Pros and Cons to Turning Off Your Air Conditioner While on Vacation

Pros and Cons to Turning Off Your Air Conditioner While on Vacation

It’s finally here: Your vacation.  You’ve been looking forward to it for months.  You’ve been packing for a couple of days.  Your car is gassed up and you’re just about ready to step foot outside.  Then, you remember your central air conditioning.  Is it really necessary to turn it off?  Or is it just as cost-effective to keep it on?
These are all questions homeowners frequently face, especially in the late spring and summer.  While there’s no one answer that will fit every situation, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of turning off the central air when you’re visiting the beach, hiking in the mountains or enjoying a week in the city.
One Pro to Turning Off Your Air Conditioner

  • You won’t have to worry if your air conditioner breaks down while you’re away.  (Of course, this shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you are keeping up with your regular maintenance!)

Three Cons to Turning Off Your Air Conditioner

  • If it gets very hot at home, your closed-up house will heat up like a furnace.  This can lead to food in your pantry spoiling faster, and pets feeling very uncomfortable or even getting sick.
  • A house without circulating air can become extremely humid, leading to problems with mold, mildew, insects and warping wood.
  • It will take a lot of energy to bring the temperature back down again when you return home, which can wipe out all the cost savings you thought you were going to get when you turned it off.

As you can see, it’s usually better to keep your air conditioner on!
With that being said, you don’t have to feel like you’re wasting your dollars on air conditioning when you aren’t around to enjoy the cool breeze.  Instead, why not invest in a programmable thermostat?  That way, you can set the temperature so that your home is consistently cooled to a much higher temperature than normal, such as 85 degrees, when you’re on your trip.  As soon as you get back, you can turn it back down by 10 degrees first, and then by a few degrees afterwards until you get your home to a comfortable level.
Enjoy your vacation without having to worry about what’s happening at home.  Other home maintenance tips to consider before leaving include:

  • Shutting off the main water supply to the house.
  • Making sure all the windows and doors are properly locked.
  • Making sure all pets will be well-cared for during your time away.
  • Getting a light switch timer to make it look like someone is home.
  • Having a friend or neighbor get your mail for you.
  • Having a trusted individual check in on your pets and/or house.
  • Unplugging any technical items or appliances in case there is a power surge.

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