HVAC Checklist: How to Prepare Your System Before You Travel

Planning a vacation or extended trip involves careful preparation, and one aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked is your HVAC system. Preparing your HVAC before you travel can help you avoid energy waste, potential system failures, and ensure a comfortable homecoming.

This blog post will provide you with a detailed HVAC checklist to help you thoroughly prepare your system before embarking on your travels. By following these steps, you can rest easy knowing that your HVAC system will remain efficient, reliable, and ready to welcome you back home.

Adjust your Thermostat

Adjusting the temperature is one of the most crucial steps in preparing your HVAC system before travel. While it might be tempting to turn off your system entirely, it’s best to set the temperature to a moderate level, considering the climate and time of year. This will help prevent extreme temperatures, potential humidity issues, and protect sensitive items like furniture, plants, and electronics.

During the summer, set the thermostat around 78°F (25.5°C) to maintain a comfortable but energy-efficient level. In winter, aim for around 55-60°F (12.8-15.6°C) to prevent freezing pipes and excessive energy consumption. Programmable thermostats or smart home automation systems can be valuable assets, allowing you to adjust the temperature remotely or create a pre-set schedule.

Check Air Filters

Before your departure, it’s important to inspect and clean or replace your HVAC system’s air filters. Dirty filters hinder airflow, reducing efficiency and potentially damaging the system. If your filters are reusable, clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If they’re disposable, replace them with new ones to ensure optimal air quality and performance.

Remove Any Obstructions

If your HVAC system has an outdoor unit, it’s essential to keep it clear of any debris, vegetation, or obstructions. Trim any overgrown branches or shrubs around the unit to maintain a minimum clearance of two feet. A clean and unobstructed outdoor unit promotes better airflow, prevents overheating, and reduces the risk of damage while you’re away.

Check Condenser Coils

The condenser coils in your outdoor unit are crucial in transferring heat from your home’s interior to the outside. Over time, these coils can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, which impedes their efficiency. Before your trip, turn off the power to the unit and carefully clean the coils using a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner. This simple maintenance task can significantly enhance your HVAC system’s performance.

Inspect Ductwork

Examine the ductwork in your home for any visible signs of leaks, gaps, or loose connections. Damaged ductwork can result in conditioned air escaping and can decrease your HVAC system’s overall efficiency. Seal leaks or gaps using aluminum foil tape or duct mastic to ensure proper airflow and maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home.

Schedule HVAC maintenance

Consider scheduling a professional HVAC maintenance service with Chas Roberts before you leave for an extended period. One of our experienced technicians can perform a thorough inspection, identify any potential issues, and perform necessary maintenance tasks. They can check refrigerant levels, clean coils, inspect electrical connections, and ensure your system is in optimal condition. This proactive step will provide peace of mind and prevent unexpected problems when you return.

At Chas Roberts we offer maintenance agreements to ensure your system runs smoothly year-round. With this plan, you’ll receive:

  • Complimentary plumbing inspection (plumbing not offered in Tucson currently)
  • Increase system efficiency
  • Transferrable agreement to new homeowner (if needed)
  • Priority service
  • 24-hour emergency response time
  • No overtime rates
  • Cost savings
  • 10% discount on repairs

Use Programmable or Smart Thermostats

Investing in programmable thermostats or smart controls is an excellent long-term solution for energy-efficient HVAC operation. These devices allow you to set customized schedules that align with your daily routines and can be adjusted remotely using smartphone apps. If you haven’t already, installing these devices enables you to regulate temperature settings efficiently while you’re away and easily readjust them before your return.

Notify a Trusted Neighbor or House Sitter

Inform a trusted neighbor, friend, or house sitter about your HVAC system and its settings. Provide them with emergency contact information for your HVAC service provider in case any unforeseen issues arise. This ensures that someone can promptly address HVAC emergencies, preventing potential damage or discomfort upon your return.

Why is It Important to Prepare your HVAC before you travel?

  1. Energy Efficiency: When your HVAC system is properly prepared, it can operate more efficiently during your absence. Adjusting the thermostat, replacing air filters, and sealing any leaks or gaps in the ductwork help minimize energy consumption and reduce utility costs. By optimizing your HVAC system’s efficiency, you can avoid unnecessary energy waste while enjoying your vacation.
  2. System Reliability: Neglected HVAC systems can experience issues during periods of inactivity. Preparing your HVAC system before you travel helps identify and address any potential problems early on. By conducting routine maintenance, such as cleaning condenser coils and inspecting components, you can mitigate the risk of malfunctions or breakdowns. Ensuring the reliability of your HVAC system gives you peace of mind, knowing it will function smoothly upon your return.
  3. Comfortable Homecoming: Returning to a comfortable home after your travels is a priority for most homeowners. By properly preparing your HVAC system, you can maintain a pleasant indoor environment. Adjusting the thermostat appropriately ensures that you’ll step into a comfortable temperature upon your arrival. Additionally, replacing air filters helps maintain good air quality, preventing dust and allergens from accumulating in your absence.
  4. Preventing Damage: HVAC systems left unattended for extended periods may be susceptible to damage. For example, leaking ducts can allow moisture to seep in, leading to mold growth or water damage. By sealing leaks and clearing obstructions, you can prevent potential issues caused by environmental factors or pests. Taking proactive steps to protect your HVAC system ensures its longevity and minimizes the need for costly repairs.

Chas Roberts Helps You Travel with Peace of Mind

By following this detailed HVAC checklist, you can prepare your HVAC system effectively before you travel, ensuring energy efficiency, comfort, and system longevity. These simple steps will help your HVAC system operate smoothly while you’re away and welcome you back to a comfortable home upon your return. Remember, if you have specific concerns or require professional assistance, don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified HVAC technician from Chas Roberts, your trusted local HVAC service provider. Enjoy your travels with peace of mind, knowing your HVAC system is prepared for your absence.

Family-owned and operated Chas Roberts is the largest HVAC company in Arizona and has been in business for over 75 years.

Contact our Tucson office at 520.549.4172 or our Metro Phoenix office at 602.386.2732.