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

May 14th, 2019

School’s out and families are getting ready for their annual summer vacation. If you’re considering escaping your Northern California home for a little getaway with the 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.

Extra stress on your refrigerator/freezer

If you turn off your air conditioner, the inside temperature of your home can become very warm. 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. In addition to a broken appliance, you’ll have to deal with a fridge full of smelly, spoiled food.

Spoiled food

Speaking of spoiled food, the food in your pantry can spoil if it’s 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.

Damage to your home and possessions

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, experience days of high humidity in the summer.

Normally, this humidity gets removed by your air conditioner (via the condensate drain line). But if you shut it off while on vacation, the humidity can accumulate. This can lead to:

  • Mold
  • Cracking plaster
  • Peeling paint
  • Warping wood floors, doors, artwork, and other items

If you turn your air conditioner off, it won’t be able to remove the excess humidity from the air, leaving your home vulnerable to the problems above. High heat and humidity can also harm sensitive electronics, musical instruments, art, and other prized possessions.

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 recommend leaving the thermostat set at about 80–86 degrees. This will keep you from paying too much in air conditioning costs while still protecting parts of your home from the extreme heat.

Keep in mind that if you have pets or plants, you probably shouldn’t set the thermostat any higher than 80 degrees.

Don’t forget to use the “vacation” or “hold” function so your programmable thermostat doesn’t go back to your normal schedule. There are also WiFi-connected thermostats that allow you to monitor and adjust the thermostat settings from your phone or computer.

Learn how to protect your home and save money while on vacation.

If you haven’t scheduled professional air conditioning maintenance yet, call Service Champions today for our limited-time $78 AC Tune-Up with Free Duct Inspection. To save even more energy and money at home, sign up for our MVP Maintenance Value Plan.

Service Champions is known for trustworthy, on-time heating and air conditioning service throughout the East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.

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