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Is It Safe to Leave Your Air Conditioner On When You’re Not Home?


The summer season is synonymous with travel for many families in the Ocean Isle Beach area! Whether you’re out of town on vacation or for work, many homeowners wonder whether it’s safe to leave the air conditioner on when they’re not home? A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical explains what to do with your air conditioner when you head out of town for extended periods, as well as what could happen if you don’t treat the system properly in your absence. 

Cooling the Home When You’re Out of Town

We’re used to air conditioners operating at a certain temperature to keep living areas comfortable when the family is home. However, when you leave for vacation, your home will be vacant for an extended period of time.

While it makes financial sense to shut off the cooling system and save money on electricity while you’re gone, you do not want to turn the air conditioner off completely when leaving the house for extended periods. Even so, that doesn’t mean you should run the cooling system at the same temperatures you would on a normal day at home. Instead, a vacation is a perfect time to set back temperatures to generate energy savings while still ensuring your home is protected in your absence.

Before you leave town for your summer vacation, adjust the thermostat to set the temperature between 80 to 85 degrees, or about 7 to 10 degrees higher than normal. Use the vacation mode or hold feature on your programmable or smart thermostat to temporarily interrupt regular temperature settings for this period. This way, you won’t have to reset your daily temperature schedules upon your return.

If you have pets, don’t turn the thermostat back as drastically, depending on the type of animal you have. If a pet sitter will be visiting your dog or cat while you’re away, don’t let indoor temperatures climb above 80 degrees. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the right air conditioning settings for your pet, as breeds with flat faces like Persians and Pugs are prone to overheating more so than others.

Is It Safe to Leave the Air Conditioner On When You’re Not Home?

When you head out of town for a few days, a week, or even more, it’s much safer to leave the cooling system running than to turn it off. This is because summer conditions can cause damage inside your home if there is no AC unit running to help keep them under control.

Air conditioners don’t just cool the air – they also help remove excess humidity through the cooling process. If you turn your AC off before leaving on vacation, the home loses its line of defense against humidity. With relative humidity levels already naturally higher here along the coast, leaving your home locked up without air conditioning could result in excessively high relative humidity levels and serious moisture problems in the home.

High moisture in the home can cause issues such as:

  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Peeling paint and wallpaper
  • Water stains on ceilings and walls
  • Rot in wood flooring, furniture, and other items
  • Rusting of mechanical appliances and fixtures

Protect Your Home and Save While You’re Away!

Before you leave on vacation, set back temperatures but keep the air conditioner running to save money and protect your home. If you are in need of air conditioning services for your Ocean Isle Beach area home, call A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical to set up an appointment with a heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality professional.

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