If you’re like most people, you look forward to your yearly vacation but not to the days leading up to it. That’s because preparing for a vacation is usually filled with a mad dash to get things done before you unplug. Although we here at American Air, Plumbing, and Electrical don’t want to add more items to your pre-vacation to-do list, there are some things you need to do to prepare your home’s HVAC for when you’re going to be away.

1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter

When you’re going on vacation, the last thing you’ll want to do is come home to stale, dusty air. That’s why leading up to a vacation is the perfect opportunity to replace your furnace’s air filter with a new, clean one. This will not only help your HVAC to operate more efficiently but also to more effectively remove pollutants from your home’s air.

You should also take this as an opportunity to think about upgrading your HVAC’s air filter to a more effective one. Most residential HVAC systems come standard with air filters that achieve a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of between 4 and 6. That type of filter should trap some of the pollen, dust mites, and other contaminants contained in your home’s air. However, you can purchase a filter with a higher MERV rating for your HVAC.

You should check your HVAC system’s user guide to find out the highest filter MERV rating it supports. If you buy one with a rating that’s too high, it might impede proper airflow through your HVAC. By upgrading your HVAC’s air filter, you will help it last longer and meaningfully improve your home’s air quality at the same time.

2. Clean Around Your Outdoor Unit

If you’re going on vacation in the summer, you should clean up around your HVAC’s outdoor unit before leaving. Debris in and around your outdoor unit could impair your HVAC’s ability to function properly. Ideally, you should make sure there’s at least one foot of unobstructed space on all sides of your outdoor unit. This will help support efficient heat transfer between your outdoor unit and the outside air. Also, it reduces the odds that a sudden gust of wind could push debris into your outdoor unit and damage it.

3. Close Your Blinds and Curtains

No matter what time of year you’re going on vacation, it’s a good idea to close your home’s blinds and curtains when you’re going away. In the summer, this will block out heat from the sun and reduce the load on your HVAC system. In the winter, it will trap more heat inside your home. According to the Department of Energy, closed, medium-colored curtains can prevent 33% of the heat gains your home would otherwise experience during the summer days. And they can also prevent up to 10% of the heat losses your home would otherwise suffer on cold winter days. This will also help to keep the temperature inside your home stable by preventing large temperature swings between the day and night.

4. Open All Your Home’s Vents

It’s a good idea to open up your home’s vents and interior doors before you leave for your vacation. This will help to ensure proper airflow throughout your home. It will also further improve your indoor air quality and reduce the load on your HVAC system. If possible, this is a habit you should get into even when you’re home. It’s a great way to maximize the comfort provided by your HVAC system while lengthening its lifespan by reducing unnecessary wear and tear.

5. Choose the Right Thermostat Settings

Decide on the proper thermostat setting to maintain your home’s temperature while you’re away. If you have any pets at home, you will need to set your thermostat to keep things comfortable for them. In the summer, this means never turning your thermostat higher than 82 degrees Fahrenheit, although a few degrees lower than that is preferable. And in the winter, you shouldn’t leave your thermostat any lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don’t have any pets in your home, you have a bit more latitude with your vacation time thermostat settings. In the summer, it’s generally a good idea to turn your thermostat up by about five degrees from where you keep it while you’re home. That way, it won’t take long for your thermostat to reach your desired temperature when you return. And in the winter, you should never leave your thermostat set any lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re away. This will help make sure you don’t experience any indoor pipe freezing.

6. Consider Installing a Smart Thermostat

You might want to install a smart thermostat as part of your HVAC vacation preparations. Doing so will make it possible for you to monitor conditions in your home while you’re away. You can also save money on your heating and cooling costs by utilizing programmed settings. A smart thermostat will allow you to change your thermostat’s settings while you’re away, making adjustments as needed.

With a smart thermostat installed, you’d have an advance warning if your home’s HVAC malfunctioned while you were vacationing. That way, you could contact a relative or someone else you trust to check on your home before you return. A smart thermostat could also sense your impending return by way of your phone’s geolocation data. You’ll return to a comfortable home that’s already at your desired temperature.

7. Schedule a Maintenance Visit

You should be sure that your HVAC is in good working order before you leave for vacation. The best way to do that is to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment before you go.

During that visit, one of our expert HVAC technicians will check your HVAC system’s major components, clean your system’s coils and fans, and replace your system’s air filter. If they notice anything amiss, they’ll let you know so you can have it fixed before you leave.

This is especially important if you’re taking your vacation in the winter. If your HVAC failed while you were away, your home’s pipes could freeze and rupture. You need your HVAC system to keep your home at a minimum temperature to avoid issues.

Your Local HVAC Experts

Whenever you need an HVAC company you can trust with your home and comfort, call American Air, Plumbing, and Electrical. We’re a family-owned business that’s served homeowners in the Oviedo, FL, area since 1986, offering value-driven HVAC services, including installation, repair, and maintenance. We offer the latest in ductless HVAC systems and heat pumps to guarantee that you have the best comfort options available. Plus, we provide indoor air quality services, ductwork, and duct cleaning services. We are on call 24/7 for emergency services, so you never have to worry about going without a functional HVAC system for any longer than necessary.

For HVAC maintenance and all of your other HVAC system needs in Oviedo, FL, call the team at American Air, Plumbing, and Electrical today.

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