If you're planning on taking an extended vacation that's likely to last for weeks or even months, then you'll want to make sure your empty home doesn't turn into a sweltering sauna while you're away. Keeping excess heat and moisture at bay while you're away involves more than just a simple thermostat adjustment. There are plenty of other considerations and best practices to keep in mind when prepping your home for an extended summer vacation.
Finding the Ideal Temperature
Finding the best setting for your home's thermostat can be a bit of a balancing act. On one hand, you don't want your home to get too hot and humid -- otherwise you could come back to peeling wallpaper, warped wood and even some unwelcome mold and mildew growth. On the other hand, you don't want to waste energy cooling your home more than necessary while you're on vacation. With nearly half of the electricity used in a typical home devoted towards heating and cooling, the wasted cooling effort can quickly add up.
Home remodeling expert Scott Mosby recommends setting your thermostat at 80 degrees Fahrenheit if you have a standard non-programmable thermostat and leaving the blower fan turned on to circulate air and keep moisture at bay. However, leaving your blower fan on for weeks may not be the best option, which is why having a programmable thermostat is crucial for maintaining reasonable indoor temperatures while you're away.
With a programmable thermostat, you can set your thermostat at 75 degrees during the early morning hours and 78 to 80 degrees during the day. In theory, running your A/C during the early morning helps remove excess moisture, keeping the relative humidity low throughout the rest of the day.
Others have differing opinions on how to set temperatures for long-term vacancies. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat so that your A/C system kicks in at around 85 to 90 degrees, especially if you live in an area where high daytime temperatures are common. This temperature range is low enough for electronics, appliances and other heat-sensitive devices throughout your home to survive, but high enough so that you won't waste energy while cooling your home.
Taking the Smart Approach with Smart Thermostats
Another way of beating the heat while your home is vacant involves the use of smart thermostats. Designed to supplant the typical programmable thermostats found in many homes, smart thermostats incorporate Wi-Fi connectivity and other advanced features. You can use your smartphone or tablet to control your smart thermostat from any location with a Wi-Fi connection.
This means that you can remotely adjust your thermostat based on the weather near your home. For instance, you can set your thermostat a few degrees lower if the weather forecast for your home's area calls for hot and humid conditions.
Lights Out for Sunlight
Using smart thermostats in conjunction to smart planning is just one way of keeping your home relatively cool while you're away on vacation. Blocking out summertime heat that radiates through your windows also plays a crucial role in controlling indoor temperatures. In many cases, it's a simple matter of closing your blinds and drawing back your curtains before you leave for your vacation.
You may want to consider investing in blackout curtains specifically made for blocking solar heat, as these can help keep temperatures reasonable indoors and lessen the workload on your A/C system. If your home is equipped with storm shutters, you may want to cover your windows with them before you leave. These window treatments can also help shield your windows from unexpected summer storms as well as block heat.
For more information on this topic, consult with an HVAC professional from a company like Sullivan Super Service.