It isn’t uncommon for families to head off for long vacations during the hot summer months. This means many homes will sit empty while homeowners enjoy long-awaited holidays filled with fun warm weather activities.

It might seem logical to turn off your air conditioner while you are away. It probably seems like a waste to cool an empty house. However, it is probably not the best solution to a high summer energy bill. While it may seem like turning off the A/C while your home or vacation property sits empty will save you some major cash, it might actually cost you more money in the long run.

Why You Shouldn’t Turn off your A/C When You’re on Vacation

Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking they can totally shut off their home’s A/C while they’re gone for vacation and the house sits empty. While it’s true you will save money on your energy bill if the A/C unit isn’t running, there are some other important things to consider before you flip the switch

Remember, your home will be locked up tight while you are away. All your doors and windows will be shut, so the A/C may be the home’s only source of air circulation. You might argue that people lived in the heat of summer before A/C was even invented, but they lived with the windows constantly open to let the outside air in. Also, before A/C became common, homes featured high ceilings that created a natural system of air circulation.

When the temperature outside your home reaches 90 degrees, it doesn’t take long for the inside of your home to reach triple digit temperatures, especially when the A/C isn’t running. Basically the inside of your home turns into a tropical sauna.

With the inside temperatures reaching sweltering levels and air sitting stagnant, the inside of your home becomes the perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive. These pesky, and often dangerous, forms of fungus can multiply rapidly on your furniture, clothes, drapes, and bedding when humidity levels are high.

The heat and moisture can also warp wood floors and cabinets, peel wallpaper, and wreak havoc on your laptops and other electronic devices.

No matter how tempting it is to save some cash on your cooling bills, it is best to leave your A/C on, even when the home is sitting empty. The best setting best for home maintenance is 85 degrees. A thermostat set on 85 will keep the air circulating and help protect your home from the potential damage of extreme heat and humidity.

Ways to Help You Save

Before you leave your home for exotic vacation destinations, there are some things you can do that will help save you money on your utility bill.

During the summer months, sunlight hits your home with higher intensity than it does during cooler seasons. The sun may actually be the main factor contributing to the rising summer heat inside of your home. Make sure to pull all blinds and curtains before you leave for vacation. This will help reduce the hot sunlight that enters your home and contributes to high energy costs.

If you know you will be away from home for an unusually long time, you might consider installing energy saving storm windows. While the investment is initially high, storm windows will help block out light and insulate the home, protecting it from extreme weather conditions. Storm windows are a wise investment, especially if your home is regularly unoccupied during warm summer months.

Save Money with a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s thermostat with a smartphone or tablet from virtually anywhere in the world. With instant access to local weather reports, you can adjust your empty home’s thermostat settings for daily conditions. If the day is cool and dry, you might want to bump up the temperature a few degrees since humidity damage will be unlikely

It’s almost like sticking your thermostat in your pocket and taking it on vacation with you. A smart thermostat can offer peace of mind by offering portable real-time control of one of your home’s most important major appliances. Smart thermostats are especially valuable for properties that may go unoccupied for weeks at a time.

There are several considerations for purchasing and installing a smart thermostat, so check with your local HVAC professional to learn about options and installation.

Service Your HVAC Unit to Save Money

Before summer gets into full swing and the climbing temperatures start taxing your HVAC unit, it is a smart idea to call a technician for regular maintenance. A pre-season inspection will ensure your unit is in top condition for efficient summer performance. A local HVAC professional can clean the coils and fan of your unit, and check your ducts, vents, and filters.

An annual check-up will help save you money whether you intend to go on vacation or if you plan to just relax at home all summer long.


You deserve to enjoy your hard-earned summer R and R. Working hard to save money for your vacation shouldn’t be more difficult with the added burden of an expensive energy bill while you’re away. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to protect your home – and your wallet – from the often expensive cost of the hot summer sun. Then all you have to do is enjoy your vacation.