Planning for an extended trip away from home? In a perfect world, you would be able to throw your luggage in the car and hit the road! In reality, preparing for a long trip is stressful. Besides the average packing, travel, and accommodation details, your home also requires a lot of attention before you can take off.
One aspect of your home that is often forgotten about when planning an extended vacation is your HVAC system. Your HVAC system is the nerve center behind your comfort level. When you’re planning to be away, it’s imperative that you make arrangements to keep that nerve center in optimal condition.
Many travelers do not realize the importance of prepping their heating and air conditioning systems until it is too late and disaster strikes while they’re far away. This article is designed to help keep your system running smoothly, so you can enjoy your time away. We will go over why it’s so important to prep your HVAC and the best way to do so, along with some other helpful (but often forgotten about) tips on prepping.
Is It Really Important To Prepare My HVAC System For A Long Vacation?
As mentioned above, your HVAC system is the nerve system in your home. It’s by far the number one contributor to your comfort level. Without this system, you would not be able to stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Your HVAC system is also responsible for keeping your air quality at its best.
Unfortunately, when left to its own devices, your HVAC system can cause some serious damage; especially when it’s not maintained and prepped for an extended time away. In a lot of cases, HVAC emergencies are caused by small problems that escalate while a homeowner is away.
For example; a leaking pipe (if found right away) can be repaired easily. Left unattended, a small leak can eventually cause a flood, mold, and mildew growth in your walls and ceiling, and in some cases, it can cause a house fire.
Another misconception a lot of homeowners have is to turn their HVAC system off completely before they leave. While this may save some money, it can actually do a lot more damage than you think. In the winter, you run the risk of having your pipes freeze, while in the summer, you run the risk of having moisture build-up and potential mold growth.
Best HVAC Prep For Your Extended Getaway
Now that you know the reasons why it’s important to prep your HVAC for your extended stay away from home, we’ll give you the best practices for actually preparing your unit.
Though it may sound like a lot of extra work with everything you already need to take care of, the steps are fairly easy and can save you a lot more stress down the road.
- Regulate Your Thermostat: Experts have recommended that you should keep your home approximately 7 degrees higher in the summer or lower in the winter. If you have a smart thermostat, you may also have vacation features that can allow you to operate your system while you are away. This is particularly handy during the winter when inclement weather can play a bigger role.
- Inspect Your Pipes: As mentioned above, a pipe leak can cause some major damage while you are away. To prevent this from happening, do a quick inspection of your pipes to make sure they are in good condition.
- Clean Your Air Filters: There’s nothing worse than coming home from a vacation to a dust palace. Your air filters work to eliminate the dust, allergens, and germs from the air. While on an extended vacation, your air filters can get clogged and build up debris in your air. Clogged air filters can also cause many other serious issues; the most serious being a complete system failure.
- Surge Protectors: Another important step is to make sure you have surge protectors in place. This will protect your unit from power surges that happen every day; along with more powerful surges that can be caused by lightning and other inclement weather.
- Clear Debris: If you have an outdoor unit, it’s a good idea to make sure you have cleared the unit of any fallen debris that could clog or damage your HVAC while you are away.
- Routine Maintenance: Routine maintenance may not sound like something that would be associated with an extended vacation, but it’s actually a very good idea. Most experts recommend that you have annual (if not more often) maintenance done on your HVAC unit. If you’re planning on being away from home for an extended time, you may want to consider having the maintenance performed a week or so before you leave. This way, any issues will be caught and repaired.
Other Helpful Tips
Now that your HVAC system is well taken care of, we have a few other tips and tricks to help you prepare your home for an extended trip.
- Leave lights on to deter thieves.
- Park your car inside your garage to protect it from thieves and inclement weather.
- Make arrangements for your mail to be picked up or help at the post office.
- Leave your itinerary with a neighbor, family member, or friend.
- Set your security alarms and notify your security company you will be away.
- Check to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
- Throw out all garbage and clean out your fridge.
- Unplug as many appliances and electronics as possible. Also, turn the water off to your sinks, dishwasher, and washing machine.
We Can Help You Prep Your HVAC
At Total Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing, we understand the necessity of preparing your HVAC system for your extended time away. We also understand that many homeowners are not comfortable inspecting an HVAC system for leaks and repairs before they depart.
We are here to help! We are available for repairs, routine maintenance, and emergency service. Call us today to set an appointment at (540) 373-9780, so you can enjoy your vacation knowing your home is safe and secure!