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Give Your A/C a Break This Summer



Ah, summer in Phoenix… It’s definitely a good time to get out of town and enjoy how close we are to San Diego and Los Angeles! But before you hit the road for cooler temperatures, you need to prepare your home for your departure. And one of the things you might forget is taking care of your air conditioner in your absence.


Off or On, That Is the Question


Your first thought upon leaving your home for vacation might be to turn off the air-conditioning unit completely. However, that may or may not be your best option.


For most vacations, you’ll put less stress on your A/C unit by keeping it on and turning up the temperature 7–10 degrees (or higher for longer trips). Consider how hot it is in the summers here, and you’ll understand why this is the best option. When it’s 110ºF outside and you want it to be 75ºF in your home, your unit needs to reduce the temperature more than 30 degrees—and that’s a lot!


If you were to turn off your A/C unit completely, the home’s temperature would increase, sometimes as high as 100ºF, depending on your home’s insulation. So let’s say that you do choose to turn off your unit when you leave. Upon your return, the air will need to be cooled continuously to reach your desired temperature.


However, if you leave your A/C on at a higher temperature while you’re away, the house will only need to maintain, rather than cool so considerably. And that means much less wear and tear on the unit.


Program Your Vacation


One of the best things you can do for your home—whether you’re staying in town or going on vacation—is to install a programmable thermostat. With this small, cost-effective device, you can prepare your home for your return by turning down the temperature a little bit at a time, thereby reducing the strain on the unit.


Even better is if you have a smart home, or a thermostat you can control from your mobile device. Then you can not only change the temperature as needed, but you can monitor the home’s energy use as well.


Close It Up


Passive heat is pretty powerful, especially when you live in the desert. Before you leave town, close the blinds on all of your windows. You might consider adding sunscreens or window films to cut back on more of the sunlight that enters the home.


Insulation also helps keep the interior cooler. If you’re going away for a while, then you may want to check or add insulation in the attic. This will absorb some of that desert heat before it’s able to enter your home.


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