Staying Up On Furnace Maintenance

Going On Vacation? How To Prepare Your HVAC System Beforehand

When you're about to go on vacation, your to-do list may seem like it's a mile long. You need to pack, plan your itinerary, and maybe even make plans for your pets while you are gone. But there's one thing that vacationers often forget to do before leaving: prepare their HVAC system. Here are four things to do to reduce your chances of HVAC emergencies and issues while you're away.

1. Adjust the temperature.

Since you're not home, there is no reason to heat the home to 70 degrees. (Or in the summer, there's no reason to cool it to 70 degrees!) Yet, you probably don't want to turn the heat or AC off completely since doing so could lead to frozen pipes or heat-damaged flooring. A good guideline is to set your thermostat to 55 in the winter and 80 in the summer. Turn the program off, and set the thermostat to "constant" or "hold temperature."

2. Open all of the vents.

Since you're turning the heat or air conditioning down, you will want to open all of the vents throughout your home to ensure some heat or AC at least makes it to each room. Otherwise, rooms where the vents are closed might get too chilly (or in the summer, too hot.) If here is any furniture in front of vents, move it away from the vents for the duration of your trip.

3. Change the air filter.

This is a good time to trade your filter out for a new one. This way, you don't have to risk a clogged and dirty filter pushing your HVAC system to overheat and malfunction while you are away. If you changed your filter within the last month and you will only be gone for a week or two, you can skip this step as your current filter should have plenty of life left.

4. Move debris away from the outside unit.

This mostly applies in the summer when your air conditioner is running. Make sure there are no leaves or tree branches impinging on the condenser. They could restrict airflow and cause the unit to super-cool in your absence. If your heat system vents to the outside via a PVC pipe, as many modern ones do, make sure this pipe is clear, too. 

Follow the steps above before you go on vacation. If your HVAC system has been acting strange, you may want to have local HVAC services take a look.