Summer is here, and that means one thing: summer vacation! Okay, it probably means a lot of things, especially here in Olathe where temperatures skyrocket and summer thunderstorms roll in at the drop of a hat. But we're excited about summer vacation, and we're sure that you are, too!
Maybe you and the family are headed to Disney World or the Grand Canyon or that extended camping trip to the Rockies that you've been talking about for years. Wherever you're going, you'll be away from home for an extended period of time. That means it's a good idea to prep the house for when you're not there.
There are all kinds of things to consider, even if you're only going to be away from home for a few days. For a longer vacation—most summertime family vacations run between 7 and 10 days—you'll definitely want to take a few of these under advisement.
One thing that's important to do is to check the weather before you leave. Kansas weather is notoriously unpredictable, but knowing what the weather is likely to be doing while you're away will let you know how to get your house ready for the trip.
Start with a Checklist. Planning for a trip can be hectic, so make a list of everything that you can think of that needs to be done before you leave. Keep it handy so that you can check items off as you complete them. To get started, you can add all the other stuff here to your list!
Vacuum, Dust, Clean, and Empty the Trash. There are lots of great reasons to make sure your house is clean before you leave for a trip. Maybe the best one is how great it feels to come home to a nice, clean house! Another great reason: Your HVAC system will circulate dust and other contaminants throughout the house while you're gone, so make sure that your home is as clean as possible before you leave. It's also a good idea to clean out the fridge (unless you want to come home to an unpleasant, moldy surprise) and take out the trash. While you're at it, maybe talk to a neighbor about moving the cans to the street on trash pick-up day while you're gone.
Turn the Air Conditioning Down, Not Off. You don't want to waste money cooling a home that's unoccupied, but you also don't want the house and everything in it to suffer from a dramatic spike in heat and humidity. Since you don't need to be comfortable, you can let the inside temperature get a little higher than it would when you're around, but you should still set your thermostat around 82º to 85º.
Change Your HVAC Air Filter. We already mentioned that dust and debris circulate through your house while you're away, but they do when you're home, too. Your air filter is there to catch that kind of stuff. It does a great job, but during heavy air conditioning use in the summertime, gunk can really build up on your filter, causing your air conditioner to work harder than it needs to. This buildup can also lead to other issues. Before you hit the road, make sure your air filter is clean. Better yet, replace it with a new one to be on the safe side.
Check the AC Unit Outside for Debris that Could Restrict Air Flow. No matter how high you set your thermostat while you're gone, if you're vacationing during the hottest part of summer, your AC unit is bound to kick on at least a few times while you're away. When it does, it needs unrestricted air flow to do its job. If debris is blocking your AC unit, you may find yourself coming home to a burned-out AC unit and a sweltering house.
Get Your Air Conditioner Serviced. While you're getting ready for your trip, why not have an Olathe heating and cooling professional come out and make sure that your whole HVAC system is in good working order? We'll do a lot of the things on this list for you, such as checking your AC unit inside and out and changing air filters, plus a bunch of stuff that you can't do on your own. A 25-point inspection (plus sump pump) would help you feel a lot more at ease while you're on vacation, especially if one of those freak thunderstorms decides to blow in while you're away.
Dial Down the Water Heater. There's no point in having your water heater cook up a bunch of nice, warm water while you're not home to enjoy it, so turn your water heater down to "low" before you leave. Some water heaters actually have a "vacation" mode that you can set them to.
Windows Closed, Vents Open. You should never leave your windows open when you're on a trip. It's bad for your home's security, but it's also bad for your heating and cooling bill. For one thing, this is Olathe, so you never know what the weather's going to do. Hot air gets into your house through those same open windows, which can lead to your unit running when it doesn't need to.
While you're at it, close the curtains, too. This'll keep sunlight from getting in and driving up the temperature inside your house. What you do want to have open while you're gone are all the vents and air registers throughout your house. Your air conditioner is designed to operate with an unobstructed airflow, so keeping all the vents open helps it to run at peak efficiency and effectiveness.
A Smart Thermostat is a Good Idea. Smart thermostats are a great way to save money on your Olathe heating and cooling bill all year long! When you're going on a trip, just remember to adjust your programmed thermostat settings up about 10 degrees for the time you'll be away.
What Else? Turn off the main water supply to the home. Talk to a neighbor about watering your outdoor plants and generally keeping an eye on the place. Unplug computers, smart TVs, your Alexa or Apple HomePod and any other systems or devices that might be impacted by unexpected power outages or surges that can happen during a storm. Put a stop and hold on the mail and newspapers. Have a great summer vacation!
And if you need an Olathe heating and cooling professional to check out your HVAC system before your big trip this year, call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!