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Trinity Valley EC News

What To Do With Your AC During Vacation

TVEC Energy Management Supervisor Chris Walker, BAP

If you’re thinking about saving a few bucks by shutting off your air conditioner while you escape for summer vacation, consider what you need to keep cool in your home while you’re gone.

At the top of that list is your refrigerator.

In a kitchen that’s too warm, your fridge has to work at least twice as hard to keep cold. It will put in that double duty whether there’s food inside it or not, so long as it’s plugged in. Purging your fridge of food that might rot while you’re gone can prevent yucky odors or surprise science projects when you return.

An overactive refrigerator can counteract any energy savings you might see when you shut down the AC for a week. And it could stress your fridge enough to damage or even ruin it.

Best bet: Nudge up the thermostat 4–5 degrees higher than usual before you leave for vacation. That way, your house won’t be as cool as it would be to keep people comfortable, but it won’t get so warm that your refrigerator is uncomfortable.

Keeping the AC on could prevent other problems that can occur in a home that gets too humid because of a lack of air conditioning, like mold and mildew growth and even damage to sensitive electronics.

A few other things to check before you leave town:

  • Turn off the water to sinks, the washer and toilets to ensure nothing floods while you’re away.
  • Close your blinds and shades to keep the hot sun from warming your home. Be mindful of where sun is a problem, however, to leave some slightly open to give the appearance of someone being home—deterring theft.
  • Put a few lights on timers to make it seem like someone is home without having to leave a light on all the time, wasting energy.