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Should I Turn off My Air Conditioner When I Go on Vacation?

If you’re considering escaping your Northern California home for a little getaway with your family this summer, you may be wondering if you should turn off the air conditioner while you’re gone.

The answer is, probably not. Here’s why.

You may end up killing your refrigerator

If you turn off your air conditioner and your home is not well insulated, your home could become like an oven.

This can cause your refrigerator to work up to twice as hard as it normally does, increasing your energy bills and possibly causing enough stress to the refrigerator to kill it.

You may end up damaging your home

Air conditioners do more than cool your home – they also circulate your air and remove humidity. Many areas in Northern California, including the East Bay area and Sacramento, can have days of high humidity in the summer.

Normally, this humidity would be removed by your air conditioner. But if you shut it off while on vacation, the humidity can accumulate. This can lead to:

  • Swelling doors
  • Mold
  • Cracking plaster
  • Buckling wood floors


Your food can spoil

Even the food in your pantry can become spoiled if its left at too high of a temperature. For example, chocolates can melt and make a mess.

It’s also been reported that corks in wine bottles can come out if the temperature is too hot. And if your wine bottles are stored on their sides, this can be disastrous.

So what should I do?

Even though you probably shouldn’t turn your air conditioner off completely when you go on vacation this summer, you can still save energy by turning the setting up. We typically advise leaving the thermostat set at about 86 degrees. This will keep you from paying too much in air conditioning costs while still protecting parts of your home from the extreme heat.

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If you’re considering escaping your Northern California home for a little getaway with your family this summer, you may be wondering if you should turn off the air conditioner while you’re gone.

The answer is, probably not. Here’s why.

You may end up killing your refrigerator

If you turn off your air conditioner and your home is not well insulated, your home could become like an oven.

This can cause your refrigerator to work up to twice as hard as it normally does, increasing your energy bills and possibly causing enough stress to the refrigerator to kill it.

You may end up damaging your home

Air conditioners do more than cool your home – they also circulate your air and remove humidity. Many areas in Northern California, including the East Bay area and Sacramento, can have days of high humidity in the summer.

Normally, this humidity would be removed by your air conditioner. But if you shut it off while on vacation, the humidity can accumulate. This can lead to:

  • Swelling doors
  • Mold
  • Cracking plaster
  • Buckling wood floors


Your food can spoil

Even the food in your pantry can become spoiled if its left at too high of a temperature. For example, chocolates can melt and make a mess.

It’s also been reported that corks in wine bottles can come out if the temperature is too hot. And if your wine bottles are stored on their sides, this can be disastrous.

So what should I do?

Even though you probably shouldn’t turn your air conditioner off completely when you go on vacation this summer, you can still save energy by turning the setting up. We typically advise leaving the thermostat set at about 86 degrees. This will keep you from paying too much in air conditioning costs while still protecting parts of your home from the extreme heat.

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for our email newsletter to get more helpful articles delivered straight to your inbox.