Summer means it’s time to go on a much-awaited family vacation. Before you leave for your trip, it’s important that you make sure you have your house in good order. You don’t want to come back from your vacation to a house that is too hot. Among the essential things that you have to get right before leaving is setting your air conditioning. You are likely wondering—what do I set my AC to before I leave for vacation?
At Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we receive numerous phone calls from our customers asking this question. We are a Sacramento-based air conditioning services provider that has been serving the community here since 1959. We can leverage our knowledge and experience to provide you with a comprehensive guide for setting your AC when you leave your home for an extended period.
The Dangers of Not Setting Your AC Right
You should know that there are some risks to not setting your AC right, especially when it comes to temperature. Here are four primary risks that you should be aware of.
Mold and Mildew Growth
In our more than 60 years of serving homeowners in Sacramento and the surrounding regions, we have observed that homeowners who left their ACs in a cooler setting when going on a vacation would come home to find mold and mildew growth. This is despite the fact that Sacramento is pretty hot and mostly dry. This means that if you leave your AC in a cooler setting during times of higher humidity, such as during monsoon season, the mold and mildew growth problem will be amplified. These are the five things in your home that are highly affected by mold and mildew growth:
- Unstained wood fixtures and furniture
Additionally, having your AC unit blow cool air in your home while you are away can result in damaged electronics. The increased humidity in the house can cause water droplets to condense on metal surfaces, including the ones inside your electronics. The condensed water droplets can short-circuit the electronics or cause rusting and breaking down of the metal connectors. This is because most electronics are rated to handle humidity levels of 30% to 50%. Cooler AC settings can drive the humidity levels in the home beyond 60%.
Structural Damage to the Furniture and Home
On the other end of the spectrum is leaving your AC in a higher temperature setting. If you do this, you can expect to return and find structural damage to your furniture and home. This is because the higher temperatures inside your home will drive the interior humidity levels down. As a result, everything made of wood will dry out and warp, including the furniture, wooden floor, and your home’s structure. Here are four things to look out for to know if your home has structural damage:
- Swelling on the windows and door frames
- Peeling paint
- Cracking or splitting plaster
- Distorted wood flooring
Dried or Dead Plants
You might have plants inside your home to add a touch of nature to your interior and improve its aesthetic. If you go on a vacation with your AC at a higher temperature setting, you will find these plants dried out or dead when you come back.
The Perfect Setting
At Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we advise our customers to set their thermostats to a temperature between 80 and 85 degrees. This temperature range is neither too hot nor too cool, and in our experience, it does more than just protect what’s in your house. It’s also excellent for conserving energy as your AC doesn’t have to pull too much power. Therefore, you can expect a reasonable electrical bill when you come back for your vacation.
Moreover, you should set the fan to AUTO, not ON or OFF. Double-check this setting before you leave your home. If you leave the fan set to ON, it will constantly run, which means it will consume lots of electricity. In contrast, leaving the fan on OFF means that it won’t run at all, resulting in its own set of issues. However, having the AC fan set to AUTO will make it run only when needed and turn off when not required. Thus, you will be able to save lots of energy.
Our Recommendations Are Also Backed by Independent Research
Our recommendations for the perfect settings for your AC are also backed by independent research done by the Florida Solar Energy Center. Some years ago, the organization set up a study to analyze the impact of various AC settings on vacant homes. The research goal was to establish the perfect AC temperature setting for individuals who leave their homes for long periods.
After months of research, the Center concluded that the perfect AC temperature setting was 85 degrees. However, this research was conducted in Florida, which is more humid than California. Considering this, as a homeowner in California, you might be better off setting your thermostat’s temperature anywhere between 80 and 85 degrees. We have made this recommendation to thousands of our clients in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.
Should You Consider a Wi-Fi-Enabled Thermostat That You Can Program Remotely?
Technology advancements are impacting everything, even the humble thermostat in your home. Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats that you can program remotely are available for you to purchase. Maybe you have been considering getting one before you go on your vacation because you don’t want to come back and find your house is toasty due to improper AC settings. So, should you get one?
The answer depends on several factors. First, you should know that Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats are pretty expensive compared to old-fashioned thermostats. On the other hand, these advanced thermostats allow you to have firmer control over the temperature inside your home, even from thousands of miles away, but you will need to have an internet connection to do this. Therefore, if you go to a remote part of the world with no internet connection for your trip or don’t have Wi-Fi at your home, the advanced thermostat won’t be of much use.
Our advice would be as follows: If you have Wi-Fi at home, your vacation destination has an internet connection, and you have the budget for it, get the advanced thermostat. Ensure that the model you are purchasing is from a reputable manufacturer and enlist experienced AC technicians to install and test it for you.
Let Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning AC Sort All Your Air Conditioning Needs
If you are looking for a reliable air conditioning services company, we are here for you. Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning has stood the test of time because we prioritize providing our customers with unbeatable services. This is why generations of Sacramento residents have trusted us with their AC service needs. We handle AC installation and AC maintenance and repair as well as heating installation and repair and indoor air quality testing. Contact us today to set up service.