With spring winding down and summer beginning to wind up, the odds are high that many of you are starting to plan a great summer vacation. Maybe it’ll be nearby in local Baton Rouge, or maybe you’ll decide to seek cooler (or more beachy) climates elsewhere. Either way, you’ll be spending time away from home, and you might be asking yourself one surprisingly important question: Should you shut off your air conditioner while you’re away?
Why Shutting the System Off Is the Wrong Decision
So the idea is a sound enough one: shut off the air, save tons of energy. Makes sense at first! However, this presents multiple problems, some of which are particularly important because of our specific climate. Let’s go down the list:
You Might Not Save as Much as You Think
While killing the system outright uses zero energy at all, while you’re gone the home is going to heat up in a hurry. That means once you return the interior of your home could be 90 degrees, 100 degrees, or even more. Tack the humidity onto that and your house is now a sauna, which is not only uncomfortable for you personally but is also going to require a tremendous amount of energy to get your home back to a comfortable temperature.
That means once you get back all of that energy you saved might actually be lost again and then some, because of how long and how hard the system will have to work to recuperate proper comfortable temperatures and humidity ranges.
Humidity Is a Huge Issue
The humidity in your home will be left to present more problems than just making the home miserable, too. Furniture, paint, and wooden structures in your home need to stay below 50% relative humidity in order to stay safe and secure, meaning if you kill the air and go on vacation you could come home to:
- Bubbled, peeled, and cracked paint
- Warped furniture
- A nasty mold infestation (pretty much everywhere)
- Pests in the home
- Funky, musty odors
- Ruined dry goods in the pantry
Appliances Might Suffer Without AC
Honestly, when we’re talking Baton Rouge this one is less of a might and more of a probably will. For the same reasons mentioned above, appliances may take on some fairly serious damage. One of the worst of all is the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that your fridge uses the same refrigeration technology as your air conditioner and if the home is suddenly 100 degrees and at 70% or more humidity, the refrigerator is going to have to work very hard to keep your food in good shape. Honestly, when we’re talking Baton Rouge this one is less of a might and more of a probably will.
Don’t Shut It Off—Just Turn It Up
Don’t allow your dreams of cutting energy costs die! Yes, we very much would not recommend shutting down the unit while you’re away. But! You can turn the thermostat up to a reasonable temperature and still save loads of energy. For our area, we would suggest you could get away with setting the system to 78 degrees give or take, which will still result in considerable savings but will avoid all of the problems we’ve discussed above. It’s a win-win, and you get to go on vacation with nothing to worry about.