Learn What Temperature to Set the Air Conditioner When Away in Summer

Need help reducing your energy bills? Call Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning today. 

As hot summer weather arrives in your neighborhood, you’re eager to take road trips to the beach, lake, or river. Crystalline waters call your name. You’ve dreamed of the shaded fishing trips complete with cold beers and pre-packaged sandwiches. 

Before you go on your merry way, you must learn at what temperature to set the air conditioner when away in summer. This minor detail can make or break your bank as bills come through next month. As San Diego’s air conditioning installation company, our crew at Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning can help you work out the details below. 

Can You Turn the Air Conditioner Off Completely?

The thought of completely shutting down your air conditioner before you depart probably tempts you immensely. Who doesn’t want to nix the electricity vampire that sucks away your money all summer long? Leaving your air conditioner non-operational for a few days won’t hurt anything, right? 

Wrong! Indoor structures, appliances, furniture, and other belongings should remain at stable, relatively cool indoor temperatures by design. The structure of your home could sustain serious damage that you won’t notice for years. Plus, your HVAC system will use far more energy and power to get the house back to your preferred temperature if it must contend with extreme heat. 

What Happens to a Home Without Air Conditioning?

When a home goes without conditioned air for extended periods during the summer, it attracts pests, mold, and mildew. These invasive organisms are difficult and expensive to eliminate. Additionally, structural damage could develop. 

  • Wall and ceiling materials may absorb excess humidity from the air. This moisture can result in eventual buckling, cracking, and flaky paint. 
  • Excess moisture and heat provide the perfect environment for black mold and mildew. These organisms cause health problems that range in severity, depending on the person. 
  • Pests like roaches, mites, and fleas thrive in hot, humid areas. 
  • If mold or mildew grows in furniture fabric, it makes the furniture smelly and unsafe to use. 

You could come home to a health hazard and not realize it until much later. 

At What Temperature Should You Set the Air Conditioner When Away in Summer?

So, which temperature settings satisfy both home protection and lower energy bills? In general, you do want your indoor temperature to remain as close to the outdoor temperature as possible, even when you are home. But you also want comfort and damage prevention.

Summer temperatures in San Diego, CA, can climb into the high 80s depending on the month. To keep the air both conditioned and comfortable, you should set your temperature no lower than ten degrees below the outdoor temperatures when at home.

Generally, houses shouldn’t reach a temperature higher than 84 degrees Fahrenheit. With San Diego’s generally mild summers, you might wonder why turning the air conditioner off isn’t an option. Remember, you still must prevent moisture from building up in your home. Plus, indoor heat can’t escape easily, causing your home to stay hotter for longer. 

When you leave for a few days, you can set your programmable thermostat to about 79 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will keep the air circulating regularly throughout your house while making a dent in your energy consumption. 

Consider Indoor Pets and Plants

Find out at what temperature to set the air conditioner when away in summer for pets or plants that live indoors. You might consider keeping your thermostat at a slightly lower setting for their comfort. Ask your veterinarian about any ideal temperature for your household pets. For plants, consult online plant groups and forums about how to keep your indoor flora healthy and happy.

Programming Your Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to keep your air conditioner at the right temperature setting while away is by programming your thermostat in advance. 

The process of thermostat programming depends on the type of thermostat you own. The most common types of thermostats include:

  • Non-programmable thermostats
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Smart thermostats
  • WiFi thermostats

Few homes still have non-programmable thermostats. They are outdated technologies that limit user capabilities to a single setting.

Programmable thermostats typically allow users to change the settings while they are present at home. Some programmable models allow you to choose multiple settings. You can choose one or a few temperature options depending on your model’s capabilities.

WiFi and smart thermostats allow you to view and change settings based on the information the thermostat provides via an app. You’ll have an easier experience finding intuitive presets that keep your home cooler during certain parts of the day.

Always consult your owner’s manual if you have questions about how to set a thermostat. Different manufacturers have varying instructions. The directions specific to your make and model will ensure that your home stays energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy while you’re away. 

How to Limit Energy Usage While Away

So, you can’t simply turn off your air conditioner during your trip. What can you do to further limit energy consumption?

  • Turn ceiling fans on to a low setting. This encourages air circulation throughout each room. 
  • Unplug all other unnecessary appliances and electronics such as televisions, computers, internet equipment, and coffee makers. Doing so limits the amount of passive electricity these items use.
  • Draw shades, blinds, and shutters closed to keep heat and sunlight out of your home. 
  • Turn off all or most lights indoors. 

In general, try to keep your home as cool as possible while away. 

Contact Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning for Maintenance and Repairs

Now you know without a doubt at what temperature to set the air conditioner when away in summer. You can enjoy your vacation in peace knowing that you’ve eliminated electricity usage as much as possible without damaging your home. When you arrive home fully refreshed from your trip, schedule AC maintenance with our team at Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning.

Call 619-949-1379 to set up an appointment or inquire about other services.