Ready to leave for summer vacation? If you haven’t left Sarasota, Florida, for a relaxing vacation, now is the time, but not before you make sure that your home is as prepared for your vacation as you are. By pausing the packing and following some simple steps to get your home ready for your absence, you can relax knowing that your home is secure and operates at peak energy efficiency while you’re away. Set the thermostat, get an HVAC system checkup, and discover ways to keep your home in order while you’re away.
Make the Most of Your Thermostat
If you’re worried about wasting energy and money while you’re on vacation, then be sure to check your thermostat settings. Programmable and smart thermostats do wonders for homes whose owners are on vacation. If you don’t have a programmable or smart thermostat, consider getting one.
Before leaving your home, set your thermostat at a higher temperature, usually around 80 to 85 degrees. The greater the difference between the air inside and outside, the greater your energy costs will be. While you’re away, allow your home to get slightly warmer.
If you’re certain about your return date, you can program the thermostat to return your home to a cooler, more comfortable temperature. With a smart thermostat, you could adjust the thermostat with your smartphone and change any necessary program from the comfort of your vacation spot.
You might be tempted to turn off your air conditioner completely while you’re away to save some money, but no air conditioning isn’t a good idea.
Humidity and heat in the Florida air will heat your home significantly and could cause damage to any wood surfaces. Wood can rot with too much humidity and expand with too much heat. Fixing those problems would be much more expensive than leaving your air conditioner running and setting your thermostat at a slightly higher temperature.
Turn Off Your Home’s Main Water Supply
No one wants to come home to find leaky pipes have ruined some furniture, appliances, or flooring. Unfortunately, many vacationers come home to find their possessions damaged by water. To play it safe, turn off the main water supply to your home while you’re away. If you’re concerned about how this shutoff will affect other appliances, contact your licensed plumbing expert for other alternatives.
Concerned about the life of your flowers if you turn off your water supply? Don’t worry: Most sprinkler systems run on a separate water line distinct from the main water supply to your home.
If you’re going on an extended vacation, such as for several months, give your house key to a friend. Ask your house sitter to turn on the water once a month and run some faucets, the dishwasher, and flush toilets. This movement of water will keep your pipes from drying out.
Put Lights On a Timer
Empty homes are a prime target for thieves. Some perpetrators will watch homes — especially during the summer — to find out when a family will go on vacation. Don’t give any potential crooks any signs that you’re leaving. For example, don’t pack your car in the driveway; pack your vehicle inside a closed garage instead.
A great deterrent for thieves is to make your home appear as if you had never left. Set some lights on a timer in different rooms within the home. Set these timers to turn lights on and off at different times of the night. To anyone watching your home, these light settings will create an impression that someone is entering and exiting rooms inside your home. Vary the pattern so that burglars don’t suspect that you’ve set a timer.
You don’t have to deconstruct your walls and install a timer into your electrical system. Visit a hardware store where you can find many different types of timers — some of them for $10 or less — that can simply plug into a lamp.
Except for lights on timers, unplug any small electronic appliances in your home, such as TVs, computers, stereos, and any appliance or device that is unnecessary to keep plugged in while you’re away. If a dangerous power surge happened while you were away, an electrical fire could occur and no one would be home to stop it. Don’t unplug larger appliances, such as your refrigerator.
In addition to protecting your home from a potential electrical fire, unplug unused electronics or flip a switch on a surge protector to help you avoid unnecessary energy usage while you’re away on vacation. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that electronic devices that are turned off, but not unplugged, can add up to an extra $100 worth of energy costs for the average family every year.
Clean Your Home
Ever come home to a smell so bad that you almost retreat as soon as you walk through the door? If you haven’t, you don’t want to. To avoid encountering foul odors upon your return, check the food in your refrigerator and throw out anything that will reach its expiration date while you’re gone. Better yet, if you can, bring the food with you in a cooler to avoid waste. Don’t leave anything behind that you would not want to find spoiled when you come home.
If anything in your pantry will expire while you’re gone, toss the products. Also to be safe, discard any open boxes or bags. Otherwise, bugs may find a way inside, and without you home to stop them, you could have a potential infestation in your pantry. When you’re going to be away from home, be sure the main food area of your home, the kitchen, is in its best shape before you leave.
To make sure that your home’s indoor air quality doesn’t take a turn for the worst — as it could with mold growth on spoiled food and with an infestation of unwelcome guests — give the rest of your home a thorough cleaning. Vacuum and clean carpets, wash sheets and pillowcases, replace your HVAC air filter, and consider having your home’s air ducts cleaned before you leave.
On the same note of avoiding an uncomfortable stench, empty all the wastebaskets in your home before you leave your home. If your home is clean before you leave, it should be clean upon your return.
Get an HVAC System Checkup
As with a potential plumbing or electrical issue, you also want to make sure that nothing will go wrong with your air conditioner while you’re away. If you’ve neglected to have your HVAC system serviced or maintained for months or more than a year, now is the time.
Professional maintenance, no matter how small it may be, can prevent greater issues from taking place while you’re away on vacation, in addition to raising your HVAC system’s efficiency and saving you money in utility costs. An efficient air conditioner will keep your home in a healthy condition and ready for your return. Who wants to return from vacation only to find that an air conditioning malfunction has happened and you’ll face costly repairs?
While your licensed HVAC contractor, such as a service professional from Aqua Plumbing & Air, is in your home, ask about the optimal thermostat settings for your home and how you can most effectively program the thermostat while you’re away on vacation. Making effective use of HVAC contractors will save you money over time and prevent greater issues from occurring with your system.
You deserve to relax on vacation without having to worry about issues that may be happening in your home. To prevent unnecessary worry, use the information above to help you prepare your home for your much-needed vacation. While you’re away from home, you can take a deep breath and know that your home is safe, efficient, and saving you money during your vacation.
For more questions about how to prepare your home for your upcoming vacation or to schedule a maintenance visit for your home’s HVAC system from one of our licensed HVAC maintenance and repair team members, give Aqua Plumbing & Air a call at (941) 306-3715.
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