an appointment today.

Featured image: Electrolux

How To Keep Your House Cool

Not only is it important to keep the cold air inside, it’s important to not create more heat for your air conditioner to cool.

Here are some easy ways to make sure you’re not making more work for your AC!

Tips to Stay Cool

1. Run dishwasher, washer and dryer at night

If you’re in bed with a fan trained on you, the kitchen heating up won’t bother you as much…right?

2. Dry loads of clothes back to back

Though this seems to contract No. 1, the residual heat from the previous load will decrease the amount of time your dryer needs to do its magic.

3. Substitute the microwave for your range

Do you really need to use your stove, or can you boil that water or cook that soup in the microwave?

4. Don’t preheat!

If you must use your oven, just throw your food in right away to cut down on cook time. Unless you’re baking, who cares about being precise. Convection baking also will reduce the necessary temperature and time by 25 degrees and 25% respectively.

5. Cover pots and pans

You’ll prevent heat loss, boil and cook faster, thus you’ll shut off your stove faster.

6. Clean your refrigerator coils

The better your fridge exhausts heat, the less it runs, thus the less heat it will give off.
>> How to clean refrigerator coils

Window AC shortage means you better keep yours working

I’ve blogged previously about this summer’s air conditioning unit shortage, which will likely not be noticed until more retailers sell out (we still have stock; we were shipped 100% of our order.).

This weekend, my brother Joe Warner shared tips on what to know when buying a window AC, and more importantly, how to keep it working for summers to come.

>>Watch video here: How to maintain your window air conditioner

Really, maintenance becomes most relevant during a manufacturing shortage. If you don’t have a window air conditioner, you probably bought one or are buying one this week.

But what if you already have one, and it breaks down in the middle of July? You probably will be out of luck when trying to replace it. So stay cool and listen to my brother’s wisdom!

As always, professional installation and maintenance is a good investment to consider, and we offer easy (no-sweat, ha!) plans for you.

Like to Gamble? Wait to Buy your Window A/C

Not much saddened me more in my former life as a Warners’ Stellian store receptionist than the summer gamblers who’d just run out on their luck. Because everyone in town had just run out of window air conditioners.

Sweaty and restless (drowning in sweat makes it hard to breathe at night), the poor souls stumbled in and asked where our air conditioning was…as if I couldn’t tell what they were going to be shopping for on a mercury-busting, 90something-degree day.

And I’d have to break the news to them that their neighbors had beat them to the punch, and our stock was sold out.

Warners’ Stellian generally stocks so many window air conditioners that we’re last to sell among our competitors, but it happens every year, no fail.

This could be you.

Stores that carry A/Cs typically sell out of most sizes by early to mid-July, but it looks like stock will be gone even earlier this year. Most retailers selling air conditioning units weren’t shipped the full amount of units they tried to buy. Thankfully, we got 100% of our order.

But supplies are limited. Window air conditioners are a seasonal item, and there’s only so many of them. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

I’m not hating on the thrifty people. I buy generic “Ultrabright” toothpaste. I wait to see if my traffic ticket will pay itself…I get it.

But don’t gamble on this one. You won’t win. You don’t have to buy your air conditioner from us, but you should buy one before they’re gone.  Don’t wait to find out when that is.