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The vacation season has arrived in southern Manitoba. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway at the lake, a long weekend road trip across the boarder, or a 2-3 week vacation across the ocean, plans need to be made to ensure everything is looked after while you're gone. Have you considered your air conditioner in those plans? Ideally, you want to create the right environment to protect your home, but not waste money cooling an environment you are not there to experience.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), every degree you lower your home’s temperature below 25 costs you as much at 5% of your total cooling cost. Keeping your home slightly hotter while you are away will save on energy costs. The EPA recommends setting your home to 29 degrees while you are away on vacation.
Below are recommendations for shorter and longer home vacancies.
Taking a weekend vacation is an ideal opportunity to reduce energy consumption and save a few bucks doing so. Compromise between your typical thermostat setting and the EPA recommended 29 degree temperature. Even raising the temperature to 27 will reduce energy consumption with little noticeable effect.
Depending on the size and style of your home, you may not want to completely shut off your AC. Your cooling unit relies on circulated air to maintain consistent temperatures - turning it off completely may force your system to work harder than it needs to when you return home and turn it back on. A larger, well-insulated home with all curtains drawn should be able to hold temperatures without taking days to cool it back to your liking upon your return.
Leaving your home for 2 or 3 weeks may seem like an ideal time to completely shut down your AC. However, in extreme heat your home and belongings could get damaged. High heat can be damaging to wooden furniture, wallpaper and electronics. A tightly sealed home can build up tremendous heat during a heat wave - potentially becoming even hotter than it is outside due to lack of airflow.
Another reason the EPA suggests holding your temperature to 29 degrees is to avoid excessive humidity. A weekend getaway won't be enough time for mould to start, but over a 2-3 week period, mould growth could potentially become an issue. If you are lucky enough to have a dehumidifier attached to your cooling system, you can adjust it accordingly on your programmable thermostat - as long as you keep your unit on.
Lastly, run through a simple checklist to make sure your cooling unit is running smoothly while you are away. You would probably rather spend your money on the vacation then on a repair bill for your AC upon your return.
- Change your filters, dirty filters reduce airflow and lower your system's efficiency.
- Program your thermostat to hold a temp of 27 - 29 degrees.
- Clean the exterior unit to ensure maximum efficiency.
- Close all curtains to keep the hot sun out.
- Unplug unused electronics. You may not realize it, but many electronics in your home give off heat.
If you are planing a summer getaway, these simple considerations will ensure you are getting maximum savings on your energy bill, keep your home at a safe temperature and ensure you are not overworking your AC upon your return and lowering the settings to your normal.
At 4 Seasons Heating, Cooling & Electrical, we are experts in the cooling industry. We are trained to spot potential problems before they happen and have all the knowledge and expertise to repair your AC if you experience a breakdown. We are available 24/7 by phone at (204) 953-5700 or you can conveniently book an appointment online from any device on the go. Contact us today for all your heating, cooling, clean air, hot water and electrical needs.