If you are planning on leaving town during the holiday season, it is important to make sure that your home is set up for your HVAC system to run safely while you are away. Here are some tips so that you do not come back to any unfortunate surprises after your holiday vacation.
Get a Routine Maintenance Inspection
It is best to have a routine maintenance inspection performed by a licensed professional in the fall before you are even running your heater. If you didn’t get around to scheduling an appointment, make sure to have an inspection completed before you leave for vacation. Leaving your system running unsupervised for a lengthy period of time can be problematic. An issue can get progressively worse the longer you are away. Having a routine maintenance inspection will help ensure that any potential issues are caught and addressed before you head out for the holidays.
During a routine maintenance inspection, here are some of the things that you can expect a technician to inspect for you before you depart for your holiday vacation:
- Inspection of the unit and its wiring
- Cleaning and lubrication of all unit components as needed
- Checking the fuel line and fuel level
- Testing the pilot light and calibrating the pressure in the fuel line
- Cleaning all portions of the fuel line and pilot light mechanism
- Calibrating the unit to ensure reliable, efficient service
- Identification of any mechanical issues or repair needs
Check Your HVAC System
Even if you already have your routine maintenance inspection completed ahead of the colder months, there are some things you can check yourself before you leave for vacation. In particular, listen for any strange noises or see if you notice any unusual smells while your HVAC is running. You should also inspect around your furnace for water leaks, unusual damage to the unit, etc.
Maintaining Your Air Filters
Clean or replace your air filters so that they are in pristine condition before you leave for an extended period of time. Dirty filters can affect the performance and efficiency of your system, and a lot of contaminants and pollutants may accumulate on your filter while you are gone. Most filters require replacement every 30 to 90 days.
Clean Your Home
Before you leave, make sure that your home is clean and tidy. This includes dusting and vacuuming. A quick cleanup will limit the amount of contaminants that could wind up in the air of your home and your HVAC system while you are gone. This protects the indoor air quality of your home and prevents your HVAC unit from becoming overworked.
Program Your Thermostat for Vacation Mode
Right before you leave for vacation, you are going to want to adjust your thermostat so that your indoor temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t need to maintain the temperature you find comfortable when you’re home, but you do want to keep it warm enough that your pipes do not freeze. You can also promote proper humidity levels in the home by maintaining a set temperature.
A smart thermostat is a great way to monitor and maintain your indoor air temperature while you’re away. If you are using a smart thermostat, you are going to want to familiarize yourself with its app so that you can access your system through your phone, tablet, or other device. This way, you feel confident making changes to your thermostat from afar if it becomes necessary. It also allows you to set your indoor temperature back to its normal winter setting once you are about 30 minutes away during your return trip. This ensures that you return from vacation to an immediately comfortable home.
Budgeting for Your HVAC System
To offset some of the cost of keeping your HVAC running while you are on vacation, unplug all of your non-essential devices and appliances for the time that you are gone. Electricity is still flowing even when you have your devices turned off. Unplugging your devices can help keep your utility bill lower while you are away even if your HVAC system is still using some energy in vacation mode. For the essential devices and appliances that you do not unplug, maintaining a set temperature in your home via your HVAC system keeps them protected.
Have a Neighbor Be a Lookout
It’s a good idea to have someone check in on your house while you are gone. Leave a set of keys with them so that they can help make sure that your HVAC system is working as it should. They can alert you if there are any issues. Also, make sure the neighbor has the contact information for your HVAC technician, in case a problem arises with your system during a time that you might be unreachable. You can even have the times that they peek into your home be during periods when you have your smart thermostat system set to cycle.
Protect Your Outside Unit From Bad Weather
Take a look at any units or equipment that you have located outside, and make sure that they are clear of any debris before you leave. Also, scan the area to see if there is the potential for any tree branches or limbs to fall on the outside unit if there is a storm. If you do notice a potential problem, trim the tree branch or limb so that it is no longer a threat.
Get a Maintenance Contract
Consider having a maintenance contract set up with a local HVAC company. This way, if there is an issue with the system while you’re away, you won’t need to scramble to find a technician while out of town. There will already be one on standby, ready to help address the situation with your system.
Speak to a Professional About Getting Your HVAC System Ready for Your Holiday Vacation
If you are in Metuchen, NJ, or the surrounding area, we would love to speak to you about how to best get your HVAC system prepared for while you are away. We can help set up a preventative maintenance program for your system. As part of the program, an expert technician can inspect, clean, and tune up your system so that it is ready when you depart for your holiday vacation. With a maintenance service plan, you get peace of mind, expert technicians at your service, lower utility costs that come as a result of routine maintenance, priority scheduling, a reduction in any major repair expenses, and so much more.
First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can also help with a variety of other issues relating to your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs. In addition to scheduled services, we offer 24/7 emergency repair, indoor air quality assessments, oil-to-gas conversions, and even commercial assistance. Give First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call today, or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.