You wouldn't leave your home for vacation without cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash, or turning off the lights. But most people don't spare much thought to their HVAC systems when going away. Without some thoughtful preparation, you could return home to a heater or AC that doesn't work or worse. These HVAC preparation tips will help ensure you don't come home to any surprises!
Install A Surge Protector
Installing a surge protector for the HVAC system is a good idea whether you're home or out of town, but it can give you extra peace of mind when you can't keep an eye on things yourself. A power outage or surge could cause irreparable damage to your HVAC system, resulting in expensive repairs or even the need for a new heater installation. Because handling any electrical component can be dangerous, it's important to have a qualified HVAC technician install the surge protector for you.
Set The Thermostat
Many people turn their HVAC systems off when away, but we don't advise doing this. During the colder winter months, it's important to minimize the chance that your pipes will freeze. Keeping the unit on will also circulate the air and ensure that you don't come back to a home with stale air. Turn the thermostat down four degrees lower than you would normally have it set at.
Check Your Filter
Even though you'll only be away for a short time, the air filter should be checked and changed if it's dirty. Because the HVAC unit will still be running while you're gone, you want to ensure that the system can filter the air correctly to maintain good air quality. Additionally, a dirty air filter can cause other maintenance issues because it essentially chokes the airflow through the unit. When changing your filter, choose the correct MERV rating for your unit as an incorrect size can reduce the entire system's efficiency and cause other problems.
Keep Air Vents Open
It's important not to close off the vents in any room, even if it's a room that you usually don't go into when you're home. The issue with closing any vents is that it doesn't divert the air to other rooms, as many people assume, but instead causes pressure to build up and leak into the walls, wasting that precious cool air. In addition to keeping vents open, you should also check that each vent is not blocked by any furniture, carpeting, or artwork.
Get Maintenance Before
Routine HVAC maintenance is always important, but it's especially essential to catch any issues before you go away on a longer vacation. If something breaks down while you're gone, it can cause additional problems such as water damage and fire hazards. An HVAC technician will inspect the system to ensure everything is running properly and provide any tune-ups or repairs as needed so that small issues don't become expensive hassles.
Seal Up The House
While not having to do with the HVAC system directly, ensuring that there are proper seals on all doors and windows can help reduce energy loss. You should also close the blinds and drapes or curtains before you leave. Not only does this add a layer of security while you're away, but also insulates the home, keeping the warm air in and helping the AC to work more efficiently.