Summer Vacation for Your Air Conditioner?

It’s summertime and you’re headed out of town. While you’ve stopped the mail and held the newspaper, have you determined what to do with your air conditioner? Many people may leave the air conditioning running at full blast, but unless you’re leaving a pet behind, you’re wasting energy - and money - to refrigerate an empty home.

But don’t hit the off switch. When you leave town for a business trip or vacation, be sure to turn your thermostat up (to conserve energy and cut costs), but don’t shut it off completely. With the extreme humidity that the DC area is known for, you don’t want a home without regulated drier air falling victim to moisture and mold that can wreak havoc on your wood furniture, floors, walls, and other belongings. Without some AC running, your home could turn into a virtual oven, baking everything in it!

If you have a programmable thermostat, you’ve got a great tool for regulating what you expend – and spend – on keeping your home cool. Maintain a higher temp (perhaps 75-78 degrees), on the days that you’re away, and bring it down closer to 70-72 degrees on the day that you expect to return. A programmable thermostat is a solid investment, in that it allows you to regulate the off-peak hours when you’re not home, such as when you’re out of town or simply at work or asleep.

To keep your home cool, utilize blinds and shades to block out the strong summer rays. Run appliances like dishwashers and washing machines in the evening, and keep your energy use to a minimum.  Don’t tax your air conditioning unit with dirty filters – make sure you are changing them regularly. It’s an inexpensive and effective way to maintain an efficient HVAC system.

So before you hit the road, shut the shades, power off the appliances, and crank up your AC unit. And of course, don’t forget your sunscreen!

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