If you’re planning a winter vacation, it’s important to take specific steps to ensure that you maximize your energy savings and keep your home secure.

Set Your Thermostat

Your HVAC system uses a lot of gas or electricity depending on your system, and you don’t want to waste energy heating an empty house. During the winter, it’s probably tempting just to shut off your heater completely. Keep in mind, though, that even though the winters don’t get below freezing often, it has been known to happen. If you’re on vacation and the temperature drops below freezing, you run the risk of having your pipes freeze and burst.

Since you’re pretty helpless to solve these issues when you’re on vacation, avoid the chance of frozen pipes by leaving your heat on but at a low temperature. You will save energy without putting your home at risk. Another option is to invest in smart technology where you can control your thermostat with your personal device. With this technology, you can turn your system close to off if the weather is mild, but turn it on if the temperature suddenly drops.

Don’t Let Your Home Seem Empty

Burglars love when people go on vacation because they have an empty house without the risk of the owner coming home. If your home seems vacant while you are away, it becomes a target. Have the post office stop your mail while you are gone so it doesn’t pile up in your mailbox. Try to have a light on a timer or arrange some other signs of life in your home while you are gone to make the house seem less obviously empty.

Watch Your Social Media

Unless you’re careful about your friend list and privacy settings, don’t post your vacation on social media until after you get back. Similarly to having an apparently empty house, posting that you’re going on vacation makes you susceptible to having a break in while you are gone. Resist the temptation to brag about your upcoming holiday and wait to post any pictures until after you’re already home.

Consider Your Pets

If you have pets staying at the house while you are away, make sure you are cognizant of the home temperature while you are away. Don’t turn off the HVAC system entirely if you are going to have pets in the home. Even if you have a pet sitter coming over, you can’t be sure that the temperature in the house won’t become unsafe for a pet during the times between when your pet sitter comes to check on, feed, or walk your animals. Leave the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature while you are away to avoid any issues.

Double Check Your Water Heater

Since you won’t be using your water heater while you are away, save energy by setting it to vacation mode. Most newer water heaters have this option, which saves energy while you are gone by not heating water you won’t be using. If your water heater doesn’t have vacation mode, you can turn it off completely. Just be aware that it will take awhile to get hot water back once you return from your vacation.

Change the Filters

The filters in your system keep your air clean, but they also affect the efficiency of your system. If your filters are dirty or clogged, your system will be working harder to heat your empty home while you are on vacation this winter. Change your air filters before you go to make sure you come home to a clean house with good air quality — and to avoid wasting energy because of clogged air filters.

If you have questions about your HVAC system this winter, we are the experts to call. Contact Lunsford Air Conditioning and Heating at 850-203-3200 to schedule an appointment with an experienced professional today.

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